Robust Cyber Security for Small Businesses

Cyber threats pose significant risks for large companies, neighborhood shops, and individuals using their computers at home. Many cyberattacks could be prevented with the right tools, but small business owners and individuals often don’t have the resources to keep their information safe. Fortunately, there are options available today that deliver some of the cybersecurity that billion-dollar companies enjoy.

Common Cybersecurity Risks

Most cybersecurity plans begin with an awareness of the most common risks. Small businesses tend to be targeted in several broad categories of threats:

  • Malicious code could be a virus or a worm that causes a lot of damage without any apparent goal for the attackers. In some cases, however, the code could be used in ransomware attacks.
  • Some attackers get access to business information by scanning for areas of vulnerability. This may involve outdated components, broken access control, and missing patches. Criminals purchase tools that scan for weaknesses in businesses’ systems, making this a very common form of attack.
  • Credential stuffing is the use of legitimate passwords and login information to access secure data. Attackers may obtain passwords and usernames from a data breach (using the information mined from areas of vulnerability.) These credentials are fed to a network of bots that attempt to log into banks or credit cards, for example.
  • One example of social engineering is the use of email phishing where the individual is tricked into releasing confidential information or into downloading malware.
  • Ransomware is made of code that prevents business owners from accessing their data unless they pay attackers. The first payment is often followed up by a second request for more money with the threat of selling the business information.

The really bad news for business owners and individual computer users is that attackers often create situations where the recovery from an attack takes weeks or months. The most effective way to combat these attacks is to prevent them.

Technological Offensive Defense Strategies

As part of an effective cybersecurity defense, front-end security is powerful. These are the tools used to keep websites and applications secure on the customers’ side of things. Customers share a lot of their confidential and sensitive data when shopping, banking, and simply browsing online. They expect businesses to keep their information secure. Of course, many hackers target the back end of business systems. These are the applications that help business networks continue working. However, this is where many vulnerabilities, such as the lack of patches, take place.

Some of the most common tools that protect the front and back end of business systems include endpoint detection and response, managed detection and response, and managed extended detection and response.

Endpoint detection and response is a tool for continuously tracking all endpoints for cyber threats. These endpoints may be laptops, smartphones, or IoT devices, for example. EDR makes use of monitoring technology that tracks activities and events. The security software flags suspicious activity and records the steps involved. However, there may be a delay between detection and corrective action.

Managed detection and response, or MDR, involves more than simply using software to identify potential breaks in security. This type of response brings people on board who are ready to work around the clock and take action outside of business hours.

Managed extended detection and response combines the best of these techniques, using third-party experts and advanced technology. An MXDR service reduces the time and effort load on business owners, delivering expertise and timely responses to threats. This service monitors vulnerability and researches ever-evolving threats.

The Value of Third-Party Services

How can small businesses enjoy the powerful tools that major corporations employ? One clear solution is the use of a third-party security team. Business owners have many responsibilities, so keeping up with the ever-evolving types of risk may not be possible. An in-house IT team may not have the time or skill to constantly be on alert. A third-party team, however, is made up of experts who are focused solely on detecting and preventing cyberattacks.

What does your cybersecurity plan look like? Do you have people actively looking for vulnerabilities in your system? Could you benefit from the assistance of a third party with the expertise and resources to combat today’s hackers?

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