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Protect Your Small Business From Cyberattacks

Cyberattacks

Cyberattacks.

The word brings to mind a dystopian future where you’re being attacked by some kind of robotic uprising. Not sitting at your desk, drinking gallons of coffee, listening to your co-worker, Pete, drone on about his tropical vacation.

Cyberattacks are not just for dystopian futures, and they’re not just for large businesses. 

According to the 2015 Internet Security Threat Report from Symantec:

“Over 60% of all [cyber] attacks in 2014 were directed towards small and midsize companies.” 

Additionally, the 2016 report supported this statement, and also noted:

"The last five years have shown a steady increase in attacks targeting businesses with less than 250 employees."

Not one to be late to the cyberattack game, the Huffington Post also conducted their own survey into small business security and found that: 

“While the majority of small businesses are concerned about cyber crime, the survey revealed that they are doing little to proactively prepare for cyber attacks. Only 38% of small businesses reported that they regularly upgrade software solutions, only 31% monitor business credit reports, and only 22% encrypt databases.”

The Impact of Cyberattacks on Businesses 

Put down the coffee, step away from Pete, and believe us when we say that the results of an online attack can devastate your business. Schemes like phishing and spear-phishing can trick users into sharing confidential information, such as bank account numbers, that can clean out your cash box.

Attacks like the Denial of Service (DoS) can cripple your technology infrastructure resulting in an inability to work and support your customers. Plus, it calls for a significant amount of work and money to resolve these issues. Then there's Ransomware. Ransomware attacks take the offense one step further. A hacker will encrypt electronic documents and demand payment before releasing the encryption key. That hacker is now holding your electronic documents, records, and invoices hostage until they get their payment.

Most importantly, these attacks degrade one of your most valuable commodities – your reputation. Customers want their valuable information safeguarded. Even the thought of your business putting them at risk can lead to a massive reduction of customers and revenue. Not to mention the subsequent negative word of mouth and bad press.

How to Protect Your Business from Online Threats

First, make room in the budget specifically for security measures. As cyberattacks continue to become more sophisticated, you’ll need the means to protect your organization. Money may be tight, but it will be tighter if a hacker steals your banking information or cons an employee into sending them $20,000 from that tropical vacation fund.

Second, always ensure that your employees understand the fundamentals of online security. And that they’re equipped to face and respond to those challenges. Careless or uninformed employees are apt to make more mistakes. Can your employees recognize the hallmarks of a phishing email? Do they know not to share passwords or that they should change them regularly? Help protect them so they can help protect you. 

Third, never assume your current technology offers enough security. You have a firewall. Great! But what about two-factor authentication or the enforcement of complex passwords? Are you protected on the mobile front? Regularly evaluate your technology to ensure it is actually providing the level of protection that you think it is. The "wild west" mentality of the internet evolves on a daily basis and unfortunately so must your digital security measures. Make a standing appointment on your calendar to evaluate what you currently have and what you need. Turn to security consultants. They can help, and they can quickly assess your ecosystem to make the necessary recommendations.

Fourth, consider the cloud. Cloud technologies like Bill.com are highly cognizant of security and strive to offer a level that far surpasses desktop software on in-house servers. Think encryption, intrusion detection devices, redundancies that protect your data, workflows, and specified, clear permissions.

Precaution and preparation are key. Don’t wait for the robots! Take time now to protect your small business from future cyberattacks.

September 9, 2016
Kate Wilson
Social Media Manager, Bill.com
Kate is in charge of all things social at Bill.com. When she's not writing every type of content imaginable, she's drinking strong coffee and debating the use of the Oxford comma with her coworkers.