The security stories that make headlines usually involve the big, well-known companies whose names everyone recognize. That can make SMBs feel as if they’re of no interest to hackers, which could be dangerous to those businesses. The truth is, hackers go after SMBs about 47 percent of the time. SMBs are a gateway to larger businesses they can be much easier to breach, which makes them an attractive target.

Your business is at risk, and you need to act now to protect it. Here are six of the top actions you can take right now to mitigate security risks:

  1. Use these six tips to reduce security risks for your SMB.Institute a password policy. Businesses of all sizes need a password policy. This can be as simple as a statement of password creation best practices and a regular schedule for changing passwords. Make the process even easier by installing a password manager that automates password creation and can even set reminders and alerts for when it’s time to change your passwords.
  2. Learn to recognize phishing emails. Phishing emails are an element of social engineering that hackers and other bad actors use to trick you into providing personal information. Phishing emails are also the most popular way to deliver malware or ransomware to your computer.
  3. When in doubt don’t click anything. One click. That’s all it takes to compromise your computer and your network.  If you’re not certain of the origin of an email, don’t click any links or attachments. Instead, close the email completely, then open a separate web browser and type the URL for the home page of the website into your browser.
  4. Always change administrator passwords. Network settings often have a default administrator password. It’s usually a simple password that’s either commonly known or is simple to guess. You should change these default passwords immediately after installation. The same is true for security settings on networks and other hardware. Customize the settings for your organization because the default settings may not be a good fit and could put your business at risk.
  5. Install security patches and updates immediately upon release. It’s a tall order. A patch management program can eat up a lot of time, but the alternative is to have open vulnerabilities that are essentially advertised to hackers when the patches are released. If you don’t have the resources to conduct a proper patching program, find a partner that can help you stay on top of things.  This is one of the greatest areas of risk that all businesses face in the current security climate.
  6. Your greatest vulnerability is people. People make mistakes. They lose things. And they’re too trusting by nature. That makes the human element the greatest risk to your security. To reduce the amount of damage that employees can do to your business, it’s important to have an ongoing training program designed to educate and remind people of the day-to-day risks involved in doing business.

One of the most dangerous assumptions you can make is that hackers don’t target SMBs. They do almost half the time. But you don’t have to wait until you have a formal security program in place to start mitigating the risks to your business.  Instead, use these six strategies to start reducing your exposure to hackers and other bad actors right now.