Smaller Scale Is No Defense: Why SMBs Should Assume They’re Already Targets of Cyberattackers

by VPNHaus | 08/06/2015 |Rethink Remote Access, VPN

You would be hard pressed to go a month without hearing about a new data breach or major cyberattack in the headlines. These incidents occur with such regularity nowadays that seemingly every industry has been affected – healthcare, education, retail and even amusement parks.

There are variations across all these attacks, from the threat vectors themselves to the protections that may have faltered. But, the common thread is that these companies are generally big names with targets on their backs.

This trend also tends to overshadow an even more worrisome one: data breaches occurring at small and medium-sized businesses. While SMBs may exist on a relatively small scale, they certainly don’t go unnoticed by hackers. The numbers actually show that three out of four attacks occur at businesses with fewer than 100 employees, and that each incident carries an average price tag of $20,752, according to the National Small Business Association (NSBA).

The NSBA’s Jason Oxman elaborated further in comments to the Los Angeles Times last year: "We are absolutely facing an epidemic of attacks on our nation's infrastructure and attempts to gain access to information. But smaller merchants tend to be easier and more attractive targets for cyber criminals." This is because SMBs are less likely to be well-versed in security protocols and because they won’t get much attention from the media, thereby allowing the attacks to continue under relative quiet.

Compared to enterprises, SMBs may also lack the resources to detect and respond quickly to attacks. The fallout can result in broken websites, bad customer reviews and narrower profit margins – all consequences that can completely devastate SMBs and bring them to their knees.

So what can SMBs do to protect themselves?

The first step is to be more proactive about integrating technology safeguards, including a secure remote access VPN and firewall, into their operations. This way, there are fewer vulnerabilities a potential hacker could exploit in order to breach a company’s defenses.

It’s also helpful to think like a cyberattacker. Put yourself in the shoes of a real-world burglar. Are you more likely to attempt to break into a well-protected mansion or just go door-to-door in an apartment building until you find a unit left unlocked? Even though the payoff of robbing the mansion would be higher, there’s more of a chance you’d be unable to get in, so you’d probably choose the apartment building.

To bring the example back around to network security, you don’t want your SMB to be the unlocked apartment. It’s important to not just assume that your smaller scale and relative anonymity will be sufficient to protect you. It’s important to be proactive, and to make sure every possible entrance into your network is blocked.

Read More:

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