According to research by Hiscox in 2019, small businesses lose an average of $9,000 per data breach incident. This is a valuable resource that could be used in progressing your organization.
Unfortunately, many small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and startups don’t think about safeguarding their data until after a breach or attack has occurred, which puts the organization in great financial jeopardy.
Protecting data is a challenge for businesses in the startup phase because of limited resources, untrained staff, and no proper security policy in place.
We’ve listed down top reasons why hackers take advantage of these firms and how they can mitigate security and software vulnerabilities.
Why Hackers Target Small Businesses and Startups
Malicious agents take advantage of weaknesses they find in systems, no matter the size of an organization. Sadly, small businesses are more vulnerable to such attacks because of unpreparedness, lack of awareness, and lack of security.
Here are other reasons why hackers target SMBs and startups:
Every company, from the biggest enterprise down to the smallest startup, often handles and stores sensitive customer data, such as personal and financial information, social security numbers, and even transaction history. This is a goldmine for hackers who intend to steal, exploit, or even sell this information.
Startups are often known for their innovative ideas for their products and services, making them an easy target for malicious agents. When these creative plans and valuable research data are stolen, they could be easily sold to outside parties, risking the success of the organization.
Hackers tend to target startups and small businesses because they sometimes work with larger enterprises as third-party vendors and can serve as entry points into those bigger, more valuable networks.
One example of this incident is the infamous credit card breach of Target that occurred in 2013. This attack happened due to vulnerabilities in a third-party vendor’s system.
Another cause of the increased attacks in small businesses is the rising use of IoT or the Internet of Things devices, which expand the attack surface of networks. SMBs often turn to IoT devices due to their growing capabilities and more affordable costs.
Unfortunately, these poorly secured devices are often exploited by malicious agents as a backdoor to access broader, more sensitive networks and systems.
Small businesses and startups usually work on a tight and limited budget. Oftentimes, they don’t place security on top of their priorities list and neglect the latest patches and updates of the software that they are using.
Not only that, these insufficient finances make it difficult for SMBs to employ staff dedicated to monitoring and addressing breaches and attacks promptly.
How Small Businesses Can Mitigate Software Vulnerabilities
Businesses of all sizes have the right to a secure and safe network. That’s why small businesses and startups must mitigate software vulnerabilities to protect their valuable assets early on.
Here are effective software vulnerability mitigation strategies that won’t bankrupt small organizations:
Prepare a Data Security Plan
It’s important for your organization to carefully decide on key users who could access certain data and develop strict policies to guard this network access. No one in your company must have more access than actually necessary. The more limited users, the easier it is to track as well.
If workers are bringing their devices to work, ensure those devices are using the most updated protection possible.
Identify Security Requirements
Every business uses different software, whether it’s for internal use or for the product and service they put out in the market. Hence, SMBs and startups need to ensure that the investment they make into the development of the software is worth it.
A way to guarantee this is by making sure security requirements are defined from the beginning of the software development. These security requirements must be applied and observed and must include business objectives, policies, risk management schemes, and relevant laws and regulations.
Verify Third-Party Software
Third-party software is much more cost-efficient, so it makes sense for small businesses to use them. However, unverified software from unknown vendors often serves as a gateway for potential vulnerabilities.
Since it’s impractical for organizations on a tight budget to eliminate the usage of third-party components, just make sure you only use those with Code Signing Certificates to ensure its authenticity and trustworthiness.
Reuse Existing Software
Reusing existing and well-secured components can lower the cost as well as expedite software development. Doing this can also decrease the chances of introducing new security vulnerabilities in the software.
Partner with a Trusted Software Development Vendor
Hiring a software development vendor may sound daunting and expensive, but it’s not the case. An experienced vendor has a team of well-trained experts, so you won’t have to onboard and train them yourself. This saves you valuable resources such as time and money.
Your software development partner would also serve as an extension of your business. It’s part of their responsibility to advise you on points that would benefit your products, software, and company. The support that these trusted vendors could give your firm, from start to finish, can prove invaluable in the long run.