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The 3 Biggest Problematic Mindsets Around Cybersecurity

As a mainstay in today’s digital environment, cybersecurity concerns play a huge role in how we approach evolving customer needs, internal processes, and regulatory requirements. Cybersecurity isn’t just for banks; now, companies of all sizes and industries can find themselves susceptible to hacks. There’s still a good reason for all of us to bring cyber safety to the forefront – to protect us from the unknown.

Today’s small businesses are between a rock and a hard place. Often lacking the funds and resources to invest in the protective measures larger corporations have in place, small businesses find themselves at a disadvantage in terms of keeping their assets and information safe. This is why, as I’ve discussed in the past, small businesses have become the main target for cyber attacks.  Although the means to invest remains the biggest obstacle to better security, many business owners are also falling into avoidable traps, putting sensitive company information at risk. Regardless of resources, here are three cybersecurity mistakes no business owner should make.

1. Overlooking employees’ cyber knowledge & familiarity

For a company with limited resources, employees can be tremendously valuable players if they’re given the proper tools, techniques, and education. Very few of us are true experts in cybersecurity, and employees often expect their work data and information to be automatically protected from cyber attacks. Providing fundamental information about cyber safety and best practices – and arming employees with a few quick tips like the following – can help prevent avoidable security incidents.

  • Learning to identify harmful emails by looking out for incorrect grammar and inaccuracies in the message body, and place your mouse pointer over any link to verify the URL before clicking.
  • Don’t use bookmarks or web browser shortcuts – attackers can make modifications on the back end so it links somewhere else.  Open up your internet search and type in exactly what you’re looking for, instead.
  • When you’re working off-site, never use public WiFi. You might think your local cafe is safe, but shockingly, these hotspots are often unmanaged and highly insecure, leaving your computer or device vulnerable to an attack.
2. Not having a plan B

Up-training your employees or end users – is the most critical step you can take to protect your business from cyber threats. The success of your security measures is highly dependent on the education of your employees. It’s important to empower employees to make smart decisions that prevent cyber adversaries from “walking through your front door”. Please note that even the most cautious or paranoid users can make mistakes, particularly with sophisticated phishing scams – or spear phishing. This type of attack is when an email appears to be from someone you know and includes links or attachments that are harmful to the organization.

This is where your “Plan B” falls into place – the spam filters, customized rules, internet content filters, sophisticated email scanning, etc. These type of solutions categorize sites or email traffic into various classifications to effectively block malicious content or attacks. A small business may not have the luxury of more advanced, expensive security measures like sandboxing or whitelisting; however, simple yet basic filters can catch most known types of attacks and provide an important fallback for when human error is inevitable.

3. The “too much or too little” approach

Small businesses today are using more technology to grow and maintain a competitive edge, with recent research showing that technology helps level the playing field and contribute to revenue growth.

This, however, opens up many new avenues for cyber threats – and businesses across the board are faced with a balancing act when it comes to security vs. convenience. From the way we streamline internal processes to how we engage with customers, we all want a seamless experience. Having the right security measures in place is crucial but going too far overboard can be costly and ultimately kill the customer experience.

While the average business may not have the most advanced systems in place, businesses still can benefit from educating employees, implementing basic safety filters, and learning to strike the right balance between security, convenience, and usability. Don’t let a lack of resources be an excuse – there are steps we can all take to protect your company and your customers.


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