How to Prepare Your SMB from Rising Cybersecurity Threats

Cybersecurity Threats

Since 2004, the President of the United States and Congress declared the month of October to be Cybersecurity Awareness Month – helping people stay safe and secure online.  During this time, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cybersecurity Alliance collaborate to raise digital security awareness – both nationally and internationally. Our experts at Aligned Technology Solutions are joining this year’s campaign efforts to help you mitigate the digital threats your business faces.

We will be sharing expert tips and information with you throughout the month of October via social media, email, and more to help you and your business become more secure. Read on to learn more about what cybersecurity is, why it’s important to your small and medium-sized business (SMB), and how to begin implementing cybersecurity best practices.

What is Cybersecurity?

According to CISA, “Cybersecurity is the act of protecting networks, devices, and data from unauthorized access or criminal use and the practice of ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.” Some common cyber threats you might be familiar with include:

  • Phishing
  • Ransomware
  • Malware

These attacks are aimed at accessing, changing, or destroying information; attempting to force money from individuals through ransomware; or interrupting normal activities. Since COVID-19 started, these already prevalent threats have steadily been on the rise.

4 Cyber Threat Statistics You Need to Know

Many people are unaware how at risk they are of being impacted by digital threats; however, examining a small sample of cyber attack statistics demonstrates their prevalence in our daily lives. Here are four shocking facts you need to know.

  1. 65% of Americans who went online received at least one online scam offer (AARP, “Caught in the Scammer’s Net: Risk Factors That May Lead to Becoming an Internet Fraud Victim,” 2014).
  2. 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses (CISA, “Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2021: Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart,” 2021).
  3. A cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds (CISA, “Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2021: Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart,” 2021).
  4. 1 in 3 homes with computers are infected with malicious software (Microsoft Security Intelligence Report and Consumer Reports).

Why Small and Medium-sized Businesses Must Have Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is not an option in today’s digital environment. The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) states that it’s crucial “that everyone knows the cybersecurity basics to help keep organizations, as a whole, safe and secure.” This is because everyone is at risk of becoming a victim of a cyberattack whether they are at home, school, or work.

Therefore, every small and medium-sized business (SMB) must have an effective cybersecurity plan in place to be resilient in today’s digital environment. Not doing so puts your organization at risk of a myriad of dangers such as:

  • Financial loss
  • Reputational damage
  • Loss of sensitive data
  • Regulatory penalties
  • Productivity loss

3 Small Business Cyber Attack Examples

We are accustomed to seeing news articles surrounding cyber attacks on large businesses; however, this does not mean that small and medium-sized businesses are safe. A global survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute in 2018, found that 45% of the 2,000 SMB respondents believed their IT posture was ineffective. Even worse, 39% reported that they did not have an incident response plan in place. Due to their lack of protection, 69% of US-based businesses reported an incident involving the loss of sensitive employee and customer information.

Since many small businesses do not have the means to implement their own systems to protect themselves, they become the perfect target. Here are the impacts of three cyber attacks on SMBs.

In late 2011, a Kansas car dealership fell victim to a data-stealing trojan where cybercriminals stole $63k from Green Ford Sales. The company’s bank was able to recover all but $23k of the stolen money, but not every business is this fortunate.

Wright Hotels, a real estate investment and development firm, lost $1 million after cyber criminals acquired access to a company email account using a common phishing attack.

A Trojan attack on PATCO Construction, a Maine-based residential construction firm, cost the business approximately $588k.

The detrimental impacts that cyber threats have on privacy, financial stability, safety, and credibility can be mitigated. So what steps can you take to make your SMB safer in the digital realm?

How to Protect Your Small Business from a Cyber Threat

One of the most beneficial ways that you can protect your business is by being proactive and ensuring that everyone on your team has training and access to cybersecurity best practices. According to Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report, 82% of breaches involved the human element – including misuse, social attacks, and errors. The effects of a data breach can be so devastating that 60% of small companies go out of business within six months of a cyber attack.

These facts exemplify just how important it is to train all your employees on cybersecurity and keep them up to date with current cyber threat trends. This is not only because digital threats are becoming more prevalent, but because many of these attacks target people within your organization – hoping to catch them unaware.

This makes informed personnel an indispensable line of defense in mitigating attacks on your business. Possessing a proactive mindset regarding cybersecurity will help prevent malicious attempts to access or damage computers and network systems from taking hold – thus protecting the future of your organization.

Download our FREE eBook, The Why’s and How’s of an Engaging Cybersecurity Awareness Training Program, to discover how you can design and implement a cybersecurity awareness training program that engages your employees and make them more likely to become advocates of cybersecurity.

FREE Webinar: Learn About CMMC Compliance from Industry Experts

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Industry experts at Aligned Technology Solutions are dedicated to helping you be Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) compliant. Gar Whaley, Aligned Cofounder, and Justin Weeks, Aligned VP of Cybersecurity & Compliance, are hosting a free webinar introducing what CMMC is as well as answering frequently asked questions regarding CMMC compliance. Don’t miss out on this informative webinar!

Register Now

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