It is National Small Business Week in the USA - a good time to publicly discuss the fact that most small businesses do not have adequate cybersecurity in place, despite the fact that cyberattackers are increasingly targeting small businesses, and, the fact that small businesses often suffer consequences far worse than do their larger counterparts in the event of a breach. Of course, big businesses are also a target - as evidenced by regular news stories of breaches.
If you own or work for a small business here are six things to consider:
1. Approximately half of all cyber attacks target small business.
Please see my article from earlier this year entitled Small Businesses Beware: Half of all Cyber-Attacks Target You for more details as to how and why this is true. As Bill Conner, President and CEO of cybersecurity vendor, SonicWall, points out, this is especially scary because "while small to medium-size businesses are increasingly becoming targets, they often lack in-house expertise to keep their infrastructure secure. Many are extremely shorthanded when it comes to having the resources on hand to address these new advanced threats."
2. The damage to small businesses after a breach can be severe.
According to some reports, many small businesses literally fail as the result of the fallout of a cyber-breach.
3. Many small businesses provide no cybersecurity training to employees.
According a recent poll by security firm ESET, about a third of small and medium size businesses do not provide employees with cybersecurity training. It is hard to stay secure when people do not know what doing so entails.
4. The cost of security to a small business need not be as high as many people assume.
If you understand that you are a target, you have already taken the first step. People who believe that criminals want to breach their computers and phones act differently than people who don't understand this reality. To help you, here are 13 tips to improve cybersecurity at small businesses without spending a fortune.
5. Paying ransomware ransoms often won't get a business its data back.
In recent months, more than half of the small and medium sized businesses that paid ransoms when hit with ransomware may not have received their data back. Without proper protection, data can be lost forever. How well would your business function if it lost all of its data?
6. Small business insecurity can impact big businesses and make the news.
Hackers are believed to have penetrated Target by first breaching a small HVAC contractor doing work for the giant retailer. What would happen to your business and career if something similar happened to you?
This Small Business Week, if you own, work for, or run a small business, and are not already doing so, consider making cybersecurity a priority going forward.