4 Simple Ways SMBs Can Combat Vulnerabilities
It’s scary out there, tenfold for SMBs. The internet is full of bad actors that would like nothing more than access to your personal data for all kinds of nefarious reasons.
1. Ensure all software is up-to-date and patched
Software updates can be annoying. It can be inconvenient if a new update interrupts your current workflow. Conversely, if the update reminders get turned off, it’s easy to forget to update your software. Why is updating your software version important, though? Regardless of how well-designed a system is, there are always loopholes in code, and bad actors are experts in exploiting loopholes. Developers know this, so they are constantly on the hunt for these issues in their code and update or patch these vulnerabilities so that hackers can’t exploit them. Still, the longer you go snoozing an update, the longer window a bad actor has to exploit a known vulnerability in your system. And yes, the bad guys know all about vulnerabilities. So, whether your team stays on top of your patching needs, or you leverage a managed security partner to do it for you, software updates are an integral and accessible first line of defense for protecting your data.
2. Turn on multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is one of the simplest forms of combatting cyber attacks. Usernames and passwords alone are susceptible to brute-force attacks, where hackers can easily steal data. They are also vulnerable to password re-use.
MFA requires an additional channel of verification information in order to allow access. Several forms of multi-factor authentication exist, including One-Time Passwords (OTPs) — often text messages, electronic tokens, access badges, and even biometric data. Choosing an MFA option is either a personal or policy decision based on your company’s individual needs, but thankfully there are plenty of options to choose from.
3. When in doubt, don’t click
This one seems simple, yet over 95% of cyber security breaches are caused by human error, and hackers know this. Phishing has been on the rise in recent years; bad actors are taking advantage of unfamiliarity with technology, blind trust, and other benevolent qualities. Social engineering scams can take the form of emails, phone calls, social media messages, nefarious USB drives, and so on. Many people open emails and click links quickly before investigating the sender or other content more thoroughly. So, remember, when in doubt, don’t click and teach your team to do the same.
4. Security Awareness Training
Education is one of the most essential facets of combating vulnerabilities. How do your employees know what to look out for if they’re never taught? Security Awareness Training is an effective way to teach employees about general security awareness. As a smart standard requirement of most security compliance programs, following this guidance also helps ensure you meet government, industry, or other regulations.