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If Your Business Works Remote, Consider Investing in Cybersecurity

If Your Business Works Remote, Consider Investing in Cybersecurity

woman working on business remotely

If you own a small business, you may think you’re below the radar for hackers who want to turn your business upside down and walk away, leaving you with a mess to fix. However, no matter your business size, that’s what can happen if you don’t take your cybersecurity seriously.

In times like what we are faced with today, many businesses are having employees work remotely, and many small businesses themselves are moving to an ecommerce platform to reach more people.

If you have a website for your LLC, or any part of your business is online, you need to beef up your cybersecurity to stay protected. Not only can your personal information become compromised, but your business and all of your customers’ private information could be at risk.

Think Your Small Business Is Safe? Think Again

Cybersecurity is a huge market, and it is projected that global spending on cybersecurity will reach $133.7 billion by 2022. Remember Norton Antivirus? How about McAfee? Symantec? You should at least have some type of antivirus software on your computers and laptops.

Unfortunately, while those are one step in the right direction for many people, they tend to not be good enough to protect your small business. If a hacker really wants to get into your system, those security measures will likely not be enough.

A common way that hackers can wreak havoc on your business is through your email system. You get an email that seems legit, open it up and find out it’s “spam.” But in reality, simply opening that email can allow someone to get through your cybersecurity. According to Verizon, 94% of malware comes from opening emails. And hackers are getting smarter by sending emails that appear to be from a friend, a family member or a company you do business with.

Some of the other most common types of cyberattacks include:

  • Malware
  • Phishing
  • DDoS attacks
  • SQL injection attacks
  • Rootkit attacks

When speaking to various business leaders, 68% said they feel their cybersecurity risks are increasing. If that many business professionals are concerned, shouldn’t you be too?

A Data Breach Can Ruin Your Small Business

According to Verizon, around 43% of those who had cybersecurity issues in 2019 were small businesses. If you are a small business, you can’t afford to have hackers penetrate your security and steal your business and customers’ information. When this happens, those customers may never be able to trust your company again with their private information.

Even worse, if a hacker gets their private information, such as social security numbers, credit card information or bank account information, it can lead to identity theft, fraud, exorbitant charges made to customers’ accounts or even new accounts being opened in their name.

Large companies go to great lengths to protect themselves and invest millions in cybersecurity. Even then, they aren’t always safe. CPO Magazine posted a list of the greatest data breaches in history and some of the names below may surprise you — they’re huge brands you probably use or have purchased from.

Company Accounts Hacked Date of Hack
Yahoo! 3 billion August 2013
Marriott 500 million 2014-2018
Yahoo! 500 million Late 2014
Under Armour 150 million February 2018
Equifax 145.5 million July 2017
eBay 145 million May 2014
Target 110 million November 2013
LinkedIn 100 million June 2012

The University of Maryland conducted a study that found that hackers attack every 39 seconds, which on average comes to around 2,244 times a day. Even more shocking is that in 2019 the average time to identify a data breach was 206 days — enough time for hackers to do some major damage with your information.

The Cost of a Data Breach for Small Businesses

Should you find your small business was breached and a hacker got through your cybersecurity (assuming you even have it), the average cost of a data breach is $3.92 million. If you break down the numbers even further, take all of the customers in your system (you probably have thousands) and then factor in the average cost per record stolen of around $150.

After all the expenses associated with a data breach or hacker penetrating your cybersecurity, would you have enough money to keep your business open? Those expenses are enough to put even some of the biggest brands out of business let alone a small business simply grinding every day to keep their doors open. You need to take your cybersecurity seriously and put measures in place to help prevent hackers from getting in.

How to Protect Your Small Business from Cyber Attacks When Working Remotely

One of the toughest things to do is take a security network setup at your business and provide that same level of protection at home when working remotely. Sure, whatever you have on your laptops and devices at work can be taken home with you, but you still need to think about adding some key layers of added security.

Here are some measures you can take to increase your cybersecurity for remote work at home:

1. Use a VPN

tablet with vpn protection

Businesses, both large and small, should already be using a VPN (virtual private network) to secure all of their data online. A VPN can be added easily to all laptops and devices to increase your privacy and add levels of encryption to your communications and information.

It should be noted that your internet speed may decrease slightly due to the VPN network. This is normal since your connection is being redirected through multiple locations across the globe to help mask your data and online footprint.

2. Use Strong Passwords

According to Avast, 83% of Americans are using weak passwords. Additionally, many people use the same password for each of their accounts. Therefore, if a hacker gets into one account, they have access to all of them with the same password.

Create a $tr0nG! password for every account you have. Use special characters, numbers, symbols and both uppercase and lowercase letters. This can be quite a nuisance to remember all of your passwords, so for that reason, it would be wise to write them down in a secure location or use a password manager program.

You should also check your password on your home router. A weak password can allow people to get on your network. Also, make sure your router encryption is set to WPA2 or WPA3 and disable WPS to boost your cybersecurity.

3. Set Up a Firewall

In order to close the ports of communication for your device and the internet, have a firewall enabled on your devices and your router. A firewall can help prevent threats from getting into your system and prevent data from leaking out and getting into the hands of hackers and spammers.

All of your devices should already have a firewall on them, you just need to make sure they are enabled as sometimes they can be turned off accidentally.

4. Set Up Two-Factor Authentication

laptop screen on a two-factor authentication screen

Using two-factor authentication (also referred to as two-step verification) can be a pain. However, what’s worse is weakening your cybersecurity and allowing someone to crack into your data. While having a strong password is essential, sometimes you need more layers of protection when working remotely.

If someone were to guess your password, two-factor authentication means they need to have another form of identification to get into your account. This is typically done by sending a text to your phone with another password to enter, receiving an email with a code or using your fingerprint or facial recognition (similar to what is used to access your smartphone).

5. Update and Run Antivirus Software

As mentioned earlier, you should have some sort of antivirus software on your devices. With new viruses and malware attacking systems daily, you want to make sure your cybersecurity is up to date on all the new threats out there, so they can effectively block them. Update your software often.

Antivirus is helpful because it not only helps prevent hackers and malware from accessing your information and devices, but it also scans your device to make sure threats aren’t present.

Utilize these cybersecurity measures when you are doing remote work to keep your information and data protected and your business secure.