3 Reasons Small & Medium Businesses Are Top Targets For Cyberattacks
As a business leader, you work hard and diligently pay attention to the details of running your business. You understand the importance of protecting your data and keeping customer information.
What you may not know is that in recent years small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have become top targets for cyberattacks.
Traditionally, large, multinational companies were a more popular choice for cyber criminals due to the sheer volume of information available, but the times have changed.
As larger corporations have invested in the resources needed to shore up their security, they have become more difficult to infiltrate.
As a result, cyber criminals have shifted their focus to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) like yours, knowing that they are often softer targets and while they provide a smaller volume of data, it can be just as valuable.
In this article, I’ll explain three reasons businesses your size have become top targets: limited resources, valuable information, and lack of understanding. This knowledge will prepare you to take appropriate steps to protect your sensitive business data and customer information.
The technology landscape changes rapidly. What may have been considered best-practices last year, last month or even last week may no longer be strong enough to thwart the latest security threats to your information systems.
Let’s dive into each of the reasons your business may be at risk.
Why Are SMBs Top Targets For Cyberattacks?
The popularity of cyberattacks continues to grow. Many criminals are using the same tools that were developed for large, multinational organizations to target SMBs. Why has the focus of cyber crime shifted?
1. Limited Resources
Attackers know that you are not a Fortune 50 company with deep pockets to invest in security analysis, software, and hardware. It’s common knowledge that SMBs have limited staff, skills and budget.
Most SMBs have a standard firewall with basic antivirus protection. If one of your systems is compromised, it’s unlikely that you have proactive tools in place to alert you and defend against a moderate to significant attack.
Rather than protect against threats, you are probably in a position to react to things after they happen.
Due to the size of the organization, most SMBs cannot afford the luxury of a chief information officer and a large IT staff.
The permanent, full-time staff is focused on the daily operation of the business and often doesn’t have the time to focus on long-term strategic initiatives. Just fighting the daily fires that come up each day occupies all of the staff’s time and energy.
With limited staff, comes a finite number of skills. Given that every IT network needs the same care no matter its size, it isn’t reasonable to expect a small IT staff to have all of the skills necessary to provide everything required.
In fact, smaller organizations often don’t even have even one person to focus on IT security, let alone the resources to organize and deliver employee security awareness training.
Any organization can expect to pay a six-figured for one experienced, qualified, and certified IT specialist. Paying for a full team of IT experts with all of the skills necessary to provide the full care and maintenance of a commercial IT network is typically out of reach for smaller organizations.
In addition to the staffing costs, the sheer cost of many proactive IT security systems and tools can be too much for SMBs to bear.
2. Valuable Information
Every business possesses valuable information. Whether it is financial information, intellectual property, or access to other information, every business has value to hackers. Recognizing this fact is the first step toward making your business more secure.
You wouldn’t leave the doors to your physical facility unlocked and unmonitored, you want to provide the same protections for your network.
The thing with cybersecurity is that it changes every day. Don’t get complacent and assume that since you have a firewall you are protected.
3. Lack Of Awareness
You wouldn’t consider sending an employee out on a sales call without preparation, right? Yet many employees are unaware of the critical role they can play in protecting information. Without this knowledge, they can’t begin to be an effective force against cybercrime.
Where Do You Go From Here?
In this article, we’ve discussed three reasons why SMBs are top targets for cyberattacks. We’ve talked about limited resources, valuable information, and lack of awareness.
So, where do you go from here? Here are some steps you can take:
- Fully understand the risks your business faces. Determine which things need the most protection and put in place layers of security to protect your vital assets.
- Think about how a cyber attack (or other disaster) would affect your ability to do business. Build in redundancy.
- Develop a business continuity and disaster recovery plan that includes specific information about backing up data (and make sure the latest backups are accessible via routine and ongoing testing).
Related article: 10 Steps To Include In Your IT Disaster Recovery Plan
- Install updates and patches.
- Provide security awareness training for all employees.
- Ensure that your security systems are proactive solutions that provide alerts about potential threats and that someone is monitoring alert reports generated by the systems.
- Turn on multi-factor authentication whenever available. For older systems, consider how to implement it.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, there are external resources that can help.
As a managed IT support provider, Kelser offers a full complement of IT services tailored to small and medium-sized businesses. While we know that managed IT isn’t the right solution for every organization, we’ve seen it help hundreds of businesses like yours.
If you are considering managed IT support, we encourage you to check out several providers to ensure that you find the best fit for your organization.
If you are still exploring your options for IT support, read this article to learn the differences between break/fix solutions and managed IT support.
Is your business ready to face the latest cyberthreats? Not sure? Check out this free cybersecurity eBook to learn 10 actions you can take today to protect your data.