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Cyber crime is a pervasive and growing threat to every organization. In the last five years, security breaches have increased by 67%.

Despite this threat, small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) may assume that due to their size, they are not a target; however, the reality is just the opposite, as small businesses often lack the cyber security budget and infrastructure to prevent, detect, and respond to attacks.


How the Cyber Security Landscape Has Changed for SMBs

Cyber criminals are keen to exploit these vulnerabilities, with more than 40% of cyber attacks now targeted at small businesses and organizations.

What is driving this activity? Money. Cyber crime is a lucrative business. In fact, it is estimated that in 2018, cyber crime generated $1.5 trillion in profit.

With that much money at stake, we must anticipate the upward trend will continue—and we can’t afford to become complacent with our defenses. This money is driving change to the way cyber criminals operate, further fueling their motivation to find new ways to prey on vulnerable organizations.

That means that in order to secure our networks, we can no longer rely only on our traditional methods of defense. In the past, layering security tools to block access was enough, especially for small businesses. Now that attacks are increasingly targeting small and mid-sized businesses, the landscape has changed, and so we must adapt.

Are there gaps in your cyber security efforts?

Are you still using the same security tools that you were five years ago? If so, there are gaps in your efforts to keep your network secure.

We build up our cyber security by layering multiple tools in our environments to construct a protective wall around our networks. These tools may include web filters, patch management, firewalls, antivirus, malware protection, passwords, and backups, and if you are responsible for making technology decisions for your organization, these tools should be familiar.

But even if your only interaction with your company’s cyber security is using your own computer, you still encounter these solutions each time you enter your password, receive an email, or click a link. The purpose of these tools isn’t to make your lives more difficult, even though it may sometimes feel that way. Rather, their purpose is to make your cyber lives more secure. 

But as we know, even with the availability of these tools, cyber crime continues to grow as a hugely profitable business. Why? Because a determined, highly motivated hacker can virtually always find a way in.

How Hackers Infiltrate Your Network

No system is perfect. Your network security is like an immune system; it can be worn down by stress and time or simply become overwhelmed. Consider how much more likely you are to get sick when you are stressed. That is a good way to think about network security, too. When your network is stressed by increased business activity, it can become more vulnerable to hackers who can find, target, and exploit the gaps between our security layers.

Hackers take many routes to infiltrate our networks:

  1. Exploiting human errors
  2. Zero-day attacks, in which the hacker creates a new attack or virus that isn’t in the databases antivirus programs use to protect us
  3. Insider attacks from your own employees
  4. Exploiting missed patches
  5. Exploiting unknown network assets, like a router or unmanaged computer that someone connected to your network
  6. Social engineering – tricking your employees into opening the door and granting access
  7. Or maybe just walking right in your front door and sitting down in your conference room

At Prosource, we were called in to consult with a company that was breached by someone who walked into their office. It was like a scene from the movie Ocean’s Eleven: the hacker bought a polo shirt with the company’s logo on it. He walked into one of the branch offices and said that he was in town for a meeting. He had done his homework and, armed with the correct name and title of a sales director from another branch, he told the branch’s staff that the sales director had given him the okay to work from this office before his meeting.

The company obligingly set him up in the conference room and even offered him coffee. No more than 15 minutes later, the hacker had infiltrated the network and left the building before the IT department knew that anything had happened.

Antivirus cannot protect you from that. And this is where so many systems fail.

Can your network security spot a cyber breach in action?

After getting inside the door as an unfamiliar figure, the hacker was able to connect an unrecognized computer to the company’s network and was left to his own devices to compromise their systems. He worked quietly and quickly enough to avoid suspicion or alarm.

Even with the layers of security mentioned above, most businesses don’t have a way to detect intruders in action—their presence isn’t known until they’ve launched the attack and the business is faced with the (sometimes devastating) consequences. And what’s worse is that those layers often provide a false sense of security to business owners who feel as if they are covered.

The truth is that once a hacker is inside, our commonly deployed tools and procedures are bad at spotting the human behavior that precipitates the actual attack. It’s time we add two more layers to our security stacks: detection and response.

Whether you’ve suffered a breach, operate in a regulated industry, or just aren’t confident in your current detection tools, Prosource's cybersecurity team is here to discuss your concerns and identify solutions to elevate your network security and give you peace of mind.