Top mistakes small businesses make that leave them vulnerable to cyberattacks

Top mistakes small businesses make that leave them vulnerable to cyberattacks

Cybercriminals often target small businesses because these organizations are usually unaware or don't pay enough attention to cybersecurity best practices. This could lead them to make mistakes that could have costly consequences.

Here are some mistakes that you should avoid at all costs because they could lead to stolen data, financial losses, or even a damaged reputation.

Setting weak passwords

Weak passwords are easy to guess or crack using automated tools, making them an easily exploitable point of entry. If you’re using weak passwords, then your organization increases its risk of falling victim to malicious activities.

To prevent hackers from gaining access to corporate networks and sensitive data, use strong passwords. Avoid reusing passwords for multiple accounts and sharing them with other people, as these increase the risk of unauthorized access. Set password expiration policies as well to ensure that any old or compromised passwords are changed in a timely manner and cannot be exploited. On top of these, enable multifactor authentication whenever possible, as it adds another layer of protection by requiring users to provide another form of verification in addition to passwords.

Read also: Top password mistakes you shouldn’t be making in 2023

Not prioritizing backups

Many small businesses fail to implement a backup system for their important data, leaving them vulnerable to data loss in case of a cyberattack or other disaster. Without regular backups, you may be unable to recover lost or corrupted data, which could have a major impact on your operations and profitability.

Small-business owners should therefore back up critical data to minimize cybersecurity risks and comply with privacy regulations. A good strategy is to make copies of your data regularly based on the criticality of the information you’re backing up. Also, you should have at least three copies of your data in multiple systems, devices, or locations at a time. This means having a primary copy, with at least one local copy of that data on a different storage medium or site and another in a remote location, such as in the cloud. That way, even if one system fails because of a cyberattack, your data is safe and remains accessible.

Having outdated software

Outdated software can leave businesses vulnerable to a number of serious cyberthreats, including malware and viruses. In most cases, these threats can be avoided simply by installing the latest security patches and updates as soon as they’re released.

However, many small-business owners fail to keep track of all the different software they use. As a result, they end up with systems full of security holes. If you’re in this situation, partnering with a managed IT services provider (MSP) can take the hassle out of updating your software.

At XBASE Technologies, for instance, we can provide assistance in identifying and updating out-of-date software so you get the latest version with all the security patches and features. We also have the expertise to identify vulnerabilities in older software that are susceptible to attacks. The best part is we charge a flat rate for the services a business uses, enabling smaller organizations like yours to maximize your IT investment.

Lacking employee security awareness training

Employees are often the first line of defense against malicious actors, so it’s critical that they are aware of common threats like phishing scams. If employees are not properly trained, there's a greater risk of data breaches due to human error, such as clicking on malicious links or downloading infected attachments.

Equipping employees with cybersecurity knowledge keeps small-business networks secure from cyberattacks while avoiding costly financial losses or penalties due to noncompliance with privacy laws and regulations. This is vital, since small businesses may not have the resources to recover from major security incidents.

These are just some of the many cybersecurity errors your small business can make. But with the help of an MSP, you can avoid making such mistakes and close potential security gaps. Looking to stay ahead of cyberthreats and vulnerabilities? Talk to an XBASE Technologies expert today.