According to the FBI, cyber attacks are becoming more and more common. This is because of our reliance on computers to accomplish tasks we used to do with pencil and paper. Now, we order supplies online, pay our bills online, and market to our customers online. Each of these activities involves a computer, and bad guys know it. Most businesses thrive or fail on their ability to successfully keep the criminals out of their computer networks. Even our healthcare relies on the ability to secure and protect our electronic medical records. Cybersecurity for your Prescott business is of the utmost importance. But, don’t think an antivirus will be enough to protect your business. Here’s why.
Cybersecurity Risks at Your Small Business in Prescott
Hacking computers by guessing passwords, exploiting weaknesses, or other means is complicated, unreliable, and too easy to trace. In reality, it’s not like you see in the movies. Most hackers are considered “script kiddies”. This type of hacker is generally unskilled and uses tools they download from the Internet. Hackers are limited by what the tools they use.
Large corporations combat and mitigate the risk from computer hackers several ways. For instance, purchasing sophisticated software, security appliances, and by hiring employees trained and experienced in securing computers and networks.
Small businesses don’t have that kind of budget, nor do they generally have the expertise to even know who to hire to accomplish their security goals. Most, in fact, rely on built-in software like Windows Defender or other antivirus software thinking that once it’s installed, their job is done. They’re unaware that these products don’t address the weakest link: the employees.
Employees – The Weakest Link
“But my employees don’t have access to things that could ruin my business!” you might say. And, generally speaking, you might be correct. However, there’s a good chance they have access to at least one of your business computers, and that’s where the risk comes in, especially if the employees have access to email. If a sophisticated hacker takes their time, discovers information about your business, your personnel, and gets lucky, they can trick your employee into downloading a computer virus, or even giving up a password. Once either has been accomplished, the hacker can walk all over your network, steal any data they find, and even hold it ransom until you pay.
A decent antivirus, like Malwarebytes, the one TekStop recommends, will protect your business from computer viruses. These malicious programs can do all kinds of things to your machines and network, including locking your computer down, setting a timer, and forcing you to pay a ransom to get the code to unlock your computers. If you don’t pay-up in time, POOF, your data is gone.
Real Threats to Real Companies
This might only be an inconvenience, but what do you have on your computers that your business can’t live without? Customer files containing all the data you need to serve them? Passwords for the myriad of websites you have to visit from time to time? Think about what you might lose, or how much it might cost your business if the ransomware causes you to have to close your doors for a few days or weeks. This isn’t a scare-tactic. It has really happened. A lot of times. Here are some examples.
- An Arkansas-based telemarketing firm had to lay of 300 employees after ransomware destroyed their data.
- An entire US natural gas pipeline shut down due to a ransomware attack.
- A hospital, during the COVID-19 pandemic, was shut down by ransomware.
- Garmin, yes that Garmin (the company who makes GPS devices and more) had its services shut down by ransomware.
Effects on Small Businesses
These are the big stories, the ones that affect a lot of people. We don’t get to hear about the beauty salons that have been shut down. We don’t learn about the law offices who have to start over. Nobody in the media seems to care when the ice cream shop that’s been there for fifty years vanishes because their point-of-sale computers are down. Because of the media’s apathy, we don’t know exactly how many people have been taken advantage of daily, but I think it’s safe to say the number is greater than zero.
Overall, it’s estimated that hackers, viruses, and other attacks against computers have cost more than $13 billion in damages worldwide, but it might be as high as $17 billion or more.
Cybersecurity Awareness Training for your Prescott Business
This is why training your employees on how to detect and avoid threats to your computers is an absolutely essential part of cybersecurity at your Prescott business. The training must be on-going because employee turnover and normalcy bias will both contribute to an increased risk. That’s because most people aren’t computer technicians. Your employees don’t understand how criminals try to gain access to your computers, and therefore, they are the weakest link.
TekStop has a solution for this problem. It’s interesting, interactive, and when combined with our preferred antivirus and managed I.T. services, we can help you save your business and give you peace of mind. The first step in protecting your business is by having a cybersecurity risk assessment performed.
Contact TekStop today and schedule a free consultation to learn what we can do for your business, your employees, and your peace of mind.