Large companies make headlines when they’re attacked by hackers, but small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) are becoming more common targets of cyber attacks. Symantec reports that businesses with less than 250 employees were the target in 43 percent of all cyber attacks in 2015. Consequently, the House Committee on Small Business has made IT security for small businesses a top priority.
Traditional issues such as failing to change passwords, clicking on unknown links and opening suspicious emails still account for many successful attacks. However, new exploits based on the latest trends in IT security will also challenge SMBs in 2017. These trends include the proliferation of mobile devices, the Internet of Things (IoT), ransomware and third-party security.
1. Mobile devices will proliferate
The increasing number of people who use a mobile device as their primary means of accessing the Internet is currently one of the most significant technological trends. While these devices provide users with unprecedented freedom, they also complicate IT security for SMBs. Enterprises routinely implement platforms to manage mobile devices, and SMBs will need to follow suit if they are to mitigate the risks associated with these devices. Mobile devices are easy to lose, which can place sensitive information in the hands of an unauthorized person. This compromise of information may be merely inconvenient in some cases, but it’s much more serious in some business sectors such as health and finance.
2. The Internet of Things will expand
Many security experts view IoT devices like appliances, cameras and fitness monitors as a security breach waiting to happen. These devices dramatically increase the avenues, or attack vectors, that hackers can exploit to penetrate an organization’s infrastructure. The use of door locks that users can remotely control through the internet poses a particular risk, since it could grant a hacker physical access to a controlled area. A major security breach through an IoT device may well occur in 2017.
3. Ransomware will become more common
Ransomware is a type of malware that compromises the host system’s performance in some way. It also provides instructions for removing it, which generally involves sending money to its creator. Hackers have been using ransomware on personal computers for some time, but they will begin targeting SMBs in 2017. Businesses are typically willing to pay a larger ransom than an individual in exchange for the restoration of IT services, making them a more attractive target. Furthermore, SMBs are less likely to have the expertise needed to secure their IT infrastructure.
4. Third-party security will become a problem
The current trend towards IT outsourcing will continue in 2017, creating additional security challenges. Businesses can train their in-house staff in strong security practices relatively cheaply, but it’s more expensive to provide such training to a freelance worker. Furthermore, a client organization that requires its freelancers to carry security insurance will inevitably pay for the premium in some way. Enforcing security practices for freelancers without violating labor laws can also be difficult.
CSCi is based in San Diego and supports small businesses by providing outsourced IT services. We can help you save on the upfront costs of supporting infrastructure and allow you to conserve your manpower for your core business. Contact us today for a free assessment of your IT needs.