Cyber threats are a major concern for small businesses around the world. The risk, research shows, is even greater for businesses with remote employees. But in companies surveyed by Nationwide, one of the country’s largest insurance providers, less than five percent of small businesses in the US (those with 11-500 employees) have proper security measures in place for their remote workers. Consequently, this greatly increases the likelihood of a cyberattack.
The Risks of Remote Workers
When companies bring new remote hires onboard, they expand the risk of problems in cyberspace. Lack of employee training on internet safety gets many small businesses into trouble. Network choice is another. Many remote employees who conduct work outside the home often use public internet connections, which are notorious for having weak security measures. Unfortunately, using public networks opens the door to cyberattacks. Statistics show that businesses that use public Wi-Fi connections have seen many problems:
Why Small Businesses are Threatened
Interestingly, studies also show that 90% of businesses believe cyber threats will increase in the future as business is increasingly conducted online. Despite these risks, many small businesses still don’t have a cyber protection plan in place. For starters, many believe that their companies are too small to be of interest to cyber attackers. However, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) warns that smaller companies have plenty of lucrative personal and business information to exploit. Small businesses also have a reputation for being less proactive about protecting their assets online. Their unprotected networks and exposed data, in turn, make them much easier targets for hackers.
Even if they know the risks involved, not all businesses are willing to take action. When surveyed, 50% of small businesses say they’ll only invest in online protection strategies if their reputation is at risk. Others avoid investing in employee training and online defense strategies because they are afraid the overall cost is too much. However, what many business owners don’t consider is that the financial repercussions and lost productivity from a single cyberattack can be much more financially draining.
What Can Small Businesses Do?
The SBA recommends several easy and effective ways to reduce risks posed by remote workers. They include:
Of all the measures businesses can take against cyber attacks, education is key. Nearly 30% of small businesses say they have no formal cyber training in place. Companies must educate their employees so that everyone has an understanding of the many (real) risks the company faces online. Every small business should also have written security measures and rules, distributed company-wide, so that everyone understands the company’s policies and abides by a certain code of conduct.
Passwords should be updated regularly, says the SBA. Strong passwords are one of the simplest and most effective ways that a company can protect itself against a cyberthreat. Furthermore, small businesses should have backup systems that will protect their vital data in case of a security breach or an online attack. Insurance companies highly recommend that businesses have an action plan for mobile devices too, and that they should protect all pages of their public websites.
Finally, any company page that deals with financial information should be protected. This includes securing sign-up pages, checkout pages, and creating security protocols for processing and storing credit card information. This applies to the company’s internal operations and to web-based financial transactions with clients. Management teams should closely monitor which employees have access to the company’s financial information. For optimal protection, financial data should be handled internally and never distributed over a public Wi-Fi network.
Ultimate Source of Protection
Secure Forensics is the answer to businesses of all sizes that need cyber protection and defense. Our company is often called upon to handle malware, data breaches, and other cybersecurity risks. With a rapid response team, we can handle requests anywhere around the world within 24 hours. If your cyber security is in jeopardy, don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-800-288-1407.