Is Cybersecurity Necessary for My Small Business?

Small businesses are frequently making headlines across the country, but not for doing something positive. Often owners of these companies are fined or even sent to jail because they either didn’t realize their business’ security needed work or they relied on some form of protection. As someone who works for a small business IT consulting service, I frequently encounter new small businesses who think that their business size exempts them from having to worry about cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity is an important issue for all businesses, no matter how large or small they may be. In fact, a recent study by Symantec showed that 43 percent of small businesses have experienced a cyberattack in the past year. The good news is that the same study found that just 36 percent of small businesses have created a cybersecurity plan, suggesting they are at least thinking about the issue. But for those companies who think being relatively obscure or in a low risk industry means they are safe from cybercrime, it pays to read on.

What threat do small businesses face?

Most people may assume that cybercriminals’ main targets are mega corporations and large businesses. They’re wrong. In fact, more than half of all cyberattacks target small to mid-sized companies like yours. Keeping this in mind it is no wonder that the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report found that small companies get breached 27 percent more frequently than larger ones (a stat that makes the 36 percent figure mentioned earlier look even more troubling).

What’s in it for cybercriminals?

The reason these attacks frequently target smaller companies is because they lack the resources and cybersecurity measures of larger firms. Cyberattacks often rely on tricking an employee into clicking a link or opening an attachment — something much easier to do with a small business that may not have stringent security protocols in place. What’s more, many small businesses store troves of valuable customer data that cybercriminals can use for identity theft, financial fraud, and other nefarious activities. It’s important to note that not only customer data is at risk, but also the company’s sensitive information, including financial and operational data, as well as data related to computer disposal.

What can I do to protect my small business?

There are a number of things you can do to help protect your small business from a cybersecurity attack, including:

– Use complex passwords and change them regularly.

– Store sensitive data in the cloud instead of on computers and servers.

– Train employees to spot phishing and spam emails and not to click links or open attachments without verifying their source (a task easily accomplished by using the free tool, Phishme).

– Install antivirus and malware protection on all devices used to access the company network.

Developing a comprehensive cybersecurity plan is critical for any small business. By following the steps above, you can help protect your company’s data and infrastructure from cybercrime.

If you’re not sure where to start, consult with an IT professional who can help you develop a plan that’s right for your business.

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