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Protecting Your Business from Cyber Attacks

October 23rd, 2023 by

From Amazon to eBay, Uber to DropBox, companies worldwide have become the victims of cyber attacks. While your company may not be as large, protecting your business from such threats is very important. 

Common Cyber Attacks for Small Businesses

You may think “But, we’re such a small business, who would attack us?” but any transaction, email, or log-in via your business’ devices can pose a threat to security. Keep an eye out for these common threats as you strive to protect your livelihood.


One style of cyber attack can come in the form of “phishing.” This is typically when a hacker will “fish” for your personal information. This may be leading to a second type of cyber attack, or they may just want to create accounts in your name. Some of these hackers are seeking to use your data (such as a social security number, address, full birth name, and date of birth) to open accounts in your name. They may hit up friends or family to get money sent to them.

Phishing can be a style of attack much like the “old school” identity theft crimes. Hackers seek your personal information to use it in malicious ways. Other times, those “phishing” are seeking to move on to another form of cyber attack.


Another unfortunate type of cyber attack is called “malware.” In this case, a hacker may add malicious software or a virus to your systems. These may be held for ransom (we’ll get to that in a moment) or aim to simply wreak havoc in your business. These programs can range from a simple annoyance to a total shutdown of all technology. While the goals vary greatly, the overarching theme is to cause problems for you and your small business. 


A type of cyber attack that may fall under malware at times is called “ransomware.” As the name implies, the hacker in this case is attempting to gain access to your data or programs to hold them for ransom. Just like a kidnapping in the movies, these hackers will often reply soon after blocking your access to information, asking for some type of money or value. In return, they claim they will return your operations to you. 


One of the more familiar types of malware or cyber attack is a “virus.” Likely the best known of the attacks, this is a glitch that may come in via an email, a social media DM, or a shared device. Viruses can vary greatly in intent, but aim to disrupt business in any way possible. These are the most common of the attacks, as they are easily slipped into the system by unknowing business owners or employees.


Another unfortunately common cyber attack comes in the form of “spyware.” In these cases, some type of program comes into your network allowing access to your information, actions, or data stored either online or on a private network. This attack is designed to obtain information you may think is safe and secure.

Some data hackers aim for may include private customer data (credit card numbers, phone numbers, names, addresses, etc.) or your internal “business secrets.” They may be trying to get your customer or client data, or yours directly, to harm them in some way. They may also simply ignore data if they are seeking to understand processes or internal practices that your business specializes in, especially if it is rare or unique.

How to Protect Your Small Business from Cyber Attacks

The first thing to do in protecting your small business is to acknowledge that you need protection. No matter your business type or size, you need to understand that hackers are possible. And, much like all unfortunate incidents, no one thinks it will happen to them until it is too late.

Update Your Technology

The Federal Trade Commission offers several tips on protecting your small business and its technology. First, update the software often. From the protective anti-virus programs to your required passwords, updating all information on a regular basis is crucial. If you lack an IT department or even a single IT staffer, be sure to keep a calendar for yourself to remember to update all programs (and instruct your employees to do the same.)

Strong Passwords

Another important factor is to require passwords and make them strong. Chances are you (and/or your employees) are using a “keychain” on their devices. These programs hold all passwords in a device, and can make for easy hacking targets if minimally protected. Require your staff to create, maintain, and update their passwords often.

This same rule applies to you! Be sure your technology is protected with wifi passwords, too. Do not allow customers to use the same network you use for business. Once on your network, hackers can easily access your private files. If you must have free WiFi for visitors, be sure they have a separate network, not tied to your business interactions.

Train Yourself and Your Employees

The best protection you can provide for your small business is to be aware. Starting with blogs like this, a basic understanding of what COULD happen is an excellent first step. Be sure your employees are as updated as you are on new processes, threats, or attacks.

Be sure all employees also know the basic signs of cyber attacks. No staffer should click on links in an email or social media DM, especially from persons they are not familiar with at all. Be sure they know even common partners’ emails can be spoofed or copied in order to make you feel safe and open the attachments, click on the link, or allow access to a foreign device.

Continue your personal education with organizations like the Small Business Administration (SBA) and its tips for protection.

Protect Your Small Business with Cyber Insurance

One of the best ways to be sure you are protected is to insure your small business. While you may be ready for accidents or weather events impacting your business, be sure you’ve also considered attacks of a cyber nature.

Cyber Insurance for small businesses can be a great way to be sure you are covered in the event of such attacks. Ideally, you will prevent any mishaps, but when major, worldwide companies with full, and educated, IT departments are still finding themselves victims of these threats, it can be nearly impossible to cover all bases. 

When you operate a small business, you know just how hard it is to wear so many hats. You have to juggle so many aspects on your own. It is OK to offload some of those duties! Let me help you find the protection level that makes sense to keep your small business safe from cyber-attacks.

Reach out at any time to make an appointment, and I can work with you directly to get you a policy to keep your hard work, blood, sweat, and tears (aka your small business) protected.

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