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Patching Up Holes in your SMB Security System

Posted on 6.04.2013

By Kristin Tarr, Communications Manager at CloudFlare


With the recent phishing hack on the Associated Press’ Twitter account and the cyberattack that compromised more than 50 million Living Social customers, you’re probably thinking that with all the time and energy hackers use up on high-profile attacks, that your small business is in the clear, right? Wrong. SMBs are not safe. In fact, they get hacked all the time. 

According to a 2012 study conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance, nearly 40 percent of all cyber security attacks are targeted at small businesses. Compared with big enterprise companies with robust security teams and generous security budgets, small business can be an easy target for hackers. Many small businesses don’t allocate enough resources to their security systems or have little knowledge on how to stay safe from the schemes of cyber villains.  

So what are the holes in your system making your small business vulnerable? Here are a few we think are important: 

IPv6 Transition – The Internet is running out of IPv4 addresses and making a seamless transition to IPv6 is becoming more and more necessary, especially if you’re a small business. As an SMB, it’s important for your company to be technologically current and utilize services that offer gateways for conversion to avoid any customer confusion or lack of access during the switch. 

Two-Factor Authentication – Although two-factor authentication may seem obvious, it’s a constant potential threat that consumers don’t always think about. The absolute minimum your SMB should be doing to protect itself is turning on two-factor authentication whenever possible. It may not make your account invincible, but it adds an extra layer of necessary protection. 

DDoS Attacks – Don’t let your website get held hostage and lose business. SMBs are vulnerable to spambots and malicious DDoS attacks just like high profile companies. Be aware and educate yourself on best practices to avoid attacks. 

Phishing for Passwords – Still? Yes, phishing is still an all-too-common technique for hackers to steal your passwords, usernames and other private information by sending fake emails posing as an organization. As a small business, be cautious of any suspicious communication via email or over the phone. And, never use the same password twice – vary your passwords by using numbers, capital letters and other symbols. 

By following these simple tips and staying educated on the cyber security offerings available, small businesses can focus on their goals and objectives while thwarting hacker attempts and staying safe. Small businesses are the largest source of employment in the United States, and with the proper security measures, we can ensure it stays that way.


Kristin Tarr is CloudFlare’s communications manager and oversees the company's marketing and thought leadership initiatives. Kristin hails from California’s Central Coast and is also a running fanatic, having run numerous half and full marathons. She graduated from CSU, Chico with a degree in Public Relations and Political Science.

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