Small businesses have had to become more aware of cybersecurity and what protection is available as the number of threats have only increased in recent years. Radware reported that cyberattacks have become virtually constant for some businesses, with 15 percent of executives and 19 percent of industry executives from technology companies saying that breaches have lasted more than one month.
"Attacks in 2014 are not slowing down. In fact, organizations need to take action now to prepare their networks - particularly in the financial and government sectors," Avi Chesla, chief technology officer at Radware, said. "The results of this report are a call to action, and the best way to fight back against cyberattacks is to be prepared and engage the support of cyber security experts."
Breaches at Target, Home Depot, JPMorgan and Sony Pictures in the last year have made the public wary about the privacy of their information, and for good reason. It's necessary now more than ever for small businesses to take steps to secure their own data.
Keeping small business email secure
Business News Daily highlighted the need to encrypt small business email, which has become more prominent since the Heartbleed bug first arrived. Heartbleed preys on the vulnerability of an extension that is commonly used by companies. This allows hackers to access information such as passwords.
"Heartbleed exposes a pervasive vulnerability that impacts not only websites but [also] email," J.D Sherry, vice president of technology and solutions for antivirus software company Trend Micro, told Business News Daily.
The source recommended that small businesses reach out to their email providers to see if Heartbleed can have an impact on them. Regardless, email encryption can protect various types of data within a business. CEO of Privato Neal Smith told Business News Daily that encryption can be something a business won't realize it needs until something happens - and by then, it's too late.
The source highlighted health care, finance and government as the industries that have the most need for email encryption. In addition, any businesses that interact with these industries are also considered high-risk in terms of cyberattacks.
Keeping up with other security risks
Small Business Trends discussed techniques businesses can employ to lessen the risk of a security breach. Keeping all the software in a small business current will dissuade cyberattacks, for many updates include security advancements as hackers become more evolved. Any website with unused plugins can be vulnerable as well and should be cleaned out.
To protect a small business's website, having one layer of security is not enough for protection. Rather, a business should stack up layers of security, such as email encryption on top of a Web application firewall. The source recommended bundling email encryption along with other services such as data-loss prevention, anti-spam and anti-virus protection.
Website hosting providers do not give enough protection against cyberattacks, and businesses have to take the initiative to put in extra work for protection. Using strong passwords and changing them regularly can protect sensitive information that hackers might compromise.
Additionally, admin directories that can be accessed by these passwords should be difficult to find, as hackers can use scripts to scan all the directories on a website. Using names for admin folders that hackers wouldn't typically look for can throw them off. Small Business Trends said it was astonishing how many businesses failed to use this suggestion as protection even though it is such a simple solution.
Businesses need to take cybersecurity seriously and be aware of the options they have for protection. Since cyberattacks have become common in the news and for technology companies, it has not just become an option to protect data, but a necessity. Using various layers of protection and working with a secure email service can avoid future problems.