5 Common Cyber security holes small businesses need to plug now

security holes

Recent cyber security surveys have shown that very few small businesses pay serious attention to cyber security related continuity plan. It is quite understandable judging from the point that small busineses  have less resources and time to focus on cyber security, but this also give room for compromise as sone common security holes get overlooked.

And just because you’re not a large firm or a household brand, it  doesn’t mean your business should not worry about security breaches. On the contrary, small businesses are the most likely to be vulnerable and cyber attack actors know this. While enterprise-level solutions can be quite expensive and pricy, there are simple and inexpensive measures that small business can implement to reduce the risk of being compromised.

This post tends to beam the light on easily overlooked cyber cracks  and security holes that can turn into major hole exposing you as a small business, providing some simple solutions you can apply to stay safe.

It is important to remember that there is  no such thing as ‘100% secure but understanding where to channel your resorces puts you in a good position to minimise your exposure.

1. Identity and Access Management

Identity and access management answers the question of who is using what device and the prove that you are a recognised and authorized entity to access a network or service. This is one area of first  concern and one security hole every small business should cover. And this concern has grown with the issue of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) due to the hybrid nature of post-covid-19 work environment.

In as much as there are enterprise-level solutions to tackle this, the challenge for small business is in the cost. So, for effective cyber identity management, small businesses need to do develop a simple cyber security policy that emphasise the following;

  •  Enforcing strong, unique passwords for all business-critical applications and accounts.
  • Employ the power of password management and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  • Applying the principle of least privilege, – which simply means ensuring that access to any resource  and systems are available only to those who need them per time.

A clear challenge for the small business environment as regards identity and authentication, especially in implementing the principle of least privilege, is that some employees were many caps at same time and might need access to resources across boundaries. So there is always the need to place security and convenience on a scale. I can say tilting towards the security sight of the balance is never a wrong move.

2. Phishing Email 

Phishing emails are the most prevalent cyber attacks that target small businesses and individuals. Phishing the act of attempting  to steal personal information or break in to online accounts using scam or deceptive  emails, messages, ads, or sites that look similar to sites you are used to. These emails do contain attachments or links which the sender prompts  the receive to click on.

The  email system of a business is an open entrance  door that accepts virtually any message sent to a valid email address. This makes phishing email a viable cyber attacker vector.

 The most vulnerable contact are your employees. Therefore, to prevent or checkmate the the possibility of being as victim, cyber awareness training should be prioritised and every employee encouraged to under the training. 

Another way to mitigate phishing attack is by implementing email filtering. Email filtering tends to scan every email based on defined rules.

3. Remote Desktop 

The nature of the post- pandemic workplace, where employees are permitted to work Frome remote locations, has given rise to an increased use of remote desktop protocol , RDP. This posseses a risk, becaue if hackers manage to identify open ports on your network by using penetration testing tools, and brute force password hack. And if they get access, it can lead to a complete takeover of your IT system.

In order to mitigate this risk and reduce the cnaces of an attacker getting access,  your Remote desktop should only be accessed via a virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN helps to create a  distance between business-critical segment of your network and employees personal systems.

4. Software Patch management

Software patching is the most urgent cyber security crack that needs to be urgently plugged by most small businesses. A software patch or  is a quick-repair job for a piece of software designed to resolve functionality issues, improve security or add new features. It is fix for bugs discovered in a software.

Software patches generally fall into three basic categories. These are bug fixes, security patches and feature patches. The Security patches address known security vulnerabilities, making the software more secure. A security patch is very important because it addresses known vulnerabilities.

When a software creator releases a security update,  it alerts the hacker groups that a there is vulnerability in that software and this will motivate hackers to look for a way to exploit the known vulnerability. So, any copy of the software that remains unpatched can be exloited.. The sooner an organization installs the security patch, the more quickly it can protect itself against the associated vulnerability.

Software patching is only as effective as the number of users who regularly update their operating systems and software. Small businesses need to get into the routine of  updating their software. This can be automated by employing patch management tools which regularly alerts you of vulnerabilities and available updates.

5. Untrusted applications 

A good IT security policy provides for the need to put every application being deployed through a deep security review. But most small businesses often do not have the resources to go through this process and this can lead to dangerous applications being let loose on the company’s network. This is made more dificult with the age of BYOD (bring your own device), where employees could unknowingly download apps laced with malicious loaders that pull malware down to the device after installation.

In order to plug the security hole effect of untrusted apps, security software should be  a must for every smartphone and tablet that is  used in a small business setting. Proactive malware protection is critical to ensuring your employees and data are protected from cyber threat and attacks.

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