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Be on guard against ransomware. Small businesses can fall victim to cybercrime even though many owners don’t think they are likely targets.

A little legal practice, a 35-person manufacturing firm, and a two-person charitable organization are all examples of technology-driven businesses. As much as any brand-name financial institution or international shop, their core operations depend on operating systems, software applications, and networks. And they have all been victims of ransomware.

However, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) may be severely harmed, unlike large corporations, which are more likely to withstand a high-profile cyberattack.

A problem? Yes, but perhaps not as big as you think.

SMEs pay a high price for business disruption. They pay a high price for remediation and data recovery. They may lack the expertise and workforce to secure their essential IT infrastructure from cybercrime.

Enormous Ransoms for Small Businesses

According to NetDiligence’s Cyber Claims Study 2021 Report, ransomware has accounted for 40% of overall incident expenses connected to cyber claims in the last five years.

That is to say, the average ransom demand in 2020 was $247,000.

Research has estimated the cost of recovering from a cybersecurity breach affecting a small business to be roughly $352,000. These expenses do not account for the loss of client confidence due to the misuse of sensitive data.

Criminals know that small firms have weak or non-existent cybersecurity systems. As a result, they target them in large numbers, sending out repeated phishing attempts in the hopes of capturing a few victims in their automated nets.

Google has sent out 50,000 phishing or malware attack alerts as of October 2021, up 33% over the same month in 2020.

Since the Covid-19 epidemic, work-from-home and work-from-anywhere technologies have become more popular, exposing workers and small company systems to cyberattacks. According to one survey, approximately 70% of full-time workers in the United States started working from home during the Covid-19 epidemic.

Unfortunately, some small businesses infrequently take efforts to secure their remote employees. These efforts include implementing two-factor authentication (an additional login step) or encrypting computer disks. During the epidemic, millions of people lost their employment. Have they lost access to all of their email accounts and logins? Probably not.

Vulnerabilities in Small Businesses and Cybersecurity

Why are tiny firms such prey to predators? They could not have the operational know-how or staff to appropriately defend their IT systems and networks.

Meanwhile, here are a few examples of circumstances that put small companies at risk:

  • IT infrastructures are often outdated, are not regularly updated, and are poorly constructed.
  • The person in charge of IT — whether the CFO, the CEO, or a random employee — is seldom updated on the newest security risks and solutions.
  • Given the average pay of roughly $165,000, hiring a chief information security officer is often unaffordable.
  • A jumble of local hardware, networks, devices, and apps may make cyber protection difficult.
  • Employee cyber awareness training is poor or non-existent.
  • Backups may be unreliable or have not been thoroughly tested.
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery planning have not been emphasized.

Company executives may mistakenly believe that they are too tiny to be a cybercrime target, to their detriment.

Getting a Head Start On a Tough Situation

You don’t need any new gear or antivirus software to start boosting your company’s cyber security image.

Begin by taking a detailed inventory of your physical and digital assets, as well as a vulnerability assessment. It’s critical to create a “data governance” document that establishes guidelines for data management. People still record passwords on Post-it Notes on computer displays or taped on the bottom of mouse pads in small workplaces. Thus this technique is essential.

Above all, cybersecurity awareness training for employees is also necessary.

Phishing or other efforts at social engineering or getting individuals into vulnerable networks are a vital security threat vector for the ransomware outbreak. According to IBM’s 2021 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, phishing was responsible for one-third of all cyberattacks. Ascertain that your personnel knows what to look for in these circumstances.

For example, penetration testing is another technique to go ahead with.

“Pen testing” ensures that your security measures are effective. Therefore, few small firms, in all experience, have the competence to undertake penetration testing. Therefore you may wish to hire an expert.

Finally, some experts recommend that every company establish real-time network and server monitoring. While strong passwords, two-factor authentication, encrypted data, and network firewalls are necessary and will slow down attackers, complete protection is neither cost-effective nor practicable.

Taking efforts to mitigate the potentially catastrophic effects of a cyberattack may be well worth the expense for small companies.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from smallbusinesstechnology.com SOURCE

Businesses of any size can fall victim to ransomware. How will you protect your small business from it? And can you afford it?

