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A cyber security attack can be one of the most detrimental things any business will face. From major corporations to small or family businesses, the impact of a breach can be catastrophic, and no business is immune.

When it comes to protection, business owners can do things to reduce the likelihood of an attack and reduce the severity of one if it happens. Here’s what to know about cyber-attacks, protecting the business, and addressing an attack.

What Is a Cyber-Attack?

A cyber-attack is an attempt to gain illegal access to a computer or computer systems—devices, hardware, software, and web applications—to cause damage or harm.

One type of cyber-attack is called a phishing scam. A phishing scam is when hackers gain access to devices by deploying electronic message scams. If the hacker is successful, they can obtain passwords, access data, steal information, and even lock business owners out of accounts.

What Kinds of Businesses Do Hackers Target?

Although large breaches make the headlines, the most frequent threat is to small and medium-sized businesses. Research conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that:

  • Almost 50 percent of small businesses have experienced a cyber-attack
  • More than 70 percent of attacks target small businesses

Among small businesses, innovative and rising market leaders are most vulnerable. Why? Innovative small companies tend to use more technology, which means more possible entry points for hackers to attack and gain ground. For market leaders, even if they’re small, their visibility is high. Their high-visibility makes them sought after for cyber-attacks because of the clout that a hacker gains from taking them down.

The hacker might not know anything about the business they are targeting. They are interested in targeting any company with valuable data—user information, propriety information, and financial information.

How Do I Protect My Business from An Attack?

The first step to protecting the business is to understand the risk. Researchers have found that a company’s lack of awareness about their cyber risks leads to complacency towards being proactive in managing the risk—particularly among small and mid-sized businesses. After the company completely understands its risk, a plan should be developed to protect the business. That plan should include:

  • Regular Updates: Most successful cyber-attacks are successful when devices aren’t up to date with the latest software. Make sure the entire organization is regularly updating devices. Regular updates will not only keep the devices running at maximum efficiency, but it will also make sure all the latest security measures are automatically uploaded.
  • Employee Education: Employee education can be a great first line of defense since many cyber-attacks target individual employee accounts to gain access to larger systems.

What To Do If the Business Gets Attacked?

IF the business falls victim to a cyber-attack, acting immediately is the best thing to do. Each minute that passes allows the hacker to do more damage. However, for the business to act immediately, the business needs an action plan. That action should include the following steps:

  • Assess all of the company’s cyber assets (like servers) to see what was affected.
    • Once the damage can be pinpointed, report the attack to authorities.
  • Brief company teams on the attack, so everyone knows the situation. Briefing the team creates awareness and can help the team spot more attacks before they cause further damage to the organization.
  • Alert any other parties that the attack may have affected, such as your clients, and proceed with data restoration procedures

How Do I Recover from An Attack?

Recovering from a cyber-attack can be a quick process if the proper measures are in place. Running a redundant system separately from the company’s live system and backups are a couple of the best tools to recover from a cyber-attack quickly. These systems and processes reduce downtime and will allow the business to access most of, if not all, the information that may have been lost during the attack.

Next Steps

Awareness and planning are the best defenses when comes to cybersecurity. Contact us to meet with one of cybersecurity experts.