Small and Medium Business (SMB) Cyber Security: Don’t be the Target

SMB cyber security really counts. Just a few years ago, about ONE IN 10 small businesses experienced a cyber attack. Today, that number has quadrupled. Nearly all companies today have a digital presence, meaning it’s just a matter of time before your business is targeted.

So, what’s going on?

The simple answer is that many more large businesses have become quite savvy and have dedicated far more resources to cyber security in recent years.

Unfortunately, SMBs have not followed that trend. The result: cyber criminals have begun targeting smaller businesses.

It’s regrettable that when a small or medium sized business is hit by cyber crime, recovery is far more difficult. Inc. magazine estimates that about 60 percent of SMBs fold after being hit by a cyber attack.

Some of the key characteristics shared by SMBs who are attacked include:

  • Lack of trained staff who understand and execute sufficient security measures
  • Keeping data that is valuable to hackers, such as credit card numbers
  • Lack of an IT services provider, who would back up files and data to eliminate vulnerabilities to ransomware attacks

Because the frequency and complexity of cyber attacks has increased so quickly, the only response an SMB can have is to employ a multi-level, agile and cutting edge cyber security strategy.

Not preparing for this more-than-likely event means a potential massive financial loss to an SMB. Fortunately, technology providers fill this gap for their customers with solutions that even a small business can afford.

What have you got to lose?

Cybercrime magazine estimates the costs of cyber crime include damage and destruction of data, stolen money, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, theft of personal and financial data, embezzlement, fraud, post-attack disruption to the normal course of business, forensic investigation, restoration and deletion of hacked data and systems. That’s a lot of harm done to your business as well as your reputation.

In fact, experts think that the costs of cyber crime will grow by 15 percent per year over the next five years.  In sheer dollars, that’s about $10.5 trillion annually by 2025.

No industry is immune from attacks

Cyber attacks happen to businesses of all sizes and in all types of industries. In 2019, the top industries that reported attacks included:

  • Healthcare
  • Financial and insurance
  • Professional, technical and scientific services
  • Educational services
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Public administration
  • Information
  • Accommodation and food services

Steps to take right away

Only 14 percent of small businesses rate their ability to mitigate cyber risks, vulnerabilities and attacks as highly effective.  If you are a CEO of a small or medium business, one of the first things you can do is gather your key staff to get a sense of what levels of security you do have.

Is anyone at your company actually in charge of this? It’s best to have one person on your team take accountability for cyber security. But engage HR, marketing, sales and finance along with IT. With that group, determine what steps you can take to ensure accountability and increase awareness throughout your SMB.

Why use an IT Services Provider?

You don’t have to be a cyber security expert.  Be aware of potential issues and hire an expert.

Partnering with a technology provider s one of the most effective ways to prevent attacks and protect your business. These partners have expert-level, detailed knowledge of network security issues that the average business simply doesn’t have the time or resources to invest in.

These services offer multiple levels of monitoring that focus on advanced security, such as around-the-clock monitoring, data encryption and backup, containment and eradication of threats, network and firewall protection, and cyber security training for your staff.

Working with an IT provider means that an entire staff of highly trained experts are available to businesses 24/7 and can be a more economical and effective option to having an in-house IT person handling all of your issues.

Another benefit to using a technology service provider is that they are experts in identifying and fixing weaknesses in your overall IT infrastructure.  As an added bonus, you may be able to optimize your overall business processes and that means less downtime, better network performance, business continuity and disaster recovery strategy.

Being proactive with prevention (rather than the more expensive reactive process of recovery) when it comes to cyber security is the best way to protect what you’ve worked hard to build.

If you’d like to get a quick snapshot of your small business IT security—along with recommendations on next steps to identifying and defining your company’s technology needs—take our free assessment.

And if you’d like to know more about how managed services can benefit your business, just contact us. We’d love to talk with you about how managed IT services can benefit your small or medium size business.