It used to be that small businesses were not high on the list of targets of cyber-criminals and hackers. So, it's no surprise that today, many small business owners still operate with that mindset, despite increasing evidence that the trend has changed.
Due to the notable increase in cyber crime, the threat against cyber security is increasingly important. And the impact when that security is compromised is worse for small businesses, since they have less bounce-back ability after an attack.
Smart small business owners, however, understand what the current security trend is. And, though small, they know that their businesses are at risk. That is why they budget for security. This way they can be protected from the numerous hackers out to drill a hole in a lot of unlucky businesses out there.
As a small business owner, you should do the same. Here are six reasons why:
1. Hackers expect loopholes in small businesses.
Most hackers expect small business sites to be full of loopholes and therefore easy to exploit. This is because they assume that small business owners are lazy or at least reluctant when it comes to investing in cyber security.
The sad thing is that often they are right. Small businesses increasingly are targets because of their lack of risk-awareness. A study showed that small and medium-size businesses in the United States cut spending on security by 20 percent in 2014. This was reflected in a 64 percent increase in SME compromises between 2013 and 2104.
The idea that your business still looks small, and cannot be targeted by cyber criminals might have been true a few years ago, but not anymore.
2. The size of the business doesn’t matter to cyber criminals.
“My business is too small to be targeted”… right? Wrong! Cyber criminals are interested in data, period. So, if your business can offer the kind of quality data they need, you already have a pretty visible bull’s-eye painted on your back.
It is not the size of the business that matters; it is the quality of the data. If your business has lots of customer contact info, credit card data, health data or valuable intellectual property, you may need to re-evaluate your stance on cyber security.
You may think you cannot afford the cost of cyber security, but you surely will struggle more, considering the negative impact of cyber crime.
3. In the past, you probably left some sugar lying around for the ants.
You know what it is like to start and grow a new business. Usually, you sign up for many online services, cloud tools, bank accounts, emails and more.
Those little crumbs can act like a sugar cluster that will lead the cyber insects right to your doorstep. Investing in security is what will protect you from this potential danger.
4. You may be opening a back door to a larger company’s data.
Many hackers are not interested in you for your worth or even for your data. Many times, what they're interested in is whom you do business with.
If have any reasonable online contact with bigger companies that may present juicier data and prospects, you need to invest heavily in security, for that reason alone. The reason is that your non-secure systems can unlock access to a bigger company’s data. And the consequences of that compromise could be huge.
5. Your Internet connection may be prone to easy compromise.
Hackers can steal your data when you are not using a secure wi-fi connection. There is a certain carelessness with which small businesses treat their Internet connections, and this may become their undoing.
Staff members accessing sensitive company data via a nonsecure wi-fi connection when they work remotely can also increase the risk of cyber compromise.
6. Recent statistics don't favor you in the slightest.
Kataku reports that 62 percent of cyber attack victims in recent times have been small- and medium-size business enterprises. The impact of these attacks is usually so debilitating that most of these companies never recover.
The United Kingdom, for instance, records about 120,000 cyber attacks a day. This shows that there is a great underestimation of the threat cyber crimes pose in today’s business world.
Businesses cannot thrive if they are not doing some form of online business or at least have a strong online presence. This increases the number of businesses prone to attack by the fast growing number of cyber criminals. So, make sure yours is not one of them.