It may seem like large enterprises are running the economy, but new companies contribute to a fair share of national growth. A report by said that last year there were 388 million entrepreneurs starting or running new businesses, and 70 percent of new jobs in the United States come from startups.
Even though entrepreneurship is booming, new business are a great security risk. SMBs must make security a top priority. Even if cyber security only fails once, a company's reputation could be ruined and new customers could be frightened off.
The report said that businesses are most vulnerable when they're beginning. Finances are tight and no one knows who to trust with new hires and business plans. With all of that going on, startups are key targets for cyber criminals. Businesses with less than 250 employees were the greatest area of growth for targeted attacks last year at 31 percent. The early stages of a business process are easier for hackers to infiltrate because they are not as prepared or fortified against attacks.
An online presence is vital to a startup's survival, but getting a website live in a short amount of time doesn't leave a lot of room for security, according to the report. These websites are then prime targets for malicious attacks. And cyber criminals are after more than financial information. Smaller businesses can provide access to larger companies. Each of the top 500 international businesses have an average of 60 alliances with smaller companies, making many SMBs a stepping stone to greater reward.
Some may think that being new to the market means cyber criminals won't take notice, but that's incorrect according to the report. Once the web page is set up, attacks can immediately begin. Attacks can come through infected links, spam emails and malware. Web based attacks among businesses increased 30 percent last year . Within two months, an account typically receives dozens of spam messages, some containing malware. By five months, the numbers increase to the hundreds. Should malware get through and infect a computer, it will require a system restore and recovery.
How to keep a startup safe from attack
Just as someone would run a virus scan on a PC, businesses should do the same for their websites. Slow-loading pages and unwanted ads are common signs that a web server may have been infected.
The report suggested adding software layered security with anti-malware tools. This scans for changes in file size, suspicious email attachments and identifies programs matching known malware.