Hackers Targeting Small Businesses

Thirty-one percent of hackers targeted small businesses in 2012—nearly twice as much as in 2011, according to the Internet Security Threat Report. These hackers do not discriminate against their targets based on general valuation, company type or the personality of the CEO. It is about one thing: vulnerability.

Likelihood of Being Attacked

The National Cyber Security Alliance reports that one in five businesses will become the target of a hacker. After a vicious attack, a business has a 60 percent chance of going out of business within six months. And according to Stay Safe Online, 87 percent of small businesses do not have a written Internet security protocol for employees, and 69 percent do not have any Internet security policy at all. Interesting side note: Companies created after the 2008 recession are 20 percent more likely to have a written security policy in place.

CSS Online also confirms that small businesses are often directly associated, or partly owned, by larger entities. Smaller businesses are often the weakest in the corporate chain, and criminals harness their limitations to move towards massive corporate hacks.

Big Strategies to Implement Today

The Small Business Administration offers advice on protecting your valuable company data. One suggestion: Establish a backup system through a cloud server. Smaller businesses can back up terabytes of data for $100 a month, but businesses with closer to 200 employees would be best working with an off-site server provider with built-in protective measures.

The CDW formal report details that 25 percent of small businesses have established virtualized servers to assist in data protection. Better yet, the usage has increased from 28 percent in 2010 to 33 percent in 2011. For businesses currently lacking virtualization, the average budget for further developments in the field encompasses 17 percent of IT.

Furthermore, LifeLock offers general credit monitoring features that enhance a business’ overall protection. Business credit cards are also closely monitored and protected efficiently through ID analytic reports.

The Small Protective Steps Pay Off

Many small data protective steps can be applied in protecting a cell phone all the way to protective a massive database. A few basic strategies that remain efficient include:

  • Use multiple passwords with varying cases, symbols and numbers
  • Use a two-step verification process across the board—i.e., require customers to text a code from a phone number to establish an account
  • Clear cache, cookies and data history on a consistent basis, as these traceable features can be compromised

This can be overwhelming for businesses on a budget, but USA Today reports that the first step is to determine what information needs to be protected and how that data is accessed. Even more distressingly, mobile malware is a major entity, where 32 percent of mobile attacks were in pursuit of highly valuable data.