According to The National Cyber Security Alliance, one out of five small businesses is affected by cybercrime each year. Worse, 60% of those hit go out of business within six months after the attack. In most cases, the potential consequences of a cyber-crime are immense and can paralyze a small business.
In the past, big corporations like JPMorgan, Sony, and Target have experienced serious data breaches resulting from cyber-crimes, while small organizations have attracted less attention. This does not mean that small businesses are not victimized. Here are the reasons why they need to start taking cyber security seriously:
1: Cyber Threats Are Real
According to a Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 60 percent of cyber-attacks target small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). One mistake often made by these small businesses is to assume that they cannot be targeted, thereby making them easy targets. Hackers are aware that these small enterprises lack the resources, experience, or policies to fight them.
In another cyber security survey of 1,000 small business owners, 85 percent admitted that they believed large enterprises were more targeted than they were. This finding explains why small enterprises continue to pay little attention to Cyber Security. In reality, however, cyber criminals do not discriminate and have no priority targets. They attack any weak security system, whether it is a small business or a large one.
In late 2013, a Target breach exposed over 40 million consumers debit and credit card information as well as other personal records. The breach cost Target around $105 million and was a testimony of the harm that cyber threats can cause to a business.
2: Small Businesses Have Information Hackers Want
While small businesses do not have as many risks as larger businesses, the Council of Better Business Bureaus reveals that 7.4 percent of small business owners have been victims of fraud.
Small businesses hold customer and employee information, making them prime targets. The types of information that these hackers target range from online banking credentials to social security numbers.
Since these criminals are motivated by cash, business banking information needs to be safeguarded as much as possible. Before choosing a business bank account, a business should take all the necessary precautionary measures before settling on a suitable choice.
3: Cyber Criminals Are at Work Every Second
According to Trend Micro’s research findings, 3.5 new threats occur every second. The security software company further adds that these attacks are motivated by money. The findings highlight the increasing need to be vigilant towards Cyber security.
Trend Micro cites two factors behind this alarming increase:
- Small businesses are plenty in number and present a huge market for exploitation
- Larger enterprises have enhanced their security systems and have pushed hackers to look for smaller targets
Smaller businesses need to enforce their internal security rules. They need to be on the lookout for suspicious internet activities and prepare for an emergency plan in case of an attack.
4: Noncompliance Is Costly
The cost of compliance stands at $3.5 million for multinational organizations though the amount is smaller compared to the cost of noncompliance. Just like larger organizations, small businesses also deal with people, technologies, and processes, all of which can be a target of cyber crime. Therefore, it is misleading for small businesses to think they do not need to comply with data protection regulations.
5: Small Businesses (and Hackers) Are Moving to the Cloud
The overall cloud market for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) is today valued at $8.6 billion and is expected to approach $100 billion by 2014. In addition, more SMBs (74 percent) were planning to increase their expenditure on cloud-based software in 2011.
With all these developments, it is only right for small businesses to spend enough on cloud security. According to a 2010 Forrester report, only about 36 percent of SMBs plan to increase their spending on network security out of 84 percent who considered it a high priority.
In a Nutshell
The number of threats that cybercriminals unleash continues to increase exponentially, and small businesses run a risk of losing data, sales, productivity, and even money. Since any organization can be a prime target, it is vital to take all the necessary steps to safeguard business information, technologies, and processes.