If a salesperson at a clothing store asked you if you needed any help and you replied, ‘no thanks, just browsing’, chances are you weren’t worried that you were being spied on at that moment or that your personal information and data were being secretly stolen as you browsed. Browsing the web from your computer, on the other hand, should give you pause. It’s a whole different ball game. Browsing the web can expose you to a veritable smorgasbord of security threats and this is true as much for large and small businesses as it is for individuals. Continuing the ball game analogy, today’s browser-based attacks can come as dangerous curve balls to unprotected businesses and can threaten their systems, data, and privacy. They can arrive in the form of drive-by downloads, adware, formjacking, phishing, malicious apps and more. Business owners should think of these curve balls as digital big brother threats that can eavesdrop on their businesses and steal their sensitive data.
You win up the middle
So what’s a business to do? To use yet another ball game analogy (our last one today, we promise), defense is considered to be the foundation of a successful team. In baseball, they even have a saying for it: “you win up the middle”, meaning a strong catcher, shortstop, second base, and center field will make a successful team. Okay, yes, we get the limitations of this analogy; there are no catcher, shortstop, second base and center field positions in a business; but businesses today do need a strong defense to succeed. That defense, however, is needed against cyber criminals, not an opposing team on a level playing field, and it’s needed everywhere, not just up the middle. Furthermore, all businesses, including small businesses, need a cyber defense to not just succeed, but to survive. As forbes.com noted, ‘small businesses need to take cybersecurity seriously… if they want to survive in this digital world”. In fact, small firms are generally more vulnerable to cyber attacks than are large businesses because small firms have fewer resources to devote to their security. And unfortunately, the oft quoted statistic that 60 percent of small businesses fold within 6 months of a cyber attack, still holds true.
Fortunately, cyber defense technology does what it’s supposed to do
Yet, in spite of all the disheartening news about cyber attacks and cyber criminals, businesses can protect themselves and their data. There are powerful antivirus software for businesses and even free business antivirus software that can protect a business from bad actors. The best ones come with a secure browser that can make sure that business owners and their employees can safely navigate the web without a big brother hacker spying on company activity. As a matter of fact, since online browsing can expose users to phishing websites and malicious links that are designed to trick those users (which includes your employees) into downloading malware or releasing sensitive or financial information, one of the most important rules for all firms and organizations to follow is to make sure that their employees use secure browsers to surf the Internet.
How does that work exactly?
A secure browser will protect your business’ privacy by providing a safe search experience; it makes sure you and your employees don’t navigate to, or become victims of, malicious web pages, malicious links, malvertising, or exploit kits. Without secure browsing, your business is exposed to cyber criminals who can monitor your employees’ every move online, invade your business’ privacy, and steal its data.
And not to be an alarmist, (well, maybe just a little), but rather to make sure you don’t succumb to the mindset that your business will be safe without browser protection, here are a few statistics to contemplate from the EC Council University:
- 46% of websites have high-security vulnerabilities
- 87% of websites have medium-security vulnerabilities
- 30% of web applications are vulnerable to cross-site scripting (when malicious scripts are injected into benign and trusted websites).
Now that the point about small business vulnerability has been adequately made (we hope), we can return to the good news that cyber defense technology is good at its job. Thankfully, cybersecurity warriors have created AV software that achieves between a 99.9%-100% online protection rate, and given the trend towards collaboration within the cybersecurity industry, cyber defense technology will continue to become more powerful and effective.
Win all around
Clearly, then, the small business answer to cyber threats is a strong antivirus with browser protection that can protect a business’ privacy. A secure browser means your employees can do their job without fear of being tricked into releasing sensitive information or unleashing dangerous malware onto your business computers. It means, your employees can do their job, so that your business can win up the middle and all around.