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There was a time when a business relied on a few simple things to protect their business. They would use security cameras, an alarm on their building and maybe a gun under the counter to ward off the threat of someone trying to steal from them. These were effective methods in the past but they do not address the type of crime that businesses are facing today. Cyber-attacks can cause more damage and are a bigger threat to the livelihood of a business than ever before. A cyber-attack can happen at any time and may only take a second to occur, but the results can have long reaching and lasting effects for a business. Businesses have to find ways to deal with the growing threat of cyber-attacks just like they found ways to deal with the threats to their business in the past.

Acknowledging the Threat

Any defense begins with recognizing that there is a threat that is lurking. Many small businesses do not think they could be a target of a cyberattack. They may assume that the cyber criminals will go after the big businesses and the governments that have something that is worth taking the risk of getting caught for. This is the biggest mistake that a business can make.

Cyberattacks are very easy to attempt. While a criminal in the past could only try to attack one business at a time, cyber criminals can cast a wide net that encompasses many businesses. The cyber criminal only needs one person to become trapped in their net to work, but by sending out their attack to a lot of businesses, they increase their odds of a successful attack.

Businesses need to realize that although the large scale attacks on governments and big business gets all of the media attention, the number of smaller attacks is a lot higher than they can imagine. The damages that are caused by a cyber attack on a small business can be much more damaging to that business because they may not have the resources to repair the damage that is caused.

Dealing with the Threat

Acknowledging the threat is the first and often most important step, but if the threat is still ignored by the business, it does no good. Every business needs to make sure they have the proper defenses in place to protect their technology from a cyber-attack.

The biggest threat to a business is having their computer systems infected with malware or a virus. These can affect a single computer or they can affect all of the computers in a business network. They can hide in the background collecting information and passing it on to the cybercriminal without anyone realizing it. The use of software that spies on computers is more common than people imagine. This software is introduced through viruses. A small business has some easy defenses against this threat.

Training the employees is the first line of defense. They need to be aware of the dangers of opening unsolicited emails or downloading anything to their computer. They need to use strong passwords that they change regularly. If that is in place, the business can then rely on technology to catch the attacks that make it past the people. Every business needs to make use of antivirus software. The software should not only be able to scan for any viruses or malware that is on a computer, it needs to include a strong firewall that blocks the attempts of any hackers that are trying to get into a computer system.

The antivirus software is not perfect. Cyber criminals are always working to get around the software that is in place. The software developers update their products to keep up with the criminals. It is up to the user of the antivirus software to make sure they keep it updated on their systems. The software also has a major flaw that is completely in control of the people using it. It only works if it is turned on. It should always be in place to prevent any threats.

There are plenty of other tools that can be found to keep up with the cyber criminals. It is up to the business to decide which ones they need and how they use them.

The number one way to prevent becoming a victim of a data breach or cyber-attack is to let any attackers know that you have taken steps to protect the information that is stored. This used to be done by signs that said beware of dog or something similar. Advertising that your business is protected from cyber-attacks may cause the criminals to look for an easier target. When the protection is in place and is turned on, the chances of a data breach will go down, but they won’t go away.

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