Small Business Security Risks You May Not Know About & How to Prevent Them

Note: This article was filed by a paid contributor to Xerox Corporation.

As a small business owner, you should be aware that cybersecurity is a problem—and not just for larger corporations who tend to make the headlines for it. In fact, 43% of all cyber attacks that occurred in 2015 targeted small businesses. A survey done by Keeper Security and Ponemon Institute found equally as shocking proof of this when they reported that half of all small businesses in 2016 had experienced a security breach within the past year.

With odds like those, are you willing to gamble on your small business’s chances of not experiencing a cyber attack or, consequently, surviving one if it does happen?

In today’s day and age, you can never be too careful. As big data has provided an incredible opportunity for companies of all sizes to conduct business on a larger and more even playing field, it has also increased those companies’ security risks. Rather than talk about the obvious security risks your business may face (since they are well-publicized), let’s talk a look into some of the lesser-known risks hiding in plain sight and what you can do about them.


4 Lesser-Known Security Risks and What Your Small Business Needs to Do About Them

Let’s face it: small businesses just aren’t in the same position as larger companies when it comes to dealing with or even surviving a security breach. The costs of a security breach can be staggering, too, what with the average loss for every 100 compromised records being about $25,450. Small businesses cannot afford to take a hit like that.

Since smaller companies now have a vast wealth of information on hand that is of value to cyber attackers—like credit card information, employee social security numbers, client email lists, financial data, and more—you have got to be more stringent about how you protect all of it. Not just for the sake of your company’s longevity and preservation of your reputation, but also to ensure that your employees and clients stay safe.

Here are 4 of the lesser-known—but equally as dangerous—risks you should get a handle on securing today.

1. Printers

When you think about the types of places hackers look to attack, you might not think about your printing and scanning equipment. However, as printers become smarter and enable users to do everything from printing from mobile devices to scanning and emailing documents, this opens up your business to more risk.

Now, this should not mean that you avoid using connected printers and scanners. In fact, a multifunction printer could be a tremendous asset in terms of improving your office’s productivity while also making your business more secure. Xerox’s ConnectKey Technology uses McAfee Embedded Security protection to ensure that all of the information that makes its way into your MFPs remains safe and secure.

2. Wireless keyboards

Along the same lines as connected printers, small business owners now need to worry about what happens if a wireless keyboard gets hacked. While it is not something you typically hear about in the news, it can happen.

Think about it: keyboards are what enable you to enter sensitive information into your company’s backend or network. What if someone hacked into that device and copied your keystrokes? They would have instant access to information you may have thought you were protecting with computer firewalls and secure HTTP connections.

Again, just because these devices have known vulnerabilities does not mean you need to stop using them—especially if they give you more flexibility and convenience in your day-to-day workflows. When it comes to wireless keyboards, you just need to be sure that you are using a device that is well made, has built-in encryption, and doesn’t have any known security risks (a simple Google search will answer that for you).

3. Mobile devices

Here are some more smart devices wreaking havoc on small business security. Although we have known about mobile device vulnerabilities for some time, there hasn’t been much in the news about this lately which is most likely due to all the talk about BYOD programs a few years back.

However, even if you do have a stringent BYOD program or you require that employees only use company-provided mobile devices for work purposes, there are other risks your business can encounter with mobile devices. Specifically, ones caused by the intersection between mobile devices and your other company’s devices.

If you have taken care to secure your printers and have already created a company mobile policy, the next thing you could stand to benefit from is a print management and mobility service like the one from Xerox. In addition to providing you with a safer way to print from mobile devices, it also gives you more power in managing and monitoring user printing.

4. Employees

Human error is a problem for any organization that is run by people. That is not to say that your employees are careless or even out to harm your business. On the contrary. Human error can happen when someone is overworked and exhausted. It can happen because someone was not trained properly and didn’t feel confident to ask for assistance. Alternatively, it can occur simply because they became distracted while trying to multi-task. Regardless of the reason, it is your job to mitigate that risk.

To protect your business from security breaches prompted by human error, you will have to secure a number of checkpoints: your WiFi, VPN (if you have one), company website, business-related software (like a CRM or finance management tool), and any connected equipment you may have. While the additional blocks may seem cumbersome or annoying to your employees, this is for their and your business’s protection.

If you are looking for a place to start with your printing and scanning equipment, check out Xerox’s YSoft SafeQ software. This will give you full control over your print environment, ensuring that employees are doing what they are supposed to be doing with it (and keeping all non-authorized users out).

According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2015, many small business owners have not done so well in protecting their businesses from a security breach. They noted that 27% of small businesses did not have any cyber security protocols in place. Also, they showed that 60% of small businesses made no changes to their internal security protocols even after a cyber attack hit.

Whether it is your print environment, smart device usage, or internal company network that needs fortifying, don’t wait. Be proactive and take the steps needed now to put a stringent security plan and enforcement of that plan in place.

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