Size Doesn’t Matter: Why Your Small Business is a Cybercrime Target

small businessIn a world of rampant cybercrime, hackers thrive on the blind faith of their targets. Despite high-profile digital security breaches in the news nearly every week, most people assume their small business is safe from attack.

Fortune 500 corporations like J.P. Morgan, Sony, Tesco Bank and Target have lost millions of dollars in data breaches in recent years. So the thinking goes that “my business is far too small to justify a hacker’s attention.”

Right?

Wrong. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. According to StaySafeOnline.org, cybercrime attacks on small businesses now account for over 70% of data breaches. It’s a number that appears to be on the rise. Close to half of small businesses have been compromised, ransomware attacks alone have skyrocketed a whopping 250% since 2016, and incidents of phishing have followed suit, as reported by Media Planet.

Owners of small businesses might be excused for erroneously believing themselves safe. After all, there are hundreds of little guys paying out thousands of dollars in digital ransoms each and every day. That’s a lot less newsworthy than the CIA’s hacking by the mysterious Shadow Brokers, or the 143 million customer records stolen from Equifax. The lack of visibility of the more frequent, smaller-profile incidents can lull us into a dangerous false sense of security.

But why would a team of hackers target a small-town operation when they could hit a giant like Google? Well, imagine a bank in the center of a busy downtown, packed with security guards and high-tech theft prevention equipment. Now imagine a house in an affluent part of the city, which the owners keep unlocked while they’re on vacation. Which building is a petty thief more likely to target?

Make no mistake that these hacker gangs aren’t boosting a couple flat screens and a box of jewelry. They’re gutting small businesses with ransoms that stretch to the edge of their means—even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Of course, any small business owner will struggle to afford the security measures implemented by giant corporations. However, there is a balance to be struck between affordability and vulnerability. With a little research, it’s quite easy to find plenty of robust, comprehensive digital security solutions to protect your company. Such programs can turn your business from low-hanging fruit into an impenetrable fortress.

There are several minimum safeguards you should put in place as a responsible small business owner:

  • A robust firewall with advanced threat management
  • Antivirus software on every device that can be centrally managed
  • Enterprise grade data backups with local and remote storage (check the status daily, test monthly)
  • An enforceable password policy that uses passphrases of more than 16 characters
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Proactive maintenance program to ensure all your computers are updated regularly
  • Cybersecurity awareness training for all staff

Even if you’ve made it this far without a data breach, hackers will likely target your small business eventually. With that in mind, it’s important to be prepared. Just because your car hasn’t broken down since you bought it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t regularly change the oil and invest in car insurance.

Like your car, your network security requires regular maintenance and upkeep to stay effective. If you install bargain security software and forget it, you’re only slightly safer than you were before installing the barrier in the first place.

Cybersecurity isn’t something you purchase to check a box and give yourself imaginary peace of mind. It’s an investment in your company’s future, the safety of your customers and the longevity of your livelihood. If your business isn’t too small to attract the attacks of hackers—and we guarantee it isn’t—then it’s certainly precious enough to protect.

Cybercriminals will come for your small business one day. If you’re equipped with up-to-date, powerful security protocols, you can rest easy knowing they’ll go away empty handed.  James Moore’s TSC consultants can help you find high-quality solutions that fit your small business budget.

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