Cybersecurity has been a serious concern for businesses and consumers alike for many years, but this year, it's more important than ever. Small businesses need to be increasingly vigilant in keeping their data safe and out of the hands of criminals. Here are just a few of the factors that play into this new, riskier digital world.

1. Small Businesses Are Dealing With Many Challenges

The past couple of years have been extremely challenging for businesses. The pandemic was the main catalyst for many challenges, and companies have faced tricky remote work logistics, hiring challenges, supply chain issues and inflation, making “business as usual” very hard to achieve. The headaches that come with compromised cybersecurity can exacerbate problems already facing small business owners.

2. Remote Work is Here to Stay

Remote work was already on the rise ahead of the pandemic, but once COVID hit, it became necessary for many companies. Even though the state of the pandemic has improved, many workers have expressed their desire for this type of work environment, and employers have had to go further in this direction to keep or attract key talent. Regardless of the positives and negatives that come with Work From Home (WFH), it has presented real security challenges involving an increased number of personal devices and potentially unsecured networks.

3. Inflation Means Customers May Be Buying Less

Inflation isn't just hitting businesses hard. Consumers are also feeling the pinch, and that means many are being more frugal and spending less. Businesses can't afford to let anything happen to dissuade potential paying customers from buying. A lack of strong security resulting in a well-publicized data breach is a sure way to discourage future business. Customers need to know that their personal information is safe.

4. There Is More Mistrust Than Ever

On top of consumers' financial woes, there has been an increase in mistrust for businesses among Americans in recent years. A Ford Motor Company study found that 77 percent of Americans polled reported a growing mistrust of brands, with 67 percent of adults saying that once a brand loses trust, there's no gaining it back.1 Security issues are certainly one way to lose a consumer’s trust when it comes to their data being compromised.

5. Threats Are Constantly Evolving

Security threats evolve all the time because the criminals who perpetrate them are always looking for new ways to get their hands on sensitive information. They come up with creative methods to pull off scams and take advantage of people and businesses who don’t stay alert.

"Change brings opportunity," says Vasu Jakkal, Corporate Vice President, Security, Compliance, Identity, and Management at Microsoft Security.2 "Exciting technology advances have supported a remote workforce and enabled organizations to remain productive in a changing environment. Unfortunately, increasingly complex digital environments have given cybercriminals new vulnerabilities to exploit."

How to Improve Your Cybersecurity

To make your business more secure and help protect against cyber threats, ensure that your employees understand the dangers and how they can do their part to prevent them. Talk to them about common threats and scams. Have defined protocols and policies in place. Conduct security-focused training sessions. Set up a secure VPN (virtual private network) for remote access.

"Offer remote employees guidance over the phone to help them improve the passwords on their Wi-Fi routers," suggests Joshira Maduro at Bplans.3 "Make sure they understand that they must only use secured Wi-Fi networks to do company business. With attackers looking for opportunities to take advantage of remote work arrangements and online transactions, companies need to ensure they are being more proactive than unusual to avoid problems and maintain their customers’ trust."

Cybercrime may be evolving and threats are as great as ever, but business owners who take these threats seriously and use the proper precautions can help prevent them from interfering with their businesses and keep their customers’ information out of harm's way.

Click here to find out how products and services from Nevada State Bank can help keep your valuable data safer. 

1. https://media.ford.com/content/dam/fordmedia/North%20America/US/2019/12/11/2020-Ford-Trends.pdf

2. https://www.microsoft.com/security/blog/2022/02/09/cybersecurity-threats-are-always-changing-staying-on-top-of-them-is-vital-getting-ahead-of-them-is-paramount/

3. https://articles.bplans.com/cyber-security-importance/

 

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank. Nevada State Bank is a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC