Impact of Cyber Attacks on Small Businesses

Published on : 08 Aug 2023

Imapct of cyber attacks on small business

Your business is at high risk if you have no security measures. A cyber attack can cause devastating financial damage to your business, including legal liabilities.

Cyberattacks can result in lasting adverse repercussions on the reputation of your network security, as clients and customers can lose faith in your business if their personal data gets leaked. It can affect productivity, but you can mitigate the impact of attacks by deploying protective gear and training systems for your business and employees. It is important to educate your employees about the potential effect of suffering a cyberattack and prepare them to avoid a potential cause.

Network Security Definition: Network security involves every measure required to secure your computer network and the information stored on it from external unauthorized use. Every business must prioritize the security of its network and ensure that it is usable and reliable.

Your business network comprises interconnected devices such as computers, servers, and wireless networks. Many of these devices have areas they are susceptible to external attacks. Attackers understand this and try to exploit those areas to achieve their selfish goals. Security becomes increasingly critical as networks grow more complex and enterprises depend more on their data and networks to sustain business operations.

What Cybercriminals Can Do To Your Business Network

Many small business owners think hackers cannot be interested in their business because of their size or the industry they operate in. But a cybersecurity report shows that 43% of data breaches involve small businesses. In essence, small businesses that ignore cybersecurity only do so at their own peril.

Some effects of cybersecurity on your business include:

  • Stealing stored data such as credit card details.
  • Encrypting your most critical data in return for a huge payment before restoring access.
  •  They may leverage certain information to gain access to the computer systems of big businesses.

A single attack on your company system can force your business to shut down temporarily as you work to restore operations. And in some cases, an attacked business may never regain its functionality. As a result, you may face legal liabilities and fines, and your customer may never trust your business again. 

Most Common Attack Types 

The most popular types of cyber attacks on small businesses include:

  • Malware

Malware is a predominant form of malicious software attack directed at a business network to steal information or disrupt the operation. Malware attacks can damage your system, client, server, or computer network. They can include computer viruses and ransomware kinds of attacks.

  • Ransomware

Ransomware is a malicious software attack targeted at your system to restrict you from accessing critical data for regular business operations. Unfortunately, many cybercriminals see this as an easy way to get exploit businesses.

In the United States, ransomware attacks have more than doubled those from France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Belgium, and others of the world’s leading nations.

  • Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are usually deployed via emails and malicious websites. They try to deceive a target into taking an action that would result in downloading sensitive viruses and other infections into their device. This would help them to collect sensitive information or change how a computer system operates.

Here is How Your Business Can Be Protected from Attacks

While big businesses pay heavily to secure their business, small business owners do not necessarily have to spend so much. They can deploy some basic measures and security solutions to provide them with optimal security. Integrate these solutions and practices in your business system to protect your business from external and internal attacks.

1.Educate Every of Your Worker

A report has shown that 95% of data breaches occur due to human error. These errors may be committed by internal players such as employees, company executives, or external players. And taking the time and resources to equip your workers with the necessary measures to identify and prevent potential attacks. 

In addition, if you operate a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policy, create strategies to secure your employees’ devices. If you think you have a secure network but your employees’ devices are not, your network is still vulnerable to attacks.

2.Make Strong Password Usage and Multi-Factor Authentication Necessary

There has been a huge report of employee passwords being compromised or stolen due to missing devices and other factors. And with remote systems becoming increasingly accommodated in businesses, hackers are also discovering much easier ways to steal data through weak passwords.

  • All employees must separate their work passwords from personal ones. 
  • They should also consider changing their passwords every month or quarter to prevent compromise. 
  • Passwords must not have any of your personal information included.

Another viable approach to securing access to your network is to set up multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication is a method of protecting your application by using a second source of validation before access is granted to users. A common method is to use your devices, such as a mobile device or geographic location, to create additional means of authentication.

An employee must type in a password and an extra code generated by an app that can only be accessed via a personal device.

3.Restrict Access to Critical Data

Limit access to your company’s financial information, spreadsheets, human resources files, account data, and customer information. Internal actors can leverage this opportunity to use the information for personal gains. And some of the reasons they may consider launching an attack on your system include the following;

  • For monetary incentives. Employees with financial motivations can devise means to meet their wants.
  • As a form of revenge. When you fire an employee, they may sort ways to get back at you through a cyberattack.
  • Espionage. Spy workers may be seeking opportunities to gain secret information about your business.

4. Encryption

Encryption tools are quite valuable in securing your data from being tracked and used by authorized individuals. This is because the encryption process converts data into difficult-to-comprehend texts, allowing only authorized users to access the information through an encryption key. 

Ensure to encrypt all company resources, including tablets and smartphones, and keep the encryption key or password secure. Also, ensure you don’t share the key or password in the encrypted document.

Narendra Sahoo
Narendra Sahoo

Narendra Sahoo (PCI QPA, PCI QSA, PCI SSF ASSESSOR, CISSP, CISA, CRISC, 27001 LA) is the Founder and Director of VISTA InfoSec, a global Information Security Consulting firm, based in the US, Singapore & India. Mr. Sahoo holds more than 25 years of experience in the IT Industry, with expertise in Information Risk Consulting, Assessment, & Compliance services. VISTA InfoSec specializes in Information Security audit, consulting and certification services which include GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, NESA, MAS-TRM, PCI DSS Compliance & Audit, PCI PIN, SOC2 Compliance & Audit, PDPA, PDPB to name a few. The company has for years (since 2004) worked with organizations across the globe to address the Regulatory and Information Security challenges in their industry. VISTA InfoSec has been instrumental in helping top multinational companies achieve compliance and secure their IT infrastructure.