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Why Phishing Is a Devastating Cyber Threat to Small Businesses

The topic of phishing pops up so much that it can easily be dismissed as an overhyped threat. One thing’s for sure: Phishing is more than just a hot buzzword. It can cripple your organization, especially when there’s a lack of awareness of its seriousness, what it involves, and how to prevent it.

What Is Phishing?

Phishing is a cyberattack that involves tricking people into providing sensitive information using email, text, phone calls, and fake websites. It is the most widespread and dangerous threat to small businesses, especially since the rise of remote work arrangements. Each remote worker is a new target for a phishing assault.

Even though phishers often go after the big fish, smaller businesses are just as lucrative. It’s also easy for phishers to target thousands of devices simultaneously, which minimizes the time they have to invest in each attack while maximizing the danger for victims.

Because phishing is so easy, cheap, and prevalent, it poses a significant danger to small businesses. To ensure that your business is safe, it’s best to perform a vulnerability assessment and use the results to improve your security posture.

What Are the Effects of Phishing on a Small Business?

Because small businesses may not have the emergency funds or insurance policies to cover the damage that comes from an attack, they may be even more vulnerable to phishing than a larger organization.

Reputational Damage

Reputation damage is one of the most severe effects, especially if the attack compromises customer data — or even funds. As news of a phishing attack ripples through your industry, the media, and the blogosphere, confidence in your business may shrink to damaging lows.

Business Interruption

Phishing attacks often result in business interruptions, particularly when the attacker uses the credentials they steal to compromise core systems. For instance, if a hacker tricks an employee into divulging their access credentials to the company’s web server, they can shut down all internet-based businesses.

Payment of Data Breach Fines

In several industries, having data stolen can result in significant fines. This is especially true when it comes to the healthcare and financial industries. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), for instance, empowers the government to fine companies if sensitive patient data falls into the wrong hands.

Loss of Customers and Revenue

If a customer’s data gets stolen, they may end their relationship with your business for fear that their information may fall under attack again in the future. This inevitably leads to reduced revenue. Even if your customers don’t have their information compromised, the reputational damage can often cascade into reduced revenue as people refuse to do business with your company.

How to Protect Against Phishing

You can help defend your small business against phishing attacks by doing these five things:

1. Set Up a Security Plan

By using managed IT and security advisory services, you can put the protection of your company in the hands of experienced professionals. This can include services such as:

2. Get Cyber Liability Coverage

Cyber insurance can cover the costs associated with the fallout of a phishing attack. This includes the damage to your network and endpoints, the cost of data recovery, the expenses associated with paying a ransom after a ransomware attack, and more.

3. Update Your Software, Browser, and Operating System

By updating your systems and software, you ensure that you have the latest protections — specifically designed by the manufacturers to prevent cyberattacks, including phishing.

4. Teach Your Staff How to Spot Phishing

If you are not educating your staff on the risks of phishing, you are putting your business in jeopardy. Best practices are to provide continuous training opportunities for employees to not only learn how to spot phishing attempts but know what to do when they come across one.

5. Enable Stronger Email Security

While many businesses only use the basic Microsoft 365 security, there are additional ways to layer security within your employees’ inboxes. With Managed Inbox Detection and Response, users are able to submit suspicious looking emails for analysis, which helps users make better cyber decisions.

TPx provides you with comprehensive protection of your network, as well as security assessments you can use to govern how vulnerable you are to phishing attacks. With TPx, you can get on the offensive against phishing hackers and protect your systems and operations. Discover how by reaching out to TPx today.

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