When you own a small business, the majority of your time is usually spent focusing on growth, HR, marketing plans, and so on. But what too many small business owners tend to ignore is data breaches and the potential of cyber-attacks. Many company owners don’t realize the devastating impact that a cyber attack can have on their company, or assume their company is too small to be attacked. After all, what hackers would want to launch attacks on small, locally owned companies?
Unfortunately, small to medium sized companies actually make excellent targets for many hackers, scammers, and online criminals and there are three main reasons for this.
- Small business owners don’t believe their businesses are ever going to deal with a hack or attack.
Hackers know that most business owners don’t believe they are at risk and play on this. Most small business owners don’t recognize the risk that comes with lack of prevention which makes them easy prey for hackers. Not choosing to invest in company security comes with a cost. 63% of small businesses reported a data breach in the past 12 months with the average cost of insider-threat related incidents costs an average of $7.68 million.
Small businesses can be an easy target for hackers because they often don’t have properly managed IT. A lack of IT support is critical to prevention and your business is severely vulnerable without it. It is essential to have an IT professional either on-staff or on-call who is capable of protecting your business from the dangers lurking online.
Size really doesn’t matter, when it comes to what kind of company a hacker will target. What matters is how easily they can infiltrate and steal your information. The less likely a business is to have a strong security system, the more likely they are to fall victim to a hack or scam. What matters for hackers is the information you have and whether that’s valuable or not. If they see that your business has valuable data, they will attack you.
- General lack of preventative measures in place.
Verizon’s annual data breach investigations report noted that in 2020, 43% of breaches were the result of attacks on web applications (more than double the rate in 2019) and that 27% of malware incidents were due to ransomware. Both of these types of breaches are easily preventable when appropriate financial and personnel resources are directed to preventative measures.
Investing in security will save your small business both time and money in the long run, and your options include intrusion detection systems, firewalls, antivirus and anti-malware support, and host or network based intrusion systems that can provide multiple layers of protection and prevention. These are all fairly straightforward solutions and there are many cost-effective or bundled options available to small businesses.
But preventative measures don’t just include a good firewall and antivirus systems. While targeted criminal attacks are common, human negligence or lack of proper security training can also be a big culprit, so you also need to train your employees to be both aware of the risks and diligent in carrying out steps to secure your information. Human error can increase your company’s risk, so it’s important to train your staff on how to avoid phishing scams, falling victim to social engineering, SQL or malware injections, and other risks that require a thorough understanding to be properly prepared to handle.
Many of these risks and breaches are caused by unintentional bad habits. 75% of employees surveyed say that they sometimes leave their work station unsecured, and 29% of employees don’t believe that investing in cyber security is a company priority. If you surveyed your staff today, how many of them would admit to these bad habits or thought patterns?
As CEO, your company’s mindset around business security starts with you. In addition to investing financially in adding or upgrading your security systems, make sure to set aside time and resources to ensure that there is company-wide understanding and buy-in for the security measures you are setting in place.
- Ineffective detection.
Preventative measures only go so far and eventually most businesses will have a data breach. The goal is to detect and disarm them as quickly as possible, but even major companies like Verifone, Marriott, and Forever 21 have been affected by data breaches that were only discovered months after the fact.
Even when small businesses do know the risk and have the basic IT protection systems in place, small businesses often fail to detect breaches quickly. The more time a breach is open, the more of your private data thieves are able to steal. According to IBM, small businesses take 206 days to detect a breach on average. That’s a disturbing amount of time and the less robust a company’s IT infrastructure, the more time is added to that number. This means that hackers are incentivised to target companies with poor IT, which unfortunately means small to mid-sized businesses.
Again, this goes back to mindset. If you don’t believe that your small business is at risk, it may be easy to install basic security measures and move on. But a “set it and forget it” mindset isn’t sufficient and companies that don’t include detection measures are only increasing their risk. It’s kind of like tripping at the finish line. If you’re going to take the time and effort to install security systems, why not go the extra step and ensure that your security system is capable of predicting and detecting potential breaches?
Ineffective detection just gives hackers more time and leeway to steal your data, damage your business reputation, and ultimately cost you more in the long-run in terms of data recovery. There are many data breach security options available and they are well worth the investment in order to both detect and prevent future data breaches.
Don’t make the same mistakes that so many small businesses do by assuming that preventative measures are a waste of your resources. Set your small business ahead of the competition through high quality security measures that protect your company’s data.
Tech Masters is a team of IT professionals that know how to protect your business from all kinds of attacks. With over a decade of industry experience, Tech Masters know what steps need to be taken to protect companies like yours. Reach out to us today!
Original Article: https://www.yourtechmasters.com/why-hackers-target-small-businesses/
“Size really doesn’t matter, when it comes to what kind of company a hacker will target. “
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