What Are the 5 Major Cybersecurity Mistakes I Can Avoid as a Small Business Owner?

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Cybersecurity Mistakes

Your computers and devices are the lifeblood of your small business — your company uses them to communicate with vendors, clients, make critical business decisions, and hold your trade secrets. That’s why you can’t afford to make any of the following cybersecurity mistakes:

Mistake #1 Underestimating Cybersecurity Threats

As businesses grow more dependent on the Internet, trolls and hackers use increasingly sophisticated tools to target them. Cybersecurity experts like Malwarebytes advise companies to be wary of the most common malware attacks.

  • Computer viruses can quickly do incalculable damage by rapidly replicating on your system while modifying or deleting files and folders essential to your operation.
  • Computer worms spread through your network, almost instantly infecting every computer in your business as they modify and delete vital data.
  • Spyware quietly spies on you and your employees, and transmits your company’s sensitive information to cybercriminals for blackmail or industrial espionage.
  • Keyloggers are a sneaky type of spyware that log your keystrokes and send them to hackers to help them commit financial fraud.
  • Ransomware is an especially dangerous type of malware that locks your critical files, folders, systems, or entire network until you pay a ransom in the form of a nearly untraceable cryptocurrency,  a small fortune.

Many of these types of malware are delivered to you or your employees through phishing expeditions or Trojan horses. A phishing attack usually comes in the shape of an authentic-looking email to your company and carries fraudulent links or malware. Meanwhile, Trojan horses are malware disguised as legitimate software.

To combat these threats, you need the right antivirus software. But with so many options out there, you need to make smart choices. Not all cybersecurity solutions are created equal.

Mistake #2 Relying Exclusively on Your Default Security System

Whether your company uses PCs, Macs, your default security system isn’t strong enough to protect your business. For example, Windows Security has been criticized for weaker malware detection rates than other leading antivirus solutions and it has shown poor performance in hands-on phishing protection tests.

The subpar performance of Windows Security should alarm business owners because of the regular discovery of security vulnerabilities in the Windows operating system. Such security holes can be exploited by hackers to breach your system with malware and steal your data.

Unfortunately, Microsoft usually takes precious time to patch security holes. Your best defense is antivirus software that offers real-time protection and shields your valuable data from threats at all hours of the day, and one that actually analyzes the behavior of malicious programs to detect whether they’re targeting your system.

While Macs are traditionally safer than PCs due to a more tightly controlled manufacturing process from Apple, cybersecurity threats against Macs are growing by the day. According to the 2020 State of Malware Report, Mac software threats climbed 400% in 2019, more than Windows. It’s a good thing that well-reviewed antivirus software for Macs can crush malware, adware, spyware, and other threats.

Mistake #3 Relying on Free Antivirus Software

You wouldn’t use low-cost padlocks to lock your company doors, so why would you use free antivirus software to secure your business’s computers?

  • Free antivirus software offers low detection rates
  • Leading free antivirus software breaches your privacy by collecting data about your usage
  • The most downloaded free antivirus software issues false positives to appear useful
  • Many free antivirus programs carry bloatware and intrusive ads that slow your computers down to a crawl, hindering your business’s productivity.
  • The most popular free antivirus solutions suffer from data breaches, making them counterproductive to use

When something is free, you need to ask yourself, “but at what cost?” Free antivirus software will cost you in the long run, whether compromising your uptime or tying up your time as you scramble for solutions once your system’s security is already compromised.

Remember, creating, running, and maintaining a comprehensive business security system that runs at lightning quick speed and prevents zero-day exploits, ransomware, or malicious downloads requires resources. When you use a free security solution, you pay for it one way or the other down the road.

Mistake #4 Not Being Proactive

Not Being Proactive

It’s critical to be proactive when managing your company’s cybersecurity. Think of it as insurance that protects your business from worst-case scenarios.

According to Forbes, 28% of small- to medium-sized businesses experienced data breaches in 2019. While some companies took months to repair the damage, others struggled to recover and closed permanently. Small businesses like yours should take these attacks seriously, especially during the pandemic, as more employees work remotely, away from the safety of company computers and networks.

The right cybersecurity software for your business should secure and empower every member of your team, be lightweight, offer dedicated support, and work on various platforms. Moreover, it should be cost-effective.

Remember, there are 350,000 instances of new malware detected every day. Only advanced antivirus software can remediate such emerging threats by using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to recognize malware behavior based on patterns, scrutinizing the program’s overall structure, programming logic, and data.

Mistake #5 Ignoring the Bigger Picture

Safeguarding the integrity of your data is essential for your business, employees, and your customers. A security breach can permanently erode consumer confidence in your company and adversely affect your profitability and revenue.

A breach in your cybersecurity doesn’t just mean that your information is compromised — it means your clients’ data might be exposed as well.

When you’re a small business, you have no margin for error when it comes to cybersecurity. When some of the largest, most influential companies in the world suffer from data breaches, they have the resources to reach an astronomical global settlement with their clients. Can your small business afford to ignore the bigger picture?

As your small business’s digital footprint grows more prominent, you must subscribe to cutting-edge cybersecurity software in order to secure your business and focus on improving your profitability stress-free.

Images: Malwarebytes

This article, "What Are the 5 Major Cybersecurity Mistakes I Can Avoid as a Small Business Owner?" was first published on Small Business Trends

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