Aug 23, 2019 | Updated: 11:15 AM EDT

4 Cyber Security Weaknesses Most Small Businesses Have

Jun 05, 2019 05:52 PM EDT

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One of the biggest stories in the world of small business over the past few years has been the rise of targeted cyber attacks. While these attacks don't make headlines the way attacks on political campaigns and multi-national corporations do, they can be devastating for the people involved, and can even cause businesses to shut down.

If you are worried about your company's safety, here are four common cyber security weaknesses that effect most small businesses, and what you can do about them:

1. Weak Passwords

Picking out a password can be annoying. Not only do you need to choose something that has the right number of digits or letters, you also have to choose a password you can remember. No wonder passwords like 12345 and qwerty are still among the most commonly used on the Internet.

But weak passwords really do make your business more susceptible to cyber attacks, and one of the first things you should do to tighten up security is require all employees to use complex passwords that include a mix of numbers, letters, and characters. Doing so can cause more work in the short term, but in the long term it can save huge amounts of time and money.

2. Email and SMS Messaging

Email and SMS messaging are cornerstones of modern business, but they are also incredibly susceptible to interception and hacking. It is sometimes said that an experienced hacker only needs fifteen minutes to be able to hack into an individual's email, at which point they can harvest everything from personal information to banking records and - crucially - other passwords.

Probably the most important reason to adopt encrypted messaging software for your company is that it makes your communications system impervious to even the most sophisticated hackers, spyware, and malware viruses. Encrypted smartphones from companies like ChatMail Secure are designed to provide airtight security while also providing users with an integrated and seamless communication platform.

3. Inadequately Trained Employees

All the sophisticated tech in the world won't help if your employees are not using their equipment properly, and in many cases major data breaches or malware infections can be traced back to careless employees who clicked a link in a phishing email or downloaded infected media or software onto the computer.  

In many small businesses, workers don't understand how their actions online can compromise an entire network, so training them to be aware of the dangers is an essential part of protecting your company from cyber attack.  

4. Insider Hacking

The majority of small business owners would like to believe that they have built a harmonious and respectful workplace culture in which employees feel that they are valued and fairly compensated, and management treats employees with respect and consideration. Most people don't like to believe the co-worker who has pictures of his kids up on the wall and asks how the weekend was is defrauding the company.   

Unfortunately, insider hacking is a real threat, and one all small businesses should protect against. Make sure you set clear parameters around computer use, and make it difficult for any one individual to access important information alone.

According to one estimate, sixty percent of small businesses hit with a cyber attack will close their doors within six months. Don't become part of this statistic: improve your security through encryption tools and education, and eliminate your cyber security weaknesses.    

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