As sensitive data flies through digital channels, cybersecurity has become a larger concern for businesses. When you think of cybercrimes against businesses, you probably think about large corporations with a lot of money in their coiffers. But small businesses are not immune to threats – and the cost associated with an attack on a small business can be devastating. Small- or midsize business owners should take note: there are things every business can do to strengthen its defenses. We’ll tell you what they are and why they matter.
Small does not equal safe
Did you know that nearly 50% of small businesses have experienced a cyberattack? But why? Small businesses fall victim to crime because they believe that they are unlikely to be targeted. In reality, 70% of cybercrimes are targeted at small businesses. When a company’s guard is down, it’s more likely to make costly mistakes that let cybercriminals into its systems.
In reality, small businesses are actually some of the most common targets for hackers and other cybercriminals. Many small businesses tend to not have a cybersecurity defense plan in place, with little budgeted toward preparedness against potential cyberattacks. This makes invading a small business’s systems easier and more efficient for criminals. While an attack on a small business may not yield a lot of valuable data, it can be used to access other partner businesses. Tapping into that network can provide exponential access to sensitive information. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important for small businesses to be proactive and develop a cybersecurity plan.
Why it matters
When a small business doesn’t have a cybersecurity plan in place, they can’t defend themselves against targeted campaigns OR respond appropriately in the case of an attack. All of their sensitive data is at risk, including personal information, intellectual property, company data or industry information, etc. Taking a multifaceted approach helps protect a company’s most valuable property.
Small businesses that aren’t in especially regulated spaces may not think that their data is valuable. But simple information – like a list of customer addresses and contact information – can be used nefariously by cybercriminals. Once a system is breached, hackers can also watch a company’s processes, waiting for the perfect opportunity to mimic them and use them to crawl into someone else’s system. A company’s reputation is literally on the line if they do not have cybersecurity processes in place.
But many small business owners value the dollars and cents above all else, and investing in cybersecurity might not seem like an expense that pays dividends. But data shows that investing in cybersecurity could be the difference maker between whether a small business is open in a year or not. More than half of the small businesses that experience cyberattacks go out of business within six months.
What to do
Implementing best practices is a great way to strengthen cybersecurity efforts. A company’s employees are its weakest link – so prioritizing employee awareness around cybersecurity is an important first step. Business should consider whether or not its employees are following basic policies of password management or email protection. Creating simple security procedures and prioritizing training throughout an organization can go a long way toward strengthening a company’s digital defenses.
Executives should also partner with IT professionals to develop a layered approach to security. By creating backup systems, developing a data recovery plan, implementing security monitoring processes and other industry-leading efforts, leaders can trust that their company is prepared to prevent and respond to any impending threats.
While cyberattacks cannot be 100% prevented, ProTech understands the importance of lowering the level of risk and establishing a recovery plan that minimizes recovery time and maximizes data protection. If you’re looking for a team of security experts, contact the ProTech team. With a layered approach, it helps lower risks and keeps businesses and employees informed and protected.