Nobody likes to worry. As a small business owner, you already have a lot on your plate, and the last thing you need is to add more to it. However, you also don’t want to ignore anything that can have a dramatic impact on your ability to operate.
If you’re paying attention to the news, then it’s practically guaranteed that you’ve read about recent high-profile cyberattacks, such as the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, or the T-Mobile data breach. Clearly, large organizations need to worry about cybersecurity, but what about small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)? The answer may surprise you.
Small Business Owners Underestimate the Threats They Face
Cyberattacks on SMBs rarely ever make the news, so most business owners don’t really think about them or see them as a reason for concern.
A small business survey from CNBC and Momentive has recently revealed that 56 percent of America’s small business owners are not concerned about being the victim of a hack in the next 12 months, with 24 percent of those saying that they are “not concerned at all.”
What’s more, most small business owners believe that they would be able to quickly resolve any cyberattack and resume normal operation without experiencing a prolonged downtime. Unfortunately, real-world cybersecurity statistics tell a different story.
According to the 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, small businesses represented 43 percent of data breaches in 2019. A year later, the Coveware Quarterly Ransomware Report revealed that 55 percent of ransomware attacks had taken place against companies with fewer than 100 employees.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the average total cost of a data breach increased by nearly 10 percent, reaching $4.24 million in 2021. The huge number explains why 60 percent of SMBs that experience a cybersecurity incident go out of business within six months.
Clearly, small business owners can’t afford to ignore cybersecurity, believing that it’s something only large enterprises need to worry about. Instead, they must go the extra mile to understand what makes them such lucrative targets and learn what they can do about it.
SMBs Have More Valuable Information Than They Believe
While some cybercriminals are still motivated by the thrill of successfully overcoming cybersecurity defenses just so they can prove to themselves that they have what it takes to do so, most have financial motives.
Even though SMBs don’t store the personal information of millions of customers, like so many large enterprises do, they still have a treasure trove of data on their computers and servers, such as employee names, addresses, and social security numbers, sales data, and sensitive business contracts.
Cybercriminals have several options on how to use all this data to make money. They can threaten to make it inaccessible unless a ransom is paid, sell it to other criminals on the dark web, or use it to breach other companies.
Since only 28 percent of SMBs have a cybersecurity response plan in place, cybercriminals who decide to go after SMBs seldom leave empty-handed.
It’s Time to Take Small Business Cybersecurity Seriously
If you’re among the small business owners who have so far been ignoring cybersecurity, or at least not giving it the attention it deserves, then it’s time for a change.
These days, SMBs don’t have to spend a huge amount of money to significantly improve their cybersecurity posture. Cybersecurity basics such as multi-factor authentication, endpoint protection, security awareness training, patch management, data encryption, or vulnerability scanning can be implemented quickly and cost effectively.
To avoid hiring in-house IT staff and dealing with the associated costs and other downsides, SMBs can partner with managed services providers (MSPs) specializing in cybersecurity, such as us at Aligned Technology Solutions.
The best MSPs offer comprehensive protection at a predictable price, typically relying on per device or per user pricing models. As a small business owner, all you need to do is select the right technology partner and let them help you upgrade your defenses to prevent today’s cyber threats from causing a costly cybersecurity incident.
In 2021, no company is too small to escape the attention of cybercriminals. In fact, SMBs are becoming the targets of more and more cyberattacks because they underestimate the risk they face and don’t give cybersecurity the priority it needs to have. Needless to say, SMBs need to start taking cybersecurity seriously, and contacting us at Aligned Technology Solutions is a great first step.