A new year means new threats. Small businesses across the country are scrambling to keep up with the new normal that is the Internet of Things (IoT) - the billion or so devices sharing data and information around the globe.
As brilliant as it may be to be so connected, security breaches that can compromise personal and company data are closer than ever before. Today, everything is connected to make life easy, more fluid, and self service. Whether it’s a mobile phone, workplace desktop, or even home-based digital assistant, people are increasingly dependent on technology with very little understanding of the risk.
Strength In Numbers
In a recent report, McAfee Labs shared their predictions for the biggest threats in 2019, and the big theme is collaboration — cybercriminals are joining forces to deploy rapid, multi-faceted attacks over a number of platforms before victims have the change to realize how deep they have gotten. Platform connectivity, combined with sloppy user password habits, will only continue to fuel the fire.
According to McAfee, these “synergic attacks” will not only be on the rise, but will require combined defense and response on the part of IT professionals. If you remember nothing else from this post, remember this: “Everything is connected, and you are only as strong as your weakest link.”
Software as a Service (SaaS) and Cloud - Conveniently Catastrophic?
What’s more, in the past two years, more and more businesses are migrating to hosted software, where the applications they use for business, such as Office 365, are no longer living on their in-house servers and workstations, but residing in the Cloud. This has been particularly attractive because of the convenience of remote access and off-loading the technical expertise required to maintain locally run software.
Like all things, convenience comes with a price - you might be able to access your corporate data from home or on vacation, but so can a cybercriminal. This year, calculated attacks on Cloud data are predicted to be on the rise and small businesses should be acting now to ensure that the Cloud tools they are using are secure.
The Broken Record of Small Business IT - Monitor and Educate
Whatever the threat, proactive monitoring and education continue to be the small business owner’s best defense in 2019.
Assess all possible internal and external hacker entry points
Train your employees to question everything. Cybercriminals are getting really good at making things look authentic - emails, alerts, attachments, text messages, phone calls; the list goes on.
Tighten up password protocols on both company and personal devices
Train your employees (and keep training your employees) on how to authenticate suspicious notifications
Enhance your security with proactive monitoring from a trusted IT partner
We are all familiar with the popular social media sites, service providers and retailers who have been targeted — all companies that consumers thought they could trust. Yet, that blind trust compromised over 1 billion people’s personal information last year. Now, more than ever, the convenience of technology comes equally with great risk and corporate responsibility to protect your customers.
You wouldn’t leave the back door open for a criminal to invade your home, the same could be said about the technology you are using each day. Know what’s open. Assess and secure. Don’t leave it up to chance, your company and your customers are trusting you.