Cybersecurity attacks can cause irreversible, long-term damage to your business, and no business is entirely safe from them. Even big companies such as Nintendo and Twitter have fallen victim to cyber-attacks. However, small businesses are uniquely at risk and will very rarely make it to the media outlets. Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found that a whopping 43% of breaches happened to small businesses. Cybersecurity is essential for any business, however, it is especially important for small businesses, and here’s why.
1. Small Business Cyber Attacks Are Common
It is easy to fall into the mindset of thinking, ‘Oh, it will never happen to me’ or ‘What are the chances it would actually happen to my business?’. Thinking like this is very dangerous because the chances of a cyberattack on your small business are actually very high. In 2019 the Keeper Security and the Ponemon Institute conducted a study that found that the number of small and medium businesses enduring data breaches had increased to 63%. This is a significant increase, as the percentage was 58% in 2018.
By the look of these statistics, cyberattacks are on the rise, and their interest is becoming more and more focused on the smaller to medium-sized businesses.
2. Small Businesses Are Vulnerable
Small businesses are very vulnerable to cyberattacks, and the risk of an attack is increasing significantly. Ultimately, small businesses are more vulnerable to cyberattacks for several reasons. Partly because there’s less training on cybersecurity and partly because they have less money to invest in IT support and services that can help to protect them; having good IT support and services available to your small business are so important in preventing a cybersecurity attack. They can provide consultation, information and implement software to make your business more secure.
3. Damage Is Harder To Undo
A cyberattack has the potential to cause fatal damages to small businesses. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency found that 60% of companies that experienced a cyberattack had to close down within six months following the attack. These statistics are extremely alarming for small business owners. Cyberattacks will not only cost your money, but they can cost you your reputation and the trust of your customers.
A high percentage of cyberattacks take the form of a phishing scam, which makes the hacker send legitimate-looking emails and texts directly to their victims, a link that allows the hacker to steal vital information such as company passwords. Once the hacker is in, it is very difficult to secure your system without having to spend extortionate amounts.
4. Cyberattacks Can Be Very Costly
Cyberattacks can be extremely costly for a small business, and a Hiscox survey has confirmed this in a survey that found cyberattacks on small businesses cost up to $188,000. A lot of small businesses simply do not have this kind of money, and so it is quite common for small businesses to go bankrupt after an attack. Even if you do not go bankrupt and manage to survive your attack, you will have a long road ahead of you trying to revive your business. If you look to investors for funding to help you, you are going to have a hard time convincing the investors that your company is secure and not a data-breaching risk.
What You Can Do
Cyberattacks are very daunting to any business owner, but there are several things you can do to try and protect yourself from malicious hackers. Firstly, you should provide cybersecurity training for all your employees. This way, they know what to look for, and if an employee detects any kind of suspicious behavior, your business will be able to act fast and be able to stamp it out before the hacker gets in. Secondly, make sure you implement strong firewalls as a firewall can stop hackers from accessing important data on a network.
Thirdly, make sure you use strong passwords! This is such an easy preventative method, yet people fall victim to using easy passwords time and time again. A shocking 83% of people use the same password for multiple platforms, and this is a hacker’s dream.
If small businesses wish to succeed and stand out among their competition, then they should allocate some investment to cybersecurity. This doesn’t mean forking out tonnes of money, but more taking the time to implement easy measures that can have a big impact. As previously mentioned, a simple task such as using strong passwords can go a long way! Making sure your business is using cybersecurity best practices will make you far less vulnerable to what could be a fatal attack.