Top Small Business Network Security Challenges
March 29, 2019

The Top 3 Small Business Network Security Challenges

The increasing availability, speed, and reliability of the internet has made it easier to conduct business than ever before. Small retail businesses, in particular, have reaped the benefits, with the internet allowing them to reach larger markets and more opportunities than ever before.

But with those opportunities come increased risks of cyber attacks and compromise. And the increased need for stronger network security for your business network infrastructure.

Cyber Crime is a lucrative business. A recent study indicates cyber crime will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021. 61% of small and medium-sized businesses experienced a cyber attack in 2017. That number is up 6% from the previous year, indicating an increasing tendency of criminals to target smaller enterprises. Here we are in 2019 and those statistics still are eye-opening proof for stronger network security.

The Threats Facing Your Business Network Security

Small businesses are just as vulnerable to cyber attacks as larger organizations. Here are a few network security threats you need to protect against. It is not all bad news, fortunately. By understanding these weaknesses, you can help protect your system from attack.

1. Unpatched Systems & Software

The cyber attacks that make headlines are the large-scale breaches that result in millions of compromised accounts, stolen personal information, and dollars lost. However, sometimes the news reports tend to gloss over the vulnerabilities that allowed those attacks to happen.

While it is crucial to have anti-virus /anti-malware software installed on every device with internet access, it is equally important to remember that those programs can only defend against known threats and vulnerabilities. Therefore, ensuring your operating systems, anti-virus and other crucial software remains up-to-date is critical.

For this reason, users must make sure that they regularly update and patch all of their vital software programs. Users should also do a full virus and malware scan after every update to catch any potential issues before serious damage can be done.

2. Internet of Things (IoT)

Roughly defined, the Internet of Things refers to all of the devices connected to the internet. From smartphones to sensors and thermostats, to refrigerators to door locks. In the context of a business, this is any connected device that can share data with one another, from computers, alarm systems, cameras, and so on.

The vulnerability here lies in the fact that virtually every device connected to the internet can potentially be compromised. While everyone knows to secure their computers against cyber attacks, perhaps they might overlook a motion sensor hooked up to their retail store security system. Hackers rely on this oversight, and as IoT devices become more commonplace, the problem is likely to grow.

Hackers typically try to access systems by identifying weakness or vulnerabilities in the devices and accounts associated with your business network. Then they begin to hammer away at their target hoping for a successful compromise. The surest way to deal with this threat is to do your due diligence whenever you add any new device, services or users to your network. Set up a new, strong password on every device, install strong security policies and provide the proper account privileges as soon as you can.

3. Human Element

By far the greatest threat to your network security is the human element that accesses it. A careless employee can cause chaos on your network. For this reason, you must encourage a strong culture of security in your business. You can begin with starting a Cyber Security Awareness Education initiative within your organization.

As much as 92% of malware is delivered by email via malicious email attachments or links. A good start to preventing this scenario is to provide your staff with on-going cybersecurity education and training. Also, institute strict criteria for creating strong passwords. You should also require employees to change theirs every 30 to 60 days.

Combating These Threats Shouldn’t Be Complex or Expensive

Addressing these and other security concerns in your retail business should be a top priority. Fortunately, the comprehensive suite of managed services and security solutions for retail businesses we offer provide a solid and secure line of defense. Your business and its employees will remain up and running, updated and secured while we manage your entire IT infrastructure for a fraction of the cost of staffing an IT department. Connect with us to learn more about our managed services and security solutions.