Starting a small business is no easy feat. From being able to clearly outline the goals and objectives of your business within a business plan, to sourcing sufficient funding to get your venture off the ground in the way that spurs on sustainable progression, there is a lot for small business owners to think about even before they open their doors. That is just the beginning. It’s an unfortunate reality that small businesses have too much to worry about, including how their customer’s privacy is protected on the internet.
In 2017, business research and analysis firm Clutch, conducted a study among large businesses across the United States to see how they addressed both internal and external cybersecurity risks. Considering the record numbers in cybersecurity breaches that occurred in 2017 alone, and which have spilled over to make 2018 a comparably eventful year, the analysis was timely and gave an important snapshot of how breaches can be both prevented and efficiently resolved. The study found that more than ninety percent of large businesses have a dedicated cybersecurity policy in place, while only sixty-six percent revealed that they prioritize enforcing these policies.
Small businesses, no matter the scope of their operations, come into contact with their potential and actual consumers’ sensitive identifiable information on a regular basis. From collecting payment information and shipping addresses, to gathering personal email addresses for continuing marketing communication purposes, small business owners have to make a commitment to themselves and their consumers to remain hypervigilant about the steps that they can possibly take to keep their consumers’ data secure, while protecting the reputation of their own businesses. Enter blockchain technology and its vast potential to combat the continued threats posed by individuals and groups who know how to gain access to sensitive personal information, even when it is supposedly protected by firewalls and other virtual barriers.
Blockchain technology continues to pique the interests of individuals and companies across a variety of disciplines, indicating that the decentralized technology has far-reaching potential applications that are here to stay. A blockchain, to put very simply, is a secure, distributed, decentralized ledger which records the ongoing history of digital transactions and action. Blockchains have a unique potential to detect and prevent fraudulent occurrences via programmed mechanisms, maintaining a strong focus on transparency and security.
Outlined below is a snapshot of a few common cybersecurity threats that businesses, both large and small, may face at any time.
Increased Dependence On Cloud Technology
Cloud-technology is undoubtedly a convenient solution that has made improvements in how we navigate storage and data security. Unfortunately, it is more susceptible to cybersecurity threats than we think. According to Eric J. Anderson (Eijah), Founder and CEO of Promether, blockchain technology is steps above the capabilities of cloud technology, in that it accommodates a more decentralized way of storing data that would successfully protect privacy. Anderson readily points out that the ‘convenience’ selling point of the cloud is not worth the risk of it being a prime target of hackers who no longer have to penetrate millions of computers, but instead, only have to access one cloud to gain the same amount of information.
Promether utilizes a combination of both offensive and defensive strategies to create a solution that creates secure and anonymous connections across networks through a decentralized privacy network (VPN). Promether’s system is fully-encrypted, anonymized, and undetectable through deep-packet inspection (dpi). Randomized cryptographic signatures that can be changed in real-time further protect against breaches that depend on predictable processes, thus eliminating the threat of communication surveillance.
The Problem of Human Error
According to Clutch’s 2017 study, employees pose a significant liability to the cybersecurity of a company. From general carelessness to the regular use of personal devices to access work-related data, human error in the workplaces continues to be a threat. The most common tactic that hackers use is phishing, which targets email and messaging platforms to persuade employees to share essential information that will allow them to gain access to a company’s wider network of data. Blockchain technology solutions would provide a more robust remedy to the issue of human error than would be achieved through increased employee education and policy enforcement. Decentralized protocols backed by the blockchain can create more foolproof operational processes.
The Threat Of Malware On Devices
The Ponemon Institute, in a 2016 study focused on malware detection and prevention, revealed that more than seventy percent of cybersecurity threats remain undetected. Anti-virus software alone is not enough to protect against the projected $6 trillion in damages cybercrime is expected to cause by the year 2021. More depth is needed to fully protect your data’s safety and privacy, and a number of blockchain startups are working assiduously to create the kind of solutions that can do just that.
Cybersecurity will continue to be a threat to the sustained success of small businesses that depend on safety and security to retain their reputation with consumers, both current and potential. Due to their size, they may be of particular interest to hackers who may find it easier to penetrate their attempted cybersecurity barriers than larger companies who may have been able to put a few more layers of protection in place. Blockchain technology will continue to make waves due to its massive potential to be the base of solutions that can go the extra mile in keeping business and consumer data safe and secure.