In a sense, business is like water. If you block its path, somehow, it’s going to find a way. That is what happened to businesses all over America. As the virus pounded the most powerful nation, digital adaption became the hero of the day. Indeed, COVID-19 accelerated the rise of the digital economy. Small wonder those who gained from it most are businesses who’ve made digital their main platform. The finest example is Amazon, the company which catapulted its founder to the richest of the richest in the world.
But digital is like a jungle. It’s filled with all sorts of hackers whose sole goal is to take advantage of your business. They’re modern-day thieves who’ll stop at nothing to get to their illegal paycheck by hook or by crook. And you will be surprised to know how tenacious and talented these people are. Just a quick look at the year 2020 should give you an idea. Cybercrime increased that year by 400%. What is the largest breach? Hackers hacked 440 million records in Estee Lauder.
And don’t think for one minute you’re immune to hacking. Indeed, the truth hurts. But once you can wrap around your head about the truth, your small business would be in a better position to protect itself. Here are some cold hard facts to begin with.
You’re Never Too Small to Be Targeted
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re just a small potato. Compared to Fortune 500 companies, your small business doesn’t have the deep pockets as it may just be starting. But don’t be complacent. You never really are too small not to be targeted.
In fact, you should be all the more concerned. So long as you hold office, are gunning for clients, and have people who work for you, your enterprise is as valuable as ever. Think about it. The smaller you are, the more vulnerable you can be.
Small businesses are more vulnerable to hacking because they more often than not fail to do security audits or roll out measures to protect their data. Statistics show 60% of small businesses that got hacked closed after 6 months of the incident. Indeed, as a small business, you can’t afford not to think about data protection.
This is the reason online tools that protect your data should be considered a treasure trove. A good example here is Slack’s data loss prevention (DLP) solutions. As useful as Slack in project communications, the company has made available tools to prevent untoward leakage of sensitive data across any Slack workspace.
It’s not if, but When
Another key truth you need to face is that you can be vulnerable to a hack at any time. So it’s not a question of if, but it’s just a question of when.
If you adopt such a mindset, you’d be in a better position to put in damage control when a cyberattack comes through. Think of it as you would the case of fire. If you accept the fact that fire could find you any time, then you’d prepare for such contingencies ahead of time. You’d purchase a fire-resistant vault, for instance.
The same holds true for your small business. Prepare for such an event and already put in measures, so your business can get back right up soonest in the aftermath. One of the things you can do ahead of time is getting a data backup. Simply put, you should have layers of controls so you can minimize the negative effects of a breach.
Think of Online Security as a Business Problem
Another mindset adjustment you need to do is to stop thinking of online security as a nice add-on. It’s not something you can choose not to have. Hacking, especially for small businesses, can be an existential threat. It can run your business aground.
In this regard, it’s not something of an option you can exercise. It’s a must. A data breach is a bad business, period. It can kill your clients’ confidence in you. Worse, it can freeze your operations. So by not protecting yourself from such a threat means you’re not a business worth buying into.
Identify Your Most Critical Assets
Putting cybersecurity as part and parcel of a business may be a hard sell for startup entrepreneurs. More often than not, they’re ill-prepared to count such skill as a core competency. But to start, you need to identify your most critical assets. What are the crown jewels of your company, things that you can’t do without?
It can be customer data or your proprietary IP. Identifying your valuable digital can go a long way in rolling out your online security protocols. You’re better able to protect these assets if you know what these are in the first place.
Your People Are Your Weakest Link
Far too often, it’s employees that provide the entry points in a hack. This is especially true in light of social engineering tactics. End-point users can be vulnerable, allowing a data breach to ensure without them knowing it.
But you can do something about it. Your people can also become your biggest asset. Train them well in the fight against cyber-attacks, and your small business will thrive in due time.