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Small businesses are the life blood of many communities. As their namesake suggests, they are small in nature but a very crucial part of the larger global economy. However, they do not always have the resources to protect themselves against big threats such as cybercriminals and the ensuing data breaches.
Cybersecurity is a very real issue among the small business community. Inc. Magazine reported on a Verizon Data Breach Report that found over 70 percent of all information breaches happened against companies with less than 100 staff members. Small businesses are increasingly being targeted by hackers and the effects can be devastating. According to the source, the average cost of a hacking event is $36,000. This may seem like chump change to big corporations, but to SMBs the amount is enough to cripple a business altogether.
“Employees are the single biggest threat to small business security.”
The threats are not only external. While it is more likely than not an accident, employees are the single biggest threat to SMB security. Verizon found that there is a 100 percent chance that one out of every four people will click on a link from a malicious email – exposing the system to all sorts of cyber threats. The stats are daunting when they are listed side by side. Small businesses are under attack. But what motivates hackers to target these little companies? Let’s find out.
1. Small businesses are less prepared: Many small business owners are under the impression that big breaches don’t happen to companies like theirs, explained Tech Co. contributor Joey Song. It is a big and often fatal misunderstanding to make.The notion that small businesses don’t get attacked is just not true and the data proves it. However, this very mentality is what prevents these businesses from being prepared for cyber attacks when they do occur. This makes small businesses a prime target for hackers. They don’t believe it will happen to them so they fail to even see the signs when a cyber threat is approaching.
2. The infrastructure is lacking: There are hundreds of reasons why SMBs do not have the proper infrastructure in place. Whether it is a denial that cyber threats could affect their company or a lack of willingness to invest the money into the proper systems, the fact of the matter is that small businesses just don’t have the right protection in place. This makes the SMB market a gold mine for hackers. Why try to break into a house with a security system when the place next door left their doors unlocked? This is the mentality for hackers taking on small businesses today. There are less hoops to jump through compared to a bigger corporation, which makes their mission much easier.
Steps moving forward
It is abundantly clear why hackers look to SMBs today. They are easier targets with less infrastructure and largely without cybersecurity on their radar at all. This allows hackers to dig their nails in deep and often times do irreversible damage before they are even suspected at all. But just because the threats are real does not mean there is no way to protect small businesses from these cyber threats. Recognizing that cybersecurity is an issue is a big step forward in itself. But there are plenty more ways to minimize the risk of cyber attacks on an SMB.
Invest: The most obvious way to beef up cyber security measures is by making an investment in stronger infrastructure. This could take a couple of forms, according to The Wall Street Journal. For businesses really looking to go big, outsourcing cybersecurity could be a great option. While some providers are on the pricier side, this option can provide small-business owners with considerable peace of mind knowing that professionals are watching out for potential threats and breaches. For SMBs looking to go a little smaller, investing in a clean up plan for preexisting systems can do a lot of good. The source noted that many applications’ open-source components can have as many as 4,000 vulnerabilities. A professional sweep of these systems can close a lot of potentially threatening gaps.
Insurance: There are many loopholes surrounding cybersecurity that allow banks to get away with no reimbursing a small business for losses due to data breaches. Taking out a cyberinsurance policy is a good way to safeguard a business’ funds. While this is not an end-all solution it is a necessity for SMBs looking to protect themselves in case of a cyber threat, explained WSJ.