While there are many things that contribute to a business’s success, a small data breach can bring it down. One of the major concerns in today’s world for organizations is a data breach. While big companies manage to bounce back from it, 60% of small companies run out of business within 6 months of a cyber attack or data breach. Data leaks lead to a lack of trust from customers and business can take a hit. This is why cybersecurity is crucial for any company, big or small. Especially when it comes to cybersecurity for SMEs.
Taking measures to monitor suspicious activity is vital these days as it can make or break the financial security and future of a business.
When it comes to cybersecurity for SMEs and enterprises, especially network security, there are a number of abnormalities that constitute “suspicious activity”. A business needs to be able to recognize these behaviors to help find the origin or nature of the data hack. This will help a business respond in time and implement corrective measures to minimize the threat and curb damage. Suspicious activity could include abnormal database activity or access patterns, changes to files, anything out of the ordinary that could indicate a cyber attack.
Here are some of the activities in detail that companies should keep an eye out for:
Unusual activity in your database could be a result of internal or external attacks. Either way, it’s imperative to watch out for crucial signs like an unusual growth in data, any changes made to permissions or changes in users.
Abuse of Accounts
When privileged accounts are abused, it indicates an internal attack. You need to look out for odd sharing access, access to sensitive information when it’s not needed, or modified audits.
Unusual User Access
When there are suspicious changes to user access, this is indicative of an external hacker trying to gain access to your business network. You need to track accounts being accessed at odd hours, remote access attempts, multiple failed login attempts, or a discrepancy between the device and a user ID.
Changes to Files
Another sign of a data attack is when there are configuration changes made to files. This includes additions, deletions, and modifications. It might be that a hacker has accessed the network and is trying to cover the trail so that they are not discovered.
When it comes to your network, you need to watch out for unauthorized scans, abnormal changes in the network’s performance, any violations of protocol, or traffic that has odd targets or origins. These are critical signs of an external hack.
Unauthorized Port Access
Sometimes unauthorized port access boils down to an internal accident. However, suspicious accesses could also mean data has already been stolen or there has been a malware attack.
Changes detected by end users
Sometimes end users may notice suspicious activities before the company does. This usually happens with smaller businesses that have fewer security measures implemented. End users may experience weird antivirus notifications, excessive pop-ups, unauthorized toolbars, or notice that the network or device slows down.
Suspicious activity doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing for every organization. Between large and small businesses, things will differ, as well as the reasons for hacking. But nonetheless, having security measures in place to check these activities could prevent an SME from folding.
Businesses can learn from past data breaches and be better prepared for future attempts. Some important measures that you can implement to ensure your data security is top notch are:
• Installing firewalls
• Malware protection
• Strong password policies
• Regular review of performance, error reports, network alerts, and traffic
• File integrity monitoring
• Instructing end users to report suspicious activity
• Incident and failure response strategies
• Regular risk assessments
More importantly, employees are known to be the weak link when it comes to cybersecurity. It’s essential to educate and inform employees of the different types or suspicious activity, and how to avoid malware attacks and viruses.
Cybersecurity and data protection is critical for any business venture, whether it's an SME or a large corporation, as it can determine the success or failure of it. Cyber attacks don’t just cost a business financially, but also tarnish the brand’s image and reputation. Even with more advanced technology and security protocol in place, hackers are constantly finding new ways to break through it. A business always needs to stay two steps ahead when it comes to cybersecurity.