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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 11 July 2022
  • Tiffany Carey

Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses

The need for small business owners to develop and implement a cybersecurity strategy is crucial. According to the FBI Internet Crime Report, businesses lost $6.9 billion in 2021 due to cyberattacks. It's a rise of more than $2.5 billion since 2020. Additionally, recent research revealed that 43% of small business owners do not have a clear cybersecurity defense plan in place.

To devise a plan, let’s first look at the most common cyberthreats experienced by small businesses.

woman business owner enters smartphone password

Three Common Types of Cybersecurity Hacks in Small Businesses

1. Phishing

According to a recent IRONSCALES survey, phishing attacks have been on the rise since the start of the pandemic. Phishing scams trick people into providing personal information by replying to an email that looks legitimate. Although phishing is well-known for targeting individuals, it has become one of the biggest and most popular cyber threats facing small businesses.

2. Ransomware

Ransomware attacks occur through phishing emails in the form of a dangerous email attachment that works to encrypt a company’s data and hold it hostage. It can also be spread through drive-by downloading which occurs when a user unknowingly visits an infected website and malware is downloaded and installed without their knowledge. It commonly results in the freezing of a company’s assets or information until a ransom is paid.

3. Malware

Malicious software, also known as malware, is a common cyber threat that performs actions within the victim’s systems. The malware, or virus, takes over the control of a computer, server or computer network and can result in unauthorized access to sensitive employee and/or customer information. Because malware is so complex it can result in the complete collapse of a business’ system, thus making it one of the most expensive attacks to repair from.

Three Best Practices to Protect Your Small Business from Cyberattacks

1. Employee Training

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to protect your small business from cyberattacks is to train your employees about possible threats and how to evade them. According to the 2021 Phishing By Industry Benchmarking Report, small businesses can strengthen security through end-user training in as little as three months. Small business owners should include general security protocol when on-boarding a new employee as well as keep cyber security top of mind as part of a regular routine.

2. Security Hardware

You can ensure your network’s safety by installing reputable antivirus software such as Bitdefender and Norton Antivirus Plus. To minimize threats, you can implement a firewall and provide remote access only through a VPN. Remember to perform routine backups and security audits to keep hardware up-to-date and running smoothly.

3. Website SSL & Browsing

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is the technology that keeps the connection between websites and servers encrypted and safe. A small padlock in the browser bar before the website address indicates the website has an SSL. Small business owners should confirm that all pages of their company’s websites have SSL certificates. To determine if a third party’s website is safe, use a free site status tool like Google’s Safe Browsing.

Cybersecurity may seem like a problem for Fortune 500 companies but has rapidly become one for small businesses. Start devising and implementing a cybersecurity strategy today.


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