Your Small Business’s Secret IT Vulnerabilities, and What to Do About Them

Most companies want to believe their IT systems are secure from cyberattacks and data theft. Firewalls, SSL certificates and password-protected WiFi are all essential elements of cybersecurity, but they can also lull business owners and their employees into a false sense of security. The vast majority of small businesses have secret IT vulnerabilities, which is why hackers like to target them. Let’s look at a few of the most common secret vulnerabilities that may be lurking about in your IT, and what you can do to make your business safer.

Out-of-Date Software

One of the most common points of weakness in any business is software that hasn’t been updated in a while. What makes this threat so dangerous is that there aren’t any warning signs vulnerability—because your software is probably working just fine. But the older your software is, the more likely it is that some hacker has found a way to infiltrate it. Software developers work constantly to stay ahead of the cybercriminals, which is why most software updates include the latest security fixes and patches.

What to do: Make a point of keeping your software, firmware and antivirus programs up to date. Set a reminder for yourself to check for updates at least once a month, and choose automatic updates when the option is available.

Weak Passwords

It’s a paradox that we lock our doors to be safe, but the lock itself becomes a vulnerability as soon as someone gets a key or figures out how to pick the lock. Your passwords are the keys to your accounts, and if they aren’t strong enough, hackers can “guess” them using ever more sophisticated software and algorithms. If your password is easy to remember, it’s also easy to guess—and that’s a security issue. (You’d be amazed how many people use “password” as their password.)

What to do: Choose long-string passwords that aren’t words or versions of words, and change them regularly. (This article offers good advice on how to choose and remember strong passwords.) You might also consider getting a password manager like Lastpass that lets you create and manage complex passwords without having to remember them.

Your Employees

Ironically, one of the weakest links in your IT system isn’t your IT at all; it’s the people using it. In fact, 90 percent of all data breaches are the result of human error, not system vulnerabilities. Someone creates a weak password, “takes the bait” by clicking a phishing email or downloads a malware attachment without thinking.

What to do: Incorporate cybersecurity training for all your employees. Teach them how to identify suspicious emails and websites, and train them to lock their workstations and devices before leaving them. As an additional layer of protection, install email scanning software to filter out spam and help identify suspicious attachments.

Worried about IT vulnerabilities in your Orange County business? We can help. Call us today at 1-877-NetServ.