The Business of Chicago

One Monday morning, 35 workers of a Chicago business board of directors turned on their computers. They were met by a desiccated head popping up and demanding nearly a quarter-million in Bitcoin. Hackers had shut off their internet access. Their databases had been scrambled and rendered unusable.

This NGO had vital infrastructure but no skilled cybersecurity professionals or even a proper data recovery and business continuity strategy, much like thousands of other ransomware victims whose tales never reach the news.

Company management believed that its data and networks were secure until they experienced that dreadful Monday morning return to work. The company also lacked the financial wherewithal to pay the ransom.

Productivity loss is the biggest price tag paid by ransomware victims. In addition, they suffered the time-consuming job of controlling and cleaning up after the assault.

According to Proofpoint and the Ponemon Institute study, a ransom payment generally amounts to less than 20% of the entire cost of a ransomware attack’s interruption.

The staff at the Chicago organization discovered too late that their data recovery methods did not actually back them up. The organization labored over finding paper documents in order to recreate its records from the ground up.

Businesses In a Bind

Many smaller businesses believe they aren’t vulnerable to ransomware. That is very clearly not the case.

According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, small and midsized firms are the target of the bulk of cyberattacks, with up to 60% of them going out of business within six months of the ransomware assault.

Three Simple Steps to Defeat Hackers

Some may reasonably question, if a $44 billion firm like Accenture can fall prey to ransomware, what hope does a smaller company have?

Everyone requires a reaction plan if no one is immune to an assault. Consider the following three essential steps:

1. Provide cyber awareness training to all staff.

PEBCAC stands for “problem exists between computer and chair” in the world of cybersecurity.

Because email phishing is by far the most common threat vector for ransomware, the first line of defense is to teach all employees not to open unfamiliar attachments or clickbait links — “You’ve just won $1 million!” — and to protect their login credentials, preferably with two-factor authentication.

Some employees, believe it or not, still retain passwords on Post-it Notes stuck to their computer displays. Every employee in today’s networked remote workforce is a member of the security apparatus. Employees play an essential role in data protection. However, they must be given the correct knowledge and training.

2. Update all of your applications.

An inventory of operating systems and software is the first step in any threat assessment.

Updates defend a computer network from known security flaws. Additionally, you must properly maintain and configure every firewall and server to stay safe.

Unfortunately, this seemingly simple task of data governance is a big undertaking. It’s made considerably more difficult by the abundance of endpoints. Think smartphones, industrial systems, IoT devices, and all the equipment used by work-from-home staff.

3. Put backups and recovery strategies to the test.

This is the one step that many companies skip. You shouldn’t.

Pick a day, perhaps a Saturday, when everyone “pretends” to be victimized by a hacker. Test the reliability of your backups and the amount of downtime you can expect to endure should you fall victim to ransomware.

How You Can Recover

To recover from an assault, every firm needs dependable backups and, equally essential, a business continuity strategy. Form a cyber incident response team and conduct penetration testing to ensure the safeguarding of vital infrastructure. Be proactive rather than reactive in your cyber response.

No one is immune to assault. These are merely the beginning of your defenses.

Monitor network traffic in real-time. Otherwise, your organization is extremely susceptible. Mechanisms must be in place to detect and respond to intrusions before you suffer damage. Be aware that 100 percent prevention is neither cost-effective nor practical.

Virus Software

Virus software and firewall hardware have come a long way. However, at the end of the day, the greatest defense is a skilled cybersecurity team.

A monitoring and incident response control center will allow speedy data recovery, reducing downtime for both internal and external cyberattacks. Outsourcing a security operations center may help businesses with limited resources reduce their risk.

Consider the cost of business disruption as the first step in making systems more robust. Governments, utilities, and even IT corporations are all vulnerable to assault. Put a solid data security strategy in place. Without one, it’s not a question of if, but rather when hacking will occur.

Make sure your cloud storage is secure.  It’s imperative that you do so ASAP. Without this safeguard, all sorts of malware, such as ransomware, can run riot through your systems.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from smallbusinesstechnology.com SOURCE