Nearly half of the existing small businesses are prone to a severe cyber-attack and implementing cyber security becomes unavoidable.
Small businesses worldwide generally have a moderate quantity of data with the minimum possible security measures in place, and thus are a lucrative option for hackers. They can utilize the stolen data to steal from many other enterprises.
When you are not well prepared for a cyber-attack your business becomes more vulnerable. Hackers can grab employee details, money, vendor information and other customer data. A data breach will cost your business its reputation in the market and will hamper your relationship with customers, vendors and valuable employees. As per records, more than half of the small businesses that are subject to a cyber-attack have been shut down within six months.
Elaborating on Why Every Small Business Needs Cybersecurity:
1- Keeping Valuable Information Intact
For hackers, the valuable information and innovative ideas that small businesses possess in their data bank are a big treasure trove. Businesses are in possession of vital information like debit and credit card details, which are a treat for hackers worldwide. Other targets for exploitation are the intellectual property and innovative ideas that start-ups are in possession of.
During an interview, Scott Merkle, Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing at OverWatchID, spoke about his experience with hackers:
“OverWatchID is working with a small business (a 15-person managed service provider, or MSP, in Southern California). This small business, in turn, serves about 100 small businesses in the area. The firm assumed that they didn’t need any form of identity security because of their relatively small size. Unfortunately, the engineers at this firm were spearfished, and their credentials were entirely compromised. The result: the bad actor then entered the systems for the company and all of its clients, encrypted hard drives, deleted files, and charged around $50K as ransomware.”
Information in your data bank is a very valuable asset that every hacker wishes to seek, and deploying security measures to protect it should stand as a top priority.
2- Hackers Are Always on the Look Out
Threat actors are always hunting for vulnerable data, which translates into the fact that a small business’s network, server, website, etc. are subject to an attack if left inappropriately exposed to danger. As per a research carried out by Trend Micro, 3.5 new cyber breaches occur every second, which stands as an amplified threat to start-ups. Established organizations have high-end security systems in place and are safer than a small business that has nil to poor security arrangements for their data banks.
Security Engineer at Velo IT Group, Brian Trahan states that “Small businesses need to be conscientious of cybersecurity because they are the target now. It used to be that major companies were lax in their security measure and presented big paydays for cybercriminals. Now, those companies have spent billions of dollars to avoid data loss and the negative publicity that comes with it. Cybercriminals have changed their focus to those that are easier targets, mainly small businesses.”
He continued to say: “I have had people ask me why they would be getting a phishing attempt or message trying to convince them to send money to an unknown entity. The answer is that it is very cheap to send those requests to thousands of people and there will be people who end up sending them money or giving them access to sensitive data. Small businesses often don’t see the benefit in spending money to protect against a threat that is foreign to them. Cybersecurity is like insurance: you hope to never need it, and it can be expensive, but if you need it, you can’t afford to not have it. The protection proper cybersecurity provides isn’t just for you, but those you do business with. We have seen people receive emails from business associates that were malicious because the business associate didn’t implement or follow cybersecurity protocols. In brief, being a small target isn’t a defense, and the cost of not protecting your data is far more than what cybersecurity will cost.”
3- The Utility of Big Data and Mobile Apps
Cyber attacks are on the rise due to the increased use of web apps, big data and mobile apps. Many small businesses indulge in e-commerce ventures and online business via web platforms and mobile apps. Consequently, securing these platforms should be a top priority, however, budding entrepreneurs are too busy trying to get their business up and running and tend to overlook this very essential aspect.
For the sake of convenience, usually, business emails are configured on personal emails. As a matter of fact, once these people leave the protected zone of their company network, they are prone to fall prey to hackers. Getting connected to a Public Wi-Fi sans a VPN is very much like inviting hackers to steal data.
4- Cloud-based Services
Due to its unmatched utility and affordability, small businesses are readily jumping onto Cloud services. Nevertheless, hackers always outsmart the latest technology and cyber attacks on Cloud services are on the rise. A report by Intel Security, named “McAfee Labs 2017 Threats Predictions Report” has stated that in 2017 and 2018, security threats to Cloud-based services would potentially increase, thereby placing small businesses and start-ups under the radar.
This list does not really end here. There are innumerable ways in which a hacker can target the data bank of small businesses.
Erich Kron, Security Awareness Advocate at KnowBe4 has stated that“Even small businesses sometimes handle or have access to larger amounts of money. Just this year, attackers were able to take over the email account of an employee at a real estate title company. The attackers waited patiently, reading the emails coming to and from the employee until the request came to transfer escrow funds. After the transfer of funds was requested, the attacker, using the compromised email account, immediately sent a message back to the sender correcting the account number in the previous message. This resulted in around $500,000 being redirected to the attacker’s bank account.”
He further went on to say: “While small businesses are becoming a bigger target, they are also agile enough to prevent some of the attacks more effectively than in larger organizations. For example, in a small organization, a request from the CEO to transfer funds is often easier to verify by picking up the phone and calling the CEO directly, than in larger organizations.”
As the Law of the Jungle States, “Survival of the Fittest”, only those organizations will thrive in this environment that is capable of identifying potential threats and have security measures in place to deal with them.