Every time the cybersecurity industry takes a step forward, the network of criminals we’re battling takes one, too. It’s a constant dance of adaptation, changing strategies, technology and tactics as each side tries to outsmart and outpace the other. How can a small business with few resources protect itself, and what may be at stake if it can’t keep up?
Cybercriminals Target the Vulnerable
Hackers go after both small start-ups and massive Fortune 500 businesses. They're predators, searching for exploitable weaknesses. And like predators, it’s often not about the size of the target, but rather the ease of capture. Of all the successful attacks that are reported, small businesses make up 58% of the victims.
A company that doesn't think it can afford to invest in cybersecurity may be as easy to infiltrate as an individual on an unprotected computer—but with a lot more capital on the line. In a similar vein, companies that haven't upgraded their systems in years undoubtedly have vulnerabilities a criminal can exploit.
So why is cybersecurity so important for small businesses? Because they need it more than most.
Some factors can make you a more appealing target than others. This is by no means exhaustive or exclusive, but it’s a good starting point:
- Does your business use email?
- Does your business process credit cards or store personal information electronically?
- What about online banking and electronic deposits?
- If your business got hit by ransomware today and you lost all electronic records, would that be a problem?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you need to take a serious look at what cybersecurity protections you have in place, and how well they work.
Phishing Scams Allow Hackers In
Many businesses install antivirus and a firewall and think that they’re done, that they’re all covered on the cybersecurity front. But that’s really just the beginning of a good defense.
No matter how good a company’s cybersecurity system might be, any employee at any level can fall for a phishing scam if they’re not trained and on guard. Hackers can make near-identical versions of company pages to steal log-in info, send infected attachments from familiar email addresses, and more. But once employees understand the potential strategies criminals might use, your team becomes a human firewall—an asset to your security system rather than a liability.
As they say, a safe is only as secure as the key-holder.
New Threats Are Introduced Daily
Ransomware was first introduced in 1989, but it didn't become a well-known method of digital extortion until the mid-2000s. Most of us have heard about (or maybe seen personally) the popup message that locks your computer and threatens to erase everything unless the owner pays a fee. This insidious strategy has graduated to the Cloud, truly deleting all the data you thought was backed up. Cybersecurity consulting for small business can keep your systems adaptive and updated to address not only current threats, but also tomorrow’s.
What's at Stake
Any sort of data breach can be financially devastating and labor intensive. According to the 2019 IBM-sponsored Cost of a Data Breach Study by Ponemon, not only is the global average cost of a data breach almost $4 million, but the costs climb higher every year. What's more, that average cost can be significantly higher depending on the business’ location and industry. For example, a data breach of a U.S.-based company costs an average of $8.19 million. You may thinking, “I’m a small business; there’s no way a breach would cost me millions!” You may be right, but for a small-to-medium business, the average cost per breach is $149,000—still enough to completely sink small companies.
What to Do Next
To keep your business from becoming another cybersecurity statistic, here are three steps you can take:
- Turn on multi-factor authentication today. Here’s why and how.
- Learn how to identify phishing emails. Here and here are good examples of what to watch out for. You can also hire a third-party firm like SOCBOX to conduct a phishing campaign for your organization to see how good your team is at identifying and repelling a phishing attack.
- Give SOCBOX a call for a free consultation. We provide managed security services to show the best ways to seamlessly integrate security measures, employee awareness training, and ongoing maintenance to protect your network without interrupting your normal operations.
As a team that's been brought in after a breach has already happened, we can say with confidence that needing cybersecurity and not having it is a lot more expensive than protecting yourself against a breach to begin with. Talk with our cybersecurity team today about protecting your business!