Hackers don’t go after small businesses because they are targeted less than major corporations, right? Wrong. Though big businesses have their fair share of hacking attempts, there are just as many, if not more, on small companies. This is because hackers know that small businesses have fewer resources and often don’t put as much emphasis on security. That makes credit card numbers, secure information, and customer data theirs for the taking.
Small businesses often think themselves impervious to cyber security risks because they have less valuable information and resources than large businesses. It’s true that small businesses don’t have millions of credit card numbers on file like big box stores, but they have enough information that they’re a target. Small businesses should recognize the risks that face their organizations.
50 percent of small to mid-size businesses have experienced a breach in the last year.
This information comes from a report by Keeper Security and the Ponemon Institute. The report also shows that the most prevalent attacks are web-based. Other research from the 2016 Internet Security Threat Report by Symantec revealed that phishing campaigns and similar cyber-attacks target small to mid-size businesses 43 percent of the time.
These are very significant statistics because five years ago, cyber-attacks targeted small businesses only 18 percent of the time. In the span of half a decade, hackers, malware, and other attacks have become smarter, recognizing that small businesses with few security measures are easy targets. This should have business owners very concerned.
Data loss is expensive and possibly condemning.
Some businesses are forced to shut down after they lose data because the cost is too much for them to handle. Lost data comes with customer abandonment, legal fees, and compensation costs that many small businesses are not prepared for. According to information from IBM, the average cost of a lost or stolen record across all industries is $154.
Research from Boston Computing Network reveals that 60 percent of companies that lose data will shut down within six months of the incident. This is a cost that most small businesses can’t front.
Employee mistakes are the most common cyber security concerns.
These errors make up 80 percent of security-related incidents in the workplace. Sometimes, employees will attack the company intentionally for personal gain or to fulfill an act of revenge for past misdeeds, but most of the time, it’s the result of poor training.
Ignorant employees might download content from a dirty website that comes with malware to corrupt your files. They might also give out information to unauthorized personnel, send an unencrypted email containing sensitive information, connect to insecure Wi-Fi, or fail to use a secure password. These mistakes make it easy for malware, phishing bots, and hackers to penetrate your defenses.
Simple online security steps can change everything.
As mentioned previously, attacks occur frequently for small businesses because hackers know they’re easy targets. To take that target off your back, you can do the following:
- Educate your employees. Train them on proper cyber security and information storing processes to prevent mistakes.
- Practice an incident response time. Every data breach doesn’t result in lost or stolen data. Those that survive have a response plan that protects information before it gets into the wrong hands.
- Encrypt your email. This prevents unauthorized people from reading the email, even if they’re able to apprehend it.
- Update your software. Installing patches and filling security holes will eliminate weaknesses your cyber enemies are sure to exploit.
These are just a few of the many cyber security implementations that can save your business from certain destruction. Don’t underestimate the power of your online enemies and work on protecting your business online as soon as possible.