The startling fact that many business owners and operators don't want to stare in the face is that cyber crime is shockingly prevalent in our world, and SMBs are the one category of targets that are most frequently hit, generally because their particular network vulnerabilities are fairly easy to exploit when compared to bigger enterprises.
And if you think it’s simply unlikely that you, as a small or medium sized business owner/operator, will become the target of such a crime, consider that there is a cyber attack in the US every 39 seconds, and a ransomware attack on an SMB every 14 seconds.
Also, it’s been known to happen that, after suffering a cyber attack, some SMBs are utterly ruined and never recover, shuttering their doors (whether virtual or tangible) forever.
The best way to prevent this from happening to your business is to know about the biggest, most damaging types of vulnerabilities in network security, so that you can identify and close any cyber security vulnerabilities that exist within your IT architecture.
In this blog, we’re going to take you on a guided tour of the 10 most prevalent and frequently exploited cyber vulnerabilities known to exist in today’s modern tech landscape. And, we’ll not only tell you what the most common network vulnerabilities are, but we’ll also give you tips on what you can do to prevent them from being exploited by cyber criminals.
What Are Cyber Threats and Vulnerabilities?
Cyber threats and vulnerabilities are the two main components in every digital attack.
A threat is any scenario that could result in an unwanted outcome, whereas a vulnerability is a weakness in your IT architecture and computer networks that could be exploited by a hacker or cyber criminal to carry out their malicious intent (e.g. to steal data or money).
The 10 Most Potentially Damaging Information Security Vulnerabilities
Here are the 10 biggest types of network security threats and vulnerabilities you should be aware of as an owner-operator of an SMB.
1. Unpatched Software Vulnerabilities
One of the most common and damaging types of vulnerability in network security is unpatched software, or software that has not been updated to include the latest security patches released by the vendor.
This can leave your network exposed to a wide range of cyber threats, including malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks. The simple solution is to ensure they become patched software strengths post haste.
2. Unsecured Networks
Another key vulnerability lies in vulnerable network segments, which allow threat actors to gain access to sensitive data by moving undetected within your IT infrastructure.
To protect yourself against this type of attack, it is important to ensure that your networks are properly segmented and secured with up-to-date firewalls, security controls and other industry-standard tools.
3. Unencrypted Data
In addition to being susceptible to network-based attacks, many businesses also face the risk of having their sensitive data compromised through unencrypted channels. This can include everything from insecure web traffic to email communications that are not protected with end-to-end encryption tools.
Once again, it’s imperative that you properly and effectively encrypt your sensitive data in order to avoid this cyber vulnerability.
4. Insufficient Access Controls
To prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to your sensitive data, it is essential that you have strong and granular controls in place for authenticating user credentials and providing only authorized employees with the necessary permissions and privileges. In many ways, this is the first line of defense against a possible security breach.
5. Weak Passwords
In addition to insufficient access controls, one of the most common reasons why hackers are able to successfully gain access to an organization’s network is because of weak or easily guessable passwords.
To reduce your risk of a data breach related to poor password practices, it is important to enforce strong password policies for all users and routinely audit your systems for any weak or compromised credentials. If you’re unsure about your team’s password strength, having a penetration test performed can give you the info you’re lacking.
6. Insider Threats
Unfortunately, it is often not the external cybercriminals that pose the biggest threat to businesses today – rather, it is their own employees that are responsible for many of today’s most damaging breaches.
Whether through malicious intent or negligent behavior, insider threats are a huge security risk that can leave organizations vulnerable to serious network vulnerabilities such as data theft and unauthorized access to sensitive systems and networks.
One of the best ways to defend against this threat is to make use of employee security awareness training and keep employee morale up as much as possible.
7. Outdated Security Software
Similarly, another common network vulnerability within organizations comes in the form of outdated security software or other tools that fail to keep pace with the latest trends in cyber threats.
Maintaining up-to-date security software is essential for reducing your risk of falling victim to opportunistic and targeted attacks alike.
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8. Lack of Awareness and Training
One of the biggest network vulnerabilities that businesses face today is a lack of security awareness on the part of their employees. Whether through ignorance or apathy, many employees are unaware of the dangers posed by common cyber threats like phishing and social engineering attacks, making them easy targets for hackers.
To reduce this risk, it is important to provide ongoing security awareness training to all employees as well as implement other best practices such as regular password resets, multi-factor authentication, etc.
9. Physical Security
While network security vulnerabilities are often the primary concern of most businesses, it is also important to consider that many cyber threats can originate from within your physical location as well. From unsecured Wi-Fi networks and lax access controls to poorly guarded office spaces and unmonitored email communications, there are a number of ways in which physical security can put your organization at risk.
To address these issues, it is important to implement a range of best practices including regular intrusion detection checks, security cameras, encryption tools for sensitive data, etc.
10. Social Engineering
Finally, one of the most common ways that hackers gain access to sensitive data and systems is through social engineering attacks. These types of malicious intrusions generally involve attempts by cybercriminals to trick employees into divulging their login credentials or other sensitive information through phishing emails, phone calls, or other means.
To reduce your risk of falling victim to these sorts of attacks, it is essential to run regular training programs for all employees that highlight common tactics and inform them about how they can help protect against such vulnerabilities.
Additionally, implementing multi-factor authentication and using password management tools can go a long way in keeping your organization safe from this particular threat.
Preventing These Types of Attacks in Network Security with the Help of an Experience MSP
With The Isidore Group as your managed service provider (MSP), you can rest assured that your network security vulnerabilities will be kept to a minimum.
Our team of experienced cybersecurity professionals is well-equipped to detect and prevent the various types of attacks outlined above, from phishing emails and poor password practices to outdated software and social engineering schemes.
We also offer ongoing training programs to help keep your employees informed about today's most common cyber risks and how they can protect themselves and the organization as a whole.
If you're looking for an experienced and trusted MSP to help protect your business against network security vulnerabilities, look no further than The Isidore Group.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help keep your network safe and secure.