Should small businesses worry about cybersecurity? As a business owner, you will ask yourself this and other questions about the threats facing your SMB. In this article, we make a high-level overview of cybersecurity in the context of small businesses.
Do small businesses need cybersecurity?
Absolutely. Small businesses need to have a robust cybersecurity strategy in place or face the consequences. In a world that is moving increasingly towards “everything digital,” not having protection against cyber-attacks will inevitably lead your business to be a victim of cybercriminals since it will be completely exposed. Simply put, today, you should think of cybersecurity as an insurance policy, a layer of protection that minimizes your business’s online risk.
Why? According to the SEC (United States Securities and Exchange Commission), cybercrime represents a very real and very serious threat to SMBs.
How do cyber-attacks affect small businesses?
Now, you may be hesitant to invest in cybersecurity; after all, what is the chance of a hacker targeting your business? Well, the good news is that you’re not the only one who thinks that way. According to Corvus Insurance, 47% of businesses with less than 50 employees lack a cybersecurity budget. The bad news is that, according to Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report, in 2021 alone, 61% of SMBs were victims of cyber-attacks.
Now, let’s be completely honest. Having protection mechanisms against cyber-attacks does not guarantee that your SMB will not be hacked. That said, being completely exposed, without any protection, makes your business easy prey for cybercriminals.
So, it’s a matter of probability. Does having security cameras and a sophisticated alarm system guarantee your business will not be robbed? No, but at least it persuades a lot of criminals to try it, especially if there are unprotected businesses they can attack.
Something similar happens in the digital world, but with a difference that you should know about. Unlike theft, cybercriminals have the advantage of having “bots,” small programs that scour the web looking for easy targets.
Imagine now that one of those bots that work 24/7 finds your business. In this scenario, you would be targeted by hackers who could steal your customer data or, worse, your bank credentials. How much do you think you can lose due to a cyber-attack? To give you an idea, according to the testimony of Dr. Jane LeClair, Chief Operating Officer, National Cybersecurity Institute at Excelsior College, before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business, 60 percent of small firms go out of business within six months of a data breach. Terrifying, isn’t it?
At this point, you must have a lot to think about, especially if your business is not protected against cyber-attacks. So, let’s review what risks your business is exposed to, shall we?
What are the most common cybersecurity threats for small businesses?
Discussing the types of cyber threats in-depth is beyond this article’s scope. So we will list the most common cybersecurity threats for small businesses and briefly describe each.
- Social engineering threats. The rise of social networks in the last decades has opened the doors for cybercriminals to this type of fraud, where they use sophisticated techniques to deceive their victims and make them reveal sensitive information such as credentials and personal data. Common attacks include phishing, caller ID spoofing, and website spoofing. The serious thing about this type of attack is that it can go unnoticed even by the most cautious since the messages, phone calls, and web pages created by cybercriminals are identical to the original ones.
- Malware. Malware is a kind of software that installs on your device stealthily, usually when you click on an email attachment or access free games or dubious promotions on the web. Among the most common type of malware is ransomware, which locks your device, or even your entire network, until you agree to pay a ransom. A popular variation is to steal confidential information, which will be returned in exchange for money.
- Man in the middle. As the name suggests, man-in-the-middle attacks
- involve a criminal intercepting your network traffic to steal credentials or stealthily accessing your system. Generally, this is achieved by accessing your WiFi network, which can be done from outside your business.
- Other attacks. The list of attacks your SMB is exposed to also includes cross-site scripting, HTTP flood, zero-day exploits, denial of service, SQL injection, and more.
With a clearer picture of the need to protect your SMB against cyber-attacks, and the different threats your business faces, the question that should be on your mind is, what can I do about it? Let’s get to it.
How can you protect your SMB from cyberattacks?
You may have realized that addressing the cybersecurity of an SMB goes beyond installing an antivirus. Don’t get us wrong; your business will need an antivirus, a firewall, and other defensive measures. Our point is that cybersecurity encompasses other aspects that most businesses overlook.
Going back to the Verizon study, 82% of breaches involve Human Elements, including Social Attacks, Errors, and Misuse. That is why we say that it is not enough to have antivirus on every workstation; if your staff is unaware of how phishing attacks work, they can be easy prey. This leads us to cybersecurity assessments, the most effective solution to protect your business.
Cybersecurity assessment, also known as technology assessment, is an in-depth diagnosis of your business’s IT infrastructure. This diagnosis is performed by certified security professionals such as Quadrillion Tech Solutions engineers. This type of solution addresses cybersecurity holistically, determining the weak points in your IT infrastructure but also diagnosing the level of preparation and knowledge of your staff. Furthermore, at Quadrillion Tech Solutions, we do not just carry out the cybersecurity risk assessment, but we also provide you with tailored solutions.
In short, in an environment where cyber threats abound, our Certified Cyber Security Specialists are your best allies to keep your SMB secure. Call us today and schedule an appointment. We will gladly answer all your questions.
About the Author
Hans Patrick Domercant
Founder and CEO of Quadrillion Tech Solutions LLC