I have observed that many smaller and midsized businesses fall into this mindset: Because you are not as visible as a larger enterprise, you are not subject to the same security vulnerabilities. That’s why security is often an after-thought. All too often, the best practices you implement are at the same level as those implemented by the average home computer user. Fact is, no matter the size of your business, you should define and enforce security practices consistently across your organization.
Security is vital to any-sized enterprise—especially SMBs
In another post, I outlined five key reasons "Why applications security testing is vital to your enterprise". I find that these reasons are even more applicable to SMBs than to large enterprises. Here’s how and why:
Human Nature. The intent to derive satisfaction by causing harm to fellow humans continues to rear its ugly head occasionally in several forms. Competitors employing non-ethical business practices, obtaining access to confidential information about other businesses, disgruntled employees—are all key triggers for security violations in SMBs. These parties have much easier access to your assets than those within large enterprises. Security violations can be very pointed to a given SMB and can have a much larger impact on a smaller business than on larger enterprises.
Compliance. Compliance laws and federal regulations are not likely to be sympathetic to the size of the business. All enterprises, regardless of their size, process data of varying volumes within geographies of varied breadth. The regulations remain the same for all enterprises. Liabilities resulting from accidental compliance could result in financial disaster for SMBs.
Silent killer. Trojan horses, viruses and malware can sneak into SMBs much easier than they could into large enterprises. Such silent killers could rapidly wreak havoc on a massive scale across the business bringing it to a grinding halt. Unlike large enterprises, you may not necessarily have appropriate business continuity measures in place.
Information access. SMBs tend to maximize on the advantages of consuming anything that is “free.” This includes leveraging social networking tools for communications "within" the enterprise thereby opening up access to the internal information to the rest of the world. This makes it even easier to engineer intrusions and misuse the available information for personal gains.
Technological advances. Emerging technologies are being applied innovatively to infiltration mechanisms. SMBs are less likely to be in lock step with these innovations. You are more vulnerable to these innovative violations since you don't have a dedicated mature "IT" department that continues to make the requisite upgrades to the hardware and software infrastructure.
Act now to establish preventative security best practices
The reality is, SMBs are more likely to be subject to security violations and are easier targets for hackers. Similar patterns of violations can be applied to multiple SMBs within the same domain or geography. This is why you are better off investing proactively in preventive best practices to mitigate the possibility of financial disaster from serious security violations across your business.
I’d like to hear from you. What steps have you taken to address security concerns? What are some of the best practices that would recommend that are more pertinent to SMBs?
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