Common IT security mistakes SMBs should avoid

Common IT security mistakes SMBs should avoid

With cyberattacks becoming increasingly sophisticated and devastating, it’s imperative now more than ever for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to take cybersecurity seriously. Partnering with a reliable managed IT services provider (MSP) like outsourceIT is one way to ensure that your IT environment is protected against the most common and latest threats. However, it’s important that you also understand that there are basic principles that your organization must adhere to in order to stay safe from cyberattacks. Preventing data breaches will be easy if you don’t make these five common IT security mistakes.

Assuming your SMB is not a target

Businesses of every size in virtually every industry are vulnerable to attacks. But more often than not, the stories that make the news headlines involve either large organizations or a considerable amount of stolen credit card data or personally identifiable information. As a result, many SMBs that have modest assets or don’t handle sensitive types of data don't believe they will become targets.

In reality, SMBs are ideal targets for cybercriminals as the former have less secure networks that are easier to break into using automated attacks. This allows the latter to breach numerous SMBs and even gain entry into the networks of larger organizations that these SMBs do business with.

It’s therefore crucial for you to take the risk of cyberattacks seriously and have a strategy in place to protect critical business assets. You can start by conducting tests and assessments that identify vulnerabilities in your organization’s technology, people, and processes, then finding the appropriate solutions to these.

Neglecting to understand and update your business network

Businesses may never be able to prevent every cyberattack, as networks tend to be too vast and complex and there are too many opportunities for cybercriminals to break in. However, neglecting to understand the architecture of your own business network and failing to update relevant software make it even easier for malicious actors to breach your systems and data.

Get to know where your most critical data and apps are stored, how big your network is, and how traffic moves inside your network so you know which protocols and tools to implement to maximize security. You must also regularly update your software, as these updates often contain essential changes to fix or improve the performance and stability of your apps. These updates often contain critical patches to security vulnerabilities, which ensure protection against the latest known attacks.

Relying solely on antivirus software

In today’s sophisticated threat landscape, antivirus protection on its own is no longer sufficient to prevent persistent and advanced attacks. Cybercriminals evolve their techniques faster than security companies can update their technologies, so it’s not prudent to rely on a single security tool to protect your entire IT environment.

It’s crucial that you employ multiple levels of security to ensure enhanced defense against all sorts of threats, like malware, unauthorized access, and risks like file corruption, theft, or deletion. This is so if one security measure fails to address an issue, another mechanism sets out to thwart it.

Cybercriminals evolve their techniques faster than security companies can update their technologies, so it’s not prudent to rely on a single security tool to protect your entire IT environment.

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Failing to protect endpoints

With the advent of remote and hybrid work, cybercriminals can exploit your employees’ tendency to use unsecured devices or connections to access corporate networks. That’s why it’s vital that your business has measures in place to identify and shut down malicious threats targeting various endpoints.

It’s a good idea to use endpoint monitoring tools to establish visibility of all the devices in your environment. It’s also well worth investing in endpoint protection technologies to detect and stop a variety of threats before they can even enter your network. These technologies include antivirus software, data encryption, intrusion prevention, and data loss prevention.

Not seeing security as a shared responsibility

Many SMBs assume that their MSP or IT partner will handle all aspects of data security for them. While providers certainly design security solutions that are multifaceted and holistic, businesses still have to be responsible and accountable for their own data.

Effective cybersecurity isn’t limited to the capabilities of modern security tools and platforms — your people and processes also play a part in mitigating risks and protecting your organization. It’s important that your employees know how to properly and securely handle your systems and data, which can be achieved by establishing basic device and data handling guidelines as well as providing cybersecurity awareness training.

Prevention and vigilance can go a long way in securing your critical business network and data. Want to learn other ways to boost your cybersecurity? Get in touch with one of our specialists today.

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