Not many SMBs can say that they have $200,000 saved up as a backup in case something, anything, happens to their business. This is because that is a very high amount of money, especially considering the expenses that come naturally with running a business.
Unfortunately, cyber criminals don’t seem to mind that your savings are not so hefty. As of 2019 it was reported that 43 percent of cyber attacks happen to small businesses. Why? Because they are just not prepared, or at least the vast majority. 14 percent of small businesses are, however, prepared to defend themselves according to a study done by Accenture.
In the United States alone, more than half of all small businesses suffered a security breach within the last twelve months, and as digital growth occurs, these numbers are bound to keep growing and growing by the minute. In fact, cybercrime is the fastest growing type of criminal activity. That’s right, someone behind their computer far far away from you is who you should be afraid of.
In a different time, cyber criminals only attacked large companies, however, as cyber security has become a priority and more businesses are starting to adopt their own networks it is not so tempting to attack them as it once was. Those who are less likely to invest into their online security are the ones who have become the most likely new targets: SMBs.
Current IT infrastructures grow more and more complex by the minute and have sophisticated systems that allow networks to have a better coverage to protect a business. The problem is that a lot of small businesses don’t know or understand this concept, thinking that all they need to do to implement a cybersecurity strategy is to install antivirus software into their devices.
This wrong idea is one of the biggest reasons why small business owners are affected by cyber attacks the most. Knowledge is power after all, in this case the lack of knowledge to protect a company’s internet presence is costing small businesses up to $200,000 on average to take care of the damage caused by a cyber attack.
The damage is so big, that sixty percent of SMBs go out of business within six months of having suffered a cyber attack. Which is exactly why companies have to start preparing and consulting experts on the matter much before a business crosses a cyber criminal’s gaze.
The main reason why businesses shut down is due to not being able to afford the high cost and expenses caused by the attack. People all over the world are having to shut down the business that they worked so hard to open, grow and maintain due to this quiet enemy behind one’s computer. In today’s word filled with cyber criminals, small businesses must opt for realising that it is no longer a matter of if a security threat arises, but more of a matter of when.
So, why is it that digital incidents cost a business so much? This definitely depends on the type of crime. The most expensive attacks come from ransomware, which is a virus that attacks a network or device, steals private information from a company’s database, deletes it on the business’ devices and then asks for a payment as ransom with the finality of giving back the information and not releasing it into the dark web.
If a business’ private information is leaked, such as clients’ private details, employees’ personal information and business procedures, a business faces hefty lawsuits for failing to protect this information accordingly. The legal fees on their own are one of the biggest factors that cause cyber attack expenses to elevate so much. Cyber criminals understand this so well, that they play with a business’ psychological weaknesses in order to get paid for the ransom.
Unfortunately, even with the figures being so alarming, six out of ten executives still believe that their businesses are far from becoming victims of cyber crime. It’s precisely this attitude which allows for cyber criminals to work quietly and gather the information they need without the host even noticing there has been a security breach.
To stay safe, SMBs must adopt cyber security strategies that come from experts in the field and learn that their IT team is not necessarily a reliable layer of security for their business’ network, as the areas of expertise that are needed to cover cybersecurity are so much more different than the normal IT responsibilities.