Cybersecurity challenges for small businesses in New York: Understanding the local threat landscape

Cybersecurity challenges for small businesses in New York: Understanding the local threat landscape

It’s exciting to be a small-business owner in New York City, surrounded by innovation, diversity, and a vibrant market. But with great opportunity comes great responsibility, especially when it comes to cybersecurity.

While cyberattacks go after all kinds of companies, attacks on small businesses are becoming particularly more targeted and sophisticated. That’s because many small businesses lack the resources to implement enterprise-grade security measures.

In New York, the situation is even more critical. The state’s thriving healthcare industry and booming financial sector make it a goldmine for cybercriminals seeking valuable data. To curb the worrying state of cybersecurity, New York Governor Kathy Hochul initiated a comprehensive cybersecurity plan to protect the state’s essential infrastructure. Nevertheless, the state can only do so much.

Threats to your business: Cybersecurity challenges you may face

Ensuring your company’s cybersecurity is your responsibility as a business leader. Let’s examine the threats your business may face and how you can protect yourself.

Rise of ransomware

Waking up one morning to find all your company's data locked away is a frightening scenario. But then it gets worse: you get a message demanding a huge ransom for your locked-up data. This is the chilling reality of how ransomware attacks operate, which have become increasingly common in New York.

Hospitals, a vital part of New York's infrastructure, have been especially vulnerable. In recent years, several New York hospitals have been crippled by ransomware attacks, forcing them to halt critical services and pay millions to regain access to their data.

What this means for your business

Business data is valuable — even non-healthcare data. Customer information, financial records, and intellectual property are all targets for ransomware attacks.

Phishing scams tailored to New York organizations

In a phishing scam, cybercriminals send emails that are purportedly from legitimate organizations, and they often mimic banks, government agencies, or utility companies. These emails trick recipients into clicking malicious links or downloading infected attachments, which will provide criminals access to your systems.

New York's dynamic and diverse landscape makes it fertile ground for targeted phishing scams. Scammers might pose as state or city agencies, utility companies specific to the region, or even popular local service providers.

What this means for your business

Your employees are your initial line of defense versus phishing attacks. Training them to identify suspicious emails and instilling a culture of cyber awareness is crucial.

Evolving threats in a financial hub

As a global financial center, New York City attracts financial fraudsters. They can launch cyberattacks in various forms, such as infiltrating point-of-sale systems to steal credit card information or manipulating financial records for illicit gain.

What this means for your business

Whether you're a small accounting firm or a local store that accepts credit cards, financial security should be a top priority. Implementing strong data encryption and regularly monitoring financial activities can help prevent fraud.

Steps you can take to protect your business

The good news is that you don't have to be a certified cybersecurity expert to protect your business. By taking the following steps, you boost your business’s safety:

  • Educate yourself and your employees: Familiarize yourself with common cyberthreats and train your employees to identify suspicious activity.
  • Implement strong passwords and multifactor authentication: Prevent unauthorized access by using complex passwords and requiring additional verification steps besides a password.
  • Keep your software updated: Outdated software often has security vulnerabilities that hackers exploit, which is why your operating systems and applications must always be up to date.
  • Back up your data regularly: In case of a ransomware attack, having a secure backup of your data allows you to recover it without having to pay a ransom.
  • Consider cybersecurity services: If your IT resources are limited, consider partnering with a managed IT services company to manage your defenses and respond to incidents.

You can reduce your risk of falling prey to a cyberattack by knowing the specific cybersecurity threats in New York and taking proactive measures. Cybersecurity is an ongoing process, so stay vigilant, adapt your defenses as threats evolve, and build a culture of information security.

Better yet, partner with us at Healthy IT. Our IT experts can offer solutions to help your business deliver service more efficiently while staying safe and industry-compliant. Is your business in New York, Long Island, or the surrounding Tri-State Area? Then contact us today. You can even get an assessment and consultation from us for free!