Dubai: Millions of very small businesses with fewer than 20 employees, ranging from dentist offices, financial advisors, independent legal counselors, IT consulting firms, and other companies are focused on their core competency and win by that. At the same time many of them can neglect the security of their IT equipment and put their customers, and the future of their business, at risk.
A survey conducted by
The results of security oversights for very small businesses can be devastating, and small businesses that provide financial services and healthcare services are among the most highly targeted by cybercriminals. In both sectors, customers trust these businesses with a great deal of sensitive information — medical records, payment and bank details, or other confidential information. For financial and healthcare service providers, the consequences of such attacks are plentiful, including damage to their business reputations and the loss of angry or worried customers, along with computer network downtime that cripples their ability to function. Small businesses in these sectors also must worry about potential legal action and costly fines if the result of the data breach violated any government and industry regulations.
Financial Services Industry Under Siege
Cyber crime has become the second most frequent type of economic crime being experienced by financial services companies, after asset misappropriation, according to
For any growing company, successfully earning the account of a well-known business is a milestone in its growth. For small financial service providers, managing the taxes of a local grocery store or helping process payroll for local charities is a sign of growth, and many will list their clients on their websites. But for cybercriminals, this can be an opportunity to attack the smaller business as a way to gain access to the larger clients.
The Value of Healthcare Providers to Cybercriminals
As if financial records aren't sensitive enough, there are few things more sensitive than the healthcare records often stored by small dentist offices, physical therapists, and other independent healthcare providers. An IT security breach in these organizations will not just compromise patient data, but will also undoubtedly damage the trust of any patients.
Cybercriminals have a clear interest in targeting healthcare organizations. A 2012 study released by the
While small healthcare service providers may not have to deal with the volume of patient information found in larger hospitals, the changing nature of patient health records means they aren't immune to the threat. Healthcare records have become increasingly electronic, and these records can easily make their way onto laptops and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This means that in addition to a flood of sophisticated malware targeting their computers, very small businesses must also take great care to ensure any portable computers and mobile devices containing patient medical records don't fall victim to physical theft.
Small businesses of all types, particularly healthcare and financial service providers, must have awareness of the different types of data that include customers' personally identifiable information (i.e name, addresses, cell phone numbers, etc.); personal health information; customer information (such as credit card numbers and verification codes, billing and shipping addresses, purchasing history, shopping behavior, etc.).
For small healthcare and financial service providers
Also, data encryption is a vital component of maintaining the security of sensitive data. Encryption is not only a key technology for any mobile devices, but it should also be used on desktop and laptop PCs, as well as any file servers. Very small businesses can find straight-forward encryption technology in security solutions like Kaspersky Small Office Security that makes it easy to render sensitive data inaccessible to cybercriminals. Also, properly encrypted data will ensure protection from accidental deletion and unauthorized employee access as well. In fact, most financial and healthcare service providers will find that data encryption is required by law.
As with any business, the foundation of IT security begins with up-to-the-minute antimalware protection and proactive detection tools that can be found in Kaspersky Small Office Security. Another easy way to bolster security is to instill strong password discipline amongst employees. An effective way to enforce good password habits is to use a password manager which stores all employee passwords in encrypted vaults, so employees just have to remember a single "master password."
Small businesses of all types continue to be prime target for cybercriminals, and the more valuable data these businesses hold, the bigger the target they become. A single oversight by the business owner or a bad decision by an employee can allow a breach that can drive most small businesses into ruin, and with so much valuable data to steal, it stands to reason that cybercriminals, like all predators, will continue to attack targets they believe are the weakest to withstand them.
Most Popular Stories
- Koch Brothers Step up Anti-Obamacare Campaign
- FDIC Accuses Big Banks of Fraud, Conspiracy
- Is Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 in Andaman Sea?
- Vybz Kartel Convicted of Murder
- Stocks Close Lower Ahead of Crimea Vote
- FDIC Sues Big Banks Over Rate Manipulation
- Ulta Shares Look Good on Strong Q4
- Jittery Investors Dumping Russian Stocks
- U.S. Consumer Sentiment Falls in Early March
- JLo Turns the Tables in New Vid: 'I Luh Ya Papi'