The Rise of Cybersecurity Threats Facing Small Businesses
Too many small business owners believe their business is an unlikely target for a cyberattack. They believe themselves to be too small, too unnoticeable, or too inconsequential to have to worry about cybersecurity.
But in reality, 43 percent of all attacks are aimed at small businesses, and the average breach can cost even a small company $200,000 or more. It’s much likelier than you think that your small business could be the victim of an attack, and even a single breach could end up bankrupting you. To make matters worse, the number of cyberattacks throughout the world is on the rise—making small businesses even more vulnerable.
Why Small Businesses Are Common Targets
Why are small businesses such common targets of cyberattacks?
There are a few factors in play here. For starters, small businesses tend to be more lucrative targets than individuals, with access to more data and resources. At the same time, they tend to be much less protected than large organizations; in other words, they’re easy to break into, making them prime targets for opportunists.
The Rise in Attacks
The number and cost of cyberattacks are both rising, but why? Again, there are several factors in play. First, the number of potential targets is multiplying, giving clever cybercriminals free range to find easy targets. Second, internet access is spreading , and local laws can’t keep up; hackers from all over the world can target your business, and feel safe that their own government won’t pursue them. Third, attacks are becoming bigger and potentially more valuable, with more data and money at stake.
Common Types of Attacks
There are many types of attacks your business could experience, including a brute force data breach, a DDoS attack, or a virus. However, the majority of cyberattacks are the result of bad security practices or foolish employees; if a single person is tricked into giving up their password, or if their password is easy to guess, even an unskilled “hacker” can gain access to your systems.
How to Protect Your Business
Fortunately, there are a few easy steps you can take to protect your business, including:
- Invest in an IT team. Work with a professional team of IT experts to audit your systems and make recommendations for cybersecurity.
- Choose the right products. Investigate every device and software product you use for structural integrity.
- Keep your software updated. While you’re at it, keep all your tech updated to the latest version.
- Educate and train your staff. Teach your staff members about common schemes, and train them on best practices (like choosing strong passwords).
- Segment access. Restrict access to data and accounts as much as possible, even within your employees.
- Always keep backups. In case you do face an attack, always keep backups of your systems and data.
If you own a small business, you need to take cybersecurity threats seriously. Even a modest investment in your tech infrastructure and company policies can guard you against the majority of potential attacks, so there’s no excuse not to make it.