protect from hacker

Is Your Business in the Crosshairs of a Hacker?

Every business is vulnerable to an attack. But, some are more vulnerable than others.

How can you know if your business is at risk?

Well, like many disasters, hacking is unpredictable but unsurprising. Put another way: there are warning signs.

In the same way that a drought correlates to a higher risk of a wildfire, there are certain factors that signal the increased likelihood of a hack. They don’t always correlate to the event with exact certainty, but they are useful in measuring the probability that a hack will occur.

With that in mind, here are a few warning signs that your business may be in the crosshairs of a hacker.

 

1. Your business has access to sensitive data

This is one of the most influential factors correlated to hacking because the value of the data you hold is often the motivating factor behind a cyber attack. Anecdotally, many of the more newsworthy hacks are the direct result of hackers seeking access to sensitive data; consider Equifax or Target.

If you’re in an industry with access to highly sensitive data (read: health or finance), you’re at a higher risk. Experts know this; that’s obviously part of the rationale behind regulations like HIPAA.

Experts affirm that PHI is incredibly valuable because it can be used to commit many types of fraud, not the least of which include identity and insurance perpetrations.

And, much of the time, it’s the small-to-medium-sized organizations that make the easiest targets for hackers seeking health data. That’s because those are the businesses more likely to be running out of date software. They’re the organizations with looser security measures in place, and that means they can often be sitting ducks.

 

2. You haven’t updated your systems

Along those lines: another surefire sign that your business is exposed for a hack is that you haven’t updated your systems in recent memory.

Many of the strategies hackers employ are based on the expectation that businesses are using outdated software.

Here’s what happens: as software sits out on the market year after year, security vulnerabilities begin to come to light. Sometimes, good guys trying to stay ahead of potential crimes are the ones to point out the vulnerabilities; other times, bad guys get there first.

Either way, a laundry list of security flaws begins to build up. If providers are still supporting the software, they’ll issue updates patching those flaws. Then, it’s on users of the software to install those updates and protect against those flaws.

But, hackers count on the fact that those updates won’t get installed right away. They build attacks that capitalize on well-known vulnerabilities. All too often, those attacks work.

The situation is akin to a bank leaving bags of money on the sidewalk. Sure, most people won’t steal. But the longer the money sits outside, the more people will know it’s there – and the higher the chances that one of those people will take advantage of the bank’s neglect.

Lock the money up, and update your systems as frequently as possible.

 

3. You have a system with many users

Finally, a third sign that your business may be in the crosshairs of a hacker: your systems have many users.

User error is something that keeps IT teams up at night. There’s simply not a foolproof way to account for the actions of human beings, and the risk is compounded with each user that a system adds.

If you operate a healthcare facility with multiple offices, have an off-site team logging on to your network, or simply have a number of employees who need access to your system, your risk of a hack is notably increased. There are more doors for hackers to enter, more possibilities for negligence, and more opportunities for rash people to click on inviting-but-unfortunate spam email links.

 

How Can You Negate the Risk?

If you’re reading the warning signs and realizing there is a high risk of your business being hacked, what can you do?

Some of these, after all, are non-negotiable factors. And even the factors that can be more directly counteracted, like outdated software, aren’t exactly easily negated. If you had the bandwidth to stay on top of every update, you would.

That’s where managed IT teams come in.

At Swift Systems, we’re honored to partner with growing businesses to help them greatly reduce their risks of cyber attacks. We work alongside internal IT teams to give them the support they need, and our experts in cybersecurity can minimize the factors that are likely to lead to a hack.

Don’t ignore the warning signs any longer.

Get out of the crosshairs. Get in touch with us.