5 Biggest Mistakes Small Businesses Make that Lead to a Data Breach

5 Biggest Mistakes Small Businesses Make that Lead to a Data Breach

There are tons of cyber criminals out there that don’t know a single line of code. They don’t have to because they rely on the mistakes of others to give them access to a system.

They’re out there lurking and just waiting to find an unprotected cloud account or have a user click on one of their phishing emails and then log into their fake web form. They know that there are plenty of companies that haven’t applied the latest Windows security patch and are just sitting ducks for a ransomware package they bought on the Dark Web.

These “hackers” don’t need to know code to breach an account because they’re handed over the keys through user mistakes. 

Human error is one of the biggest threats to company cybersecurity, especially for small businesses. Smaller companies often make the mistake of thinking they’re too small for hackers to worry about, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Every company, no matter the size, has something of value an attacker can turn into some fast cash (employee payroll details, customer records, company tax ID, etc.)

According to the latest Sophos Threat Report, it was a basic lack of good cyber hygiene that was responsible for many of the most devastating attacks it has seen

Is your small business making big mistakes that leave you at a higher risk of a data breach or ransomware infection?

Here are the biggest mistakes made by small businesses that you should avoid.

They Don’t Use Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is such a simple thing to enact that packs a lot of cybersecurity power.

Adding another authentication method to your cloud user accounts can protect them from as many as 100% of all fraudulent sign-in attempts, even if the hacker has the user’s password. 

Yet many small businesses don’t use this important account protection.

They Have Too Many Admin Accounts

Approximately 80% of data breaches are traced back to compromised privileged credentials. Privileged credentials are those administrative accounts that have more permissions in a SaaS tool than other user accounts.

This can include being able to add and remove users, change security settings, and access payment details.

The more privileged accounts you have, the higher your risk of a more severe breach should one of those accounts be compromised.

A big mistake many small businesses make is making too many employees an “admin” just in case they might need to do something at some point. A best practice is to give employees the lowest level of access needed for their daily tasks and have as few privileged accounts as possible.

They Don’t Have Automated Updates & Patches in Place

Many cyberattacks are successful because a company didn’t apply a security patch to the software or operating system of a computer on their network. Once a hacker breaches one computer, they can easily attack others that are connected through a Wi-Fi or cloud app.

Small businesses that don’t put managed updates and patches in place can end up victims of an attack that was completely avoidable. Some attackers will be able to continue breaching systems through a flaw that was patched over a year prior because the company didn’t have any system in place to ensure updates were applied regularly.

They Leave Cloud App Security Settings at Defaults

Misconfiguration is when a cloud application has security levels that are too low and leave open vulnerabilities. When you first sign up with a cloud software provider, your default account won’t automatically have all the security settings where you need them.

You need to have an IT professional help you configure your cloud security settings to ensure your data and user accounts are properly protected.

Many small businesses never pay attention to the settings and just assume they’re “okay” as is. This leaves them vulnerable to an account takeover and data loss.

They Never Test Backup Restoration

For those small businesses that do have a full backup of their data, as they should, one mistake they make is never testing that backup.

Backup is only one part of the equation. If you can’t recover that data backup in a timely manner and recover it completely, you’re in trouble.

There have even been large enterprise companies that have paid a ransom of millions of dollars to ransomware attackers because they never tested their backup and didn’t know how long it would take to restore. In this case, the backup didn’t help them.

It’s important to test the recovery portion of any backup and recovery strategy to ensure all your data can be restored, and so you understand how long recovery will take before a crisis occurs. 

Schedule a Cybersecurity Audit Today!

Don’t let a simple mistake cause a costly data breach for your company. Quantum PC Services can help your Sturgeon Bay business uncover and address any potential vulnerabilities. 

Contact us today to learn more! Call 920-256-1214 or reach us online.