“A data breach can cost a small business owner an average of $200,000, a cost that can put the company out of business.”
Cybersecurity for businesses is an essential investment for any business owner. Currently, cybercrimes are on the rise and causing adverse impacts on small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMBs), startups, and entrepreneurs. For example, almost half (43%) of all attacks targeted small businesses in 2019. Other reports show that 60% of small businesses shut their doors in less than six months after a data breach has occurred. As a result, businesses owners require cybersecurity services to protect customer data, critical IT infrastructure, and intellectual properties from digital theft.
Firstly, most startup owners underestimate the cyber risks to their digital assets on the notion that cybercriminals prefer targeting established corporations instead of SMBs. However, hackers target SMBs more due to several reasons. The primary reason is a large percentage of small business owners are underprepared for modern threats. In addition, inadequate cybersecurity technologies, poor employee practices, and inaccessibility to competent humans and physical resources cause small enterprises to be more vulnerable.
On the one hand, large corporations are ripe targets for cyber adversaries, but on the other, small businesses are softer targets. Hence, malicious actors can attack SMBs while the real target is a large third-party partner. For example, in the 2013 Target data breach, attackers broke into the corporation's network by compromising a smaller company with access to the network. Insufficient resources and cybersecurity knowledge will always place a target on the backs of small business owners.
Also, similar to large companies, small businesses are a goldmine of sensitive information. Many entrepreneurs accept mobile payments, online transactions, and the use of credit cards. Such financial records are always in demand in dark web forums for malicious use. Additionally, some small businesses may collect personally identifiable information to provide customer services. The data is pivotal for certain attacks, such as ransomware attacks, as hackers use the information for extortion and blackmail.
A data breach can cost a small business owner an average of $200,000, a cost that can put the company out of business. Other than financial losses, cyber-attacks can damage a business's reputation if the breach affects customer information. Other negative outcomes, such as agonizing legal processes and loss of confidential information, including intellectual properties, are some of the underlying reasons why entrepreneurs require robust cybersecurity safeguards.
Besides, startup owners have an obligation and a responsibility to implement adequate cybersecurity services to protect their clients. Furthermore, cybersecurity regulations require businesses to achieve a specific information security level to win the trust of suppliers, third-party partners, and customers. The following are the top benefits of cybersecurity services to a business:
Digital systems and internet-enabled devices often come with unique vulnerabilities and threats. Predicting information security threats facilitates rapid prevention to protect sensitive networks and data. Through cybersecurity services, small business owners can access competent experts experienced in rapid threat identification and neutralization. Besides, reliable cybersecurity services help businesses identify and classify sensitive data requiring more protection. As a result, it becomes easier to protect highly sensitive information from security risks and threats.
Digital technologies are integral to sustained business growth and access to new markets. As such, computers are widely used in many small businesses. However, malware-infested computers can be a nuisance due to constant hanging, hindering employees from working to their full potential. For example, cryptojacking attacks are where hackers infect a company's computer resources with malware created for mining cryptocurrencies remotely. Similar attacks can derail employee productivity due to issues like network downtime and unavailability. Through cybersecurity services, such as managed threat detection and prevention, startups can identify and remove harmful programs to ensure employees access optimized resources for higher productivity.
Internet of Things (IoT) technologies have become essential to driving business operations and service delivery. Nowadays, business owners permit employees to use various devices, among them being personal laptops, smartphones, and smart assistants, for work reasons. However, a BYOD policy allowing users to connect their devices to company networks increases the endpoints, thus expanding the attack surface. Therefore, business owners must adopt sufficient endpoint monitoring and control capabilities to determine trusted and rouge devices. In addition, due to limited budgets, SMBs may opt for managed endpoint security services to gain full visibility of all endpoints and control access to network resources.
A recent study on digital trust found that 88% of customers wouldn't engage businesses with untrusted digital safeguards, and39% indicated they would lose trust with a business if it becomes a data breach victim. Essentially, this implies that SMBs must demonstrate to their current and potential customers they have what it takes to secure their data. Developing customer trust means complying with relevant regulations, implementing industry-standard data monitoring tools, performing detailed cybersecurity audits, and deploying data access controls. Fortunately, cybersecurity services can enable businesses to develop and nurture trust with all customers. Cybersecurity services provide access to the required customer data protection procedures and mechanisms.
It is impractical for startups and SMBs to maintain a full in-house team that can respond to any threat. On the other hand, cybercriminals innovate more sophisticated malware variants and techniques to attack more businesses. In this case, outsourcing cybersecurity services provides access to a fully equipped and skilled cybersecurity team capable of responding to any threat. More importantly, outsourced cybersecurity services assure continuous monitoring to detect all security incidents in real-time. Ability to scale cybersecurity services also enables companies to adopt more technologies and practices to sustain business growth.
SMBs' financial muscle cannot match that of established companies. As such, small businesses will always have inferior cybersecurity procedures and tools, making them the most vulnerable to attacks and data breaches. Fortunately, managed cybersecurity services can level the playing field, enabling startups to enjoy the same security solutions as large organizations at a smaller cost. Then, business owners can channel other resources in researching new products and growing business operations.
George Mutune, Cybersecurity Specialist at Ignyte Assurance Platform and Cybersecurity Researcher, at CyberExprt.com. George is a cybersecurity professional with a passion for delivering proactive strategies for day-to-day operational challenges. He’s excited to be working with leading cybersecurity teams and professionals on projects that involve machine learning & AI solutions to solve the cyberspace menace and cut through inefficiency that plague today's business environments.
George Mutune highlights the benefits of Cybersecurity for SMBs. Read on to understand why it is important and how to always be protected.