If you manage a small or medium-sized business, it's easy to imagine that your company isn't of as much interest to hackers as large multi-million dollar corporations.
Still, in 2020 alone there were over 700,000 attacks against small businesses, totaling $2.8 billion in damages. 60% of small businesses close within 6 months of being hacked.
As an up-and-coming company, you need to protect against losses of this kind, both to your bottom line and to the trust of your customers.
Why do hackers target small businesses?
On the face of it, it doesn't make much sense for bad actors to target SMBs considering that the data and resources held by large corporations are much more valuable.
Still, criminals can perceive smaller businesses as an easier target as they may not have their own dedicated cyber security teams. They may also believe targeting SMBs will attract less attention from law enforcement.
Cyber Threats to SMBs
Many SMBs don't have a specific resilience strategy for hacks, which means that a sufficiently damaging hack could put them out of business. Some common online threats to SMBs include:
According to a 2022 QuickBooks survey, malware is the most common attack against small businesses. This is something that California-based Efficient Escrow learned the hard way in 2013.
The company was forced to close its doors and lay off its entire staff when cybercriminals nabbed $1.5 million from its bank account using a form of “Trojan horse” malware.
After malware, phishing attacks are the most common faced by SMBs. These can be as simple as sending an email impersonating a trusted colleague to trick the recipient into providing their login credentials.
In a "spear phishing" attack, a hacker may pose as a colleague, CEO, or vendor requesting money or payment information. It’s often incredibly difficult to differentiate a spear-phishing attack from standard email correspondence as it's easy to forge e-mail addresses and company logos.
Researchers for Abnormal Security proved this in 2023 by detailing a real-life incident where cyber criminals impersonated the office manager of a small safety management business and emailed the facilities manager of a food distribution company providing fake invoices with the criminal's payment details.
This threat is extremely dangerous to SMBs who are the target of 82% of ransomware attacks.
This form of malware encrypts data on an infected computer or device. Attackers will then demand a hefty 'ransom' in exchange for unlocking infected devices. This could bankrupt a small business, especially as the average ransom is $751,000.
When businesses refuse to pay, not only can the attackers refuse to unlock infected devices but they can leak sensitive company information onto the internet. This is a particular risk for small businesses, as only around 17% encrypt their data to protect it in case of theft.
According to Verizon, in 2021 46% of all cyber breaches impact businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees. Breaches can take many forms including leaking of data by disgruntled employees and data being stolen by ransomware and other types of hacking.
After cybercriminals allegedly stole 756 GB of files from a celebrity law firm in 2020, confidential legal files were leaked after the firm refused to pay a $21 Million ransom.
What can I do to protect my business?
While there's no absolute guarantee of safety, Control D's DNS control service can significantly improve your company's productivity and security.
Switching to Control D can be done in minutes and makes it easy to manage your business' internet traffic, allowing you to block and filter all types of content.
How does DNS work?
Whenever you enter a website address into your browser e.g. www.controld.com, your 'request' is sent to a DNS server, which will check the domain name in its database to find the matching IP address. This same process happens whenever you open an email, view an image, or use any kind of cloud storage.
DNS is an essential part of the internet's infrastructure, though it mostly operates transparently in the background, so you don't need to worry about it.
Control D Use Cases
As your business grows, you'll gather more staff, clients, and sensitive personal data. That means you'll need to control, monitor, and protect your organization's internet traffic.
A DNS control product like Control D offers you a simple, secure, and reliable way to do this. Our main security features include:
Blocking Malicious Websites
Control D can also block websites known to contain malware and other potentially harmful types of software like aggressive ads and trackers. Like with phishing websites, this means even if someone does click the wrong link, known malware sites won't load. Naturally, this means there's no chance of any of your staff accidentally downloading malware from such pages.
This can be achieved through Control D's AI Malware Filter, which has 3 basic levels of blocking:
You can also block ads, trackers, and 18 other categories of sites manually on all of your devices with a simple flick of a switch.
Enhanced Network Security
By default your business' chosen DNS server most likely will convert every web address into an IP address and take them to that website. Still, what if they've been sent an email with a link to a 'phishing' website designed to harvest sensitive information like banking passwords?
Control D includes features to block known phishing websites to prevent them from loading in the first place, even if someone clicks on the wrong link. For extra security you can even activate our "New Domains" filter - if a hacker recently created a website for phishing purposes, the page won't load.
Limit Inappropriate Content
A growing business depends on its reputation., This means you want to be sure that people who go online in your workplace are doing so only for business-related reasons. Control D can be used to block access to inappropriate websites by category: for instance, it can filter those containing adult or gambling content, just by clicking a few switches.
You can also do this to limit access to social media sites such as Facebook and TikTok during work hours. This can help increase productivity by reducing distractions.
Monitoring and Reporting
Control D can provide start-ups with valuable insights into employee internet usage patterns. This includes which websites are being accessed the most as well as what times of day have the highest traffic.
This feature can help business owners and stakeholders identify potential security risks, enforce internet usage policies, and optimize your network performance.
Limiting Ads and Trackers
Control D offers you and your clients the ability to filter unnecessary ads and trackers. The main advantage to both parties is better security, as some ad networks have been exploited to introduce spyware to users' devices.
Additionally, some ads and trackers can also inadvertently leak personal data, as healthcare provider Advocate Aurora discovered the hard way in 2022. Blocking 'bloatware' of this kind results in a much safer and faster browsing experience.
Control D is one tool among many
While Control D offers an excellent way to protect your business from harmful websites, it's not proof against every type of threat. For instance, in the attack described by Advocate Aurora, the hackers relied on the human tendency to confuse two similar email addresses.
This is why it's so important to develop a cybersecurity strategy and educate your staff on various types of cyber attacks such as identity theft. As a starting point, we recommend combining Control D's protection with a reliable VPN like WindScribe, as well as using a dedicated password manager.
A 2020 study of cyberattacks by Verizon found that 80% of all hacking incidents involved compromised credentials or passwords. This is why we also strongly recommend enabling 2FA (two-factor authentication) for all your online accounts.
This means anyone signing into these accounts from a new location and/or device will need to provide a temporary code as well as a password, making life much more difficult for attackers.
Getting Started with Control D
If you've decided Control D offers the security your business needs, you'll be pleased to learn that setup only takes minutes. Creating a 'device', takes only moments so you can have a unique DNS 'resolver' configured with the settings you choose. This is done via a simple graphical interface.
The wizard prompts you to choose the right resolver for your device and there's even a tutorial if you need help. Once this is done, Control D can then generate a setup URL for the end user to click so that the DNS settings are applied automatically.
You can also deploy Control D on hundreds of devices at once, as the platform supports 'Mass Provisioning'.
Control D can not only be deployed easily on employees' BYOD (Bring your Own Devices) but also on your business routers, meaning any connected hardware will benefit from Control D's DNS Security.
We also have a robust API, which can be integrated into your company's existing workflow to easily manage settings.
Control D Pricing
Control D offers a clear per-device or per-router pricing plan for businesses based on the features required. This is done on a month-to-month basis, saving so your organization doesn't have to commit to any long-term contracts. You can also cancel your subscription at any time.
All plans allow admins to block, route, and monitor their organization's network traffic with the touch of a button. You can also create enforceable 'global' policies to apply to all your clients such as blocking domains known to contain malware.
We understand that every SMB is different. If you would like to discuss a custom price plan tailored to your specific needs, please contact us for a quote.