(Lack of) Cyber Security Threatens Small Business

Why Is Cyber Security Important

The small business sector is a lucrative target for cyber criminals due to the fact that small businesses often lack cyber security and rely on basic protection methods which are easily compromised.

Businesses tend to prioritize other areas rather than cyber security, with small businesses focusing more on financial stability. Often small businesses are backed by small budgets, making it hard to allocate savings for up keeping computer systems, let alone protecting them from threats. Smaller companies also have less employees working with technology compared to larger businesses, leaving staff inadequately trained in even the most simple cyber security education.

It can be argued that larger organizations provide greater opportunities for data theft as they tend to hold many different types of information including credit card numbers and social insurance numbers insurance numbers etc., giving hackers access to highly valuable personal information.

Why Target Small Businesses

Smaller companies are considered more vulnerable due to their small security budgets, high turnover of employees, dependence on technology for day-to-day operations, size of the small company workforce and lack of anti-virus software. This means that small businesses are more likely than other organizations to fall victim to cyber crime.

Another cyber threat faced by small business is ransomware. This form of cyber extortion involves hackers using malware to encrypt small business information and asking for payment to restore access.

It is estimated that small businesses lose $8 million annually due to cyber crimes.

The majority of small businesses believe they have not been targeted by cyber criminals specifically because they are small business . However in reality small businesses face a higher risk than larger organizations when it comes to cyber threats and attacks. As small companies frequently back up data onto computers and hard drives rather than keeping it in a safe location such as an off-site server, this data is more susceptible to hacking attacks.

Cyber criminals focus on smaller organizations because they tend not to have strong internal security systems which results in vulnerability of access and loss of data integrity

How Cyber Threats Can Affect You

Data security breaches are especially problematic for small businesses, who’s customer base is usually small and their small staff has little resources to deal with investigations.

A recent study found that small businesses in particular struggle when it comes to paying the legal fees associated with data breaches.  

One of the most common cyber security threats small business face is phishing.   Phishing scams slip through spam filters using legitimate sounding e-mails sent by criminals posing as trusted insiders or companies which attract customers/clients!!    The aim of this type of scam is to trick users into providing credit card information, social insurance numbers, bank account information etc.   

In addition small company websites are often used as a way for hackers to infiltrate small businesses’ computer systems.  Website hacks can allow criminals access to small business hard drives as well as customer databases containing personal customer information.

What You Can Do

Studies show that small businesses are not investing enough resources into cyber security, even with evidence showing that there has been an increase in total number of data breaches within the past 5 years. And small businesses tend to be small in all areas including cyber security which makes them more vulnerable to cyber threats and attacks.

In 2020, small businesses were the most targeted of all by phishing attempts with 30% of small business falling victim compared with 12% of mid-sized businesses. While small businesses may not directly fall victim to attacks from hackers/cyber criminals due to their size however they do face is considerable risks in terms of cyber threats and attacks when they fail to implement effective cyber security systems.   

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