Why are small businesses so vulnerable to opportunistic attacks?

Small business today is in a very precarious position.   They now have the ability and capability to inject themselves into any conversation, especially any conversation that involves their expertise or product.   This is something that has never been available before in the business world.

A small business can now play with the big guys, in the fortune 500 companies space, and they can play on a similar or the same playing field.   The larger companies have the money and clout to change the way people think but a clever and savvy small business can do the same.

This is all well and good but one of the problems is that they are more open to opportunistic cyber attacks.   The moment a small business goes on line to promote their business and product they are automatically a target.    Anominity, usually the main stay of small business security, is no longer a deterrent.

In fact small business utilization of a Microsoft, word press or android products means that you are a relatively easy target, once they find you.   One of the problems is that they are not normally looking for you, they are looking for the easiest way in.

As a small business, your social media engagement and marketing has shown you to be more involved in the “conversation”.   This now means that you have to tighten your cyber security stance within your business.

Here I am not talking about an increase in spending although there will be a reason to spend money on these components of your business security, what I am talking is an increase in awareness and an improved capability to do what you need to do.   You have to seriously look at the following:

End point protection – so anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-malware needs to be bought to the fore of your thinking so that when you are researching and surfing the www for your articles, blog posts and comments that you are not going to get your system infected.

Intellectual property protection – if your business is based on an idea that has changed your business landscape you need to ensure that it does not get out.   The main problem is that once IP has escaped, then engineering and competition can replicate it.   First to market will only protect your IP for a limited time.    Make sure that your posts do not include or hint at your “secret sauce”.

Create a check list – this is more for your thought processes than as a protective measure.   A check list will standardize your posts but it will also ensure that you are not exposing your IP to the outside world.

Protect your own information – be very careful concerning your information.   Do not fill in web forms that ask too much information, especially at the beginning.    If you are signing up to a web site or want people to sign up, you have to build trust.   This can only be achieved over time.

Most of all use common sense, if it’s too good to be true – it is, if it does not make sense – then your instinct is correct, if they want your money – just be careful.

Opportunistic cyber attacks on small business are going to increase, just make sure you are not one of the statistics.  Protect yourself as much as possible without spending large amounts of money BUT protect yourself non the less.

Roger Smith, is an educator. Teaching students at ADFA (UNSW) and showing them how vulnerable they are to cybercrime.

He is also CEO at R & I ICT Consulting Services Pty Ltd, an Amazon #1 author on Cybercrime and founder of the SME Security Framework. He is a Consultant who specialises in inexpensive and highly effective security strategies for small and medium businesses and not for profit organisations.

He has developed and authored the SME Security Framework and the Security Policy Training Course which are considered to be the definitive guides to helping SME's protect their organisation using the principles of Technology, Management, Adaptability and Compliance.