Cybersecurity is one of the hottest topics in any business setting. With the massive amounts of data that business have on hand, from financial data to personal employee records, all businesses have to protect themselves from online scams. The threat of online scams is visible every day. We often hear about the large company data breaches such as Marriott and Facebook. But the small and medium businesses are at as much risk. According to Small Business Trends, 43% of all cyber attacks and scams are against small businesses, and many don't have any budget set aside for the mitigation of such an event. The average cost of mitigating these attacks averages nearly $900,000! With no budget set aside for this, many small businesses simply fold under the expense.
Often times, a small or medium-size business doesn't have the time or technical experience to continuously monitor and protect their business networks from online scams. This is why Managed IT Services have become so critical to the small business landscape. When a business outsources their IT security to a Managed IT Services Provider, they minimize the risk related to online scams and related threats. The cost incurred for utilizing Managed IT Services versus the potential $900,000 bill for a data breach makes complete sense. Besides protecting your sensitive data, a Managed IT Services Provider can offer you a business continuity and disaster recovery plan. This ensures that should something happen, your data is backed up and your technology and systems are ready to go quickly.
So what types of online scams can a Managed IT Services Provider help you avoid? Here are four of the most common scams:
- Phishing - Phishing is the most often used method of online scam due to its relative ease of execution. The bad guys in this scenario phish around to find the results they are looking for with very little effort. They most often use fake emails, text messages and websites that are created to appear as if they are being sent by an official company or source, including people you might regularly communicate with. These fake attempts at communications are used to steal personal and financial information. Most often, a cyber thief will trick someone into giving them information by asking them to validate, update or confirm certain items of information that you use frequently. And because they are typically presented in a manner that makes users feel that they are legit, people hand over the requested information. Once the information is confirmed, these thieves gain access to your accounts, stealing information and funds.
- Hacking - Hacking refers to the unauthorized access someone gains to a computer for malicious purposes. This provides hackers with access to your personal files stored on the hard drive, the network and the cloud. Any number of tools both on and offline make it fairly easy for a malicious attack to occur. It is important to be extremely careful when it comes to protecting and securing your documents, files and updating your company on the latest threats. Hackers can also find weaknesses in your security settings, allowing them to gain control over passwords, which turns into access to all of your company information. It is imperative to have a password policy in place for employees and enforce it!
- Malware - Malware is malicious software that infects a computer, and the most common types include ransomware, viruses, spyware and botnets. Ransomware is a type of malware that takes control of your computer and locks it down and renders it unusable. In order to regain access to the computer, the user is required to pay a "ransom" to the hackers. Viruses refer to malicious files that are attached to clean files and infect other clean files and spread throughout the computer system and damage the core functionality of the computer along with deleting or corrupting more files. Spyware is malware that is designed to spy on you and follow what you're doing online including passwords, credit card numbers and the like. Botnets are sophisticated networks of infected computers that are working together under the control of the hacker. The end goal of a botnet is interrupt your network so that a new type of software can be used to break into your hardware, software and/or systems. All of these items are real threats to your company data and are ever-changing. A good Managed IT Provider will be up-to-date on these items and can keep you safe from attacks.
- Wi-Fi Eavesdropping - Wi-Fi eavesdropping happens when the Wi-Fi connection you may be using does not use encryption to stop outsiders from connecting to and reading the information being passed back and forth through the connection. In most instances, the hacker here obtains usernames and passwords for things such as email, social media and even FTP sessions. When using a private network, encryption can be enabled to prevent this type of activity, but on most public networks, encryption isn't activated.
With a Managed IT Services Provider, businesses can rest assured that their most important asset, their data, is safe. The Managed IT Services Provider will continually monitor your network and stay abreast of all current threats that could harm your business. And if a disaster strikes, a Managed IT Services Provider can help you get back up and running quickly with a strategic disaster recovery plan. For more information on how Fraser can help your business stay safe from online scams and other cybersecurity threats, contact us today!