RENO, Nevada, USA (IDN) – According to The Manifest, a B2B site, nearly 1/5th of small businesses were involved in virus, data breach, or hack in 2019. While this proves how small businesses indeed remain exposed to cyberattacks, it delivers a warning to other businesses that proper security measures are a necessity now and in years to come. From consequences that unpreparedness can bear to reasons behind small businesses as targets, prioritizing cyber-security is extremely critical as hackers get much smarter.
Cyber-attacks carry several dangers – in fact by 2021 it’s estimated that every 11 seconds businesses will become victims of ransomware, costing them$6 trillion or more annually. However, financial consequences are not the only danger, cyber-attack can lead to losing sensitive information as well, and even business shutting down.
A recent example of such a harmful attack occurred to a small medical business in 2019 in Michigan. After they refused payment on a ransom for unlocking their files that included sensitive information (such as payment information and appointment schedules), the doctors had to shut the doors as the hijacked files were deleted permanently by the hackers.
With cyber-attacks, it’s important to be aware and differentiate between their varying kinds. Along with typical/familiar threats like ransomware, viruses, and malware, another dangerous threat that affects small businesses is fraudulent merchant accounts. As many small businesses accept credit cards, it is vital to utilize trustworthy merchant services providers in securing sensitive information. These Merchant account scams often include identity theft along with hidden fee scams aimed at amassing sensitive information.
While any business remains exposed to cyber-attacks, small businesses are still the larger and easier targets for attackers/hackers. Small businesses contribute to 43% of targeted cyber-attacks, according to a Verizon data breach report. The reason behind these statistics may occur due to several reasons.
For instance, not all small businesses will have the financial backing to manage IT teams or even provide extensive training to their employees. More often, these business owners may be unaware of their vulnerability to such attacks or too focused on the marketing aspect and fail to enforce cybersecurity, thus increasing the risks.
Remote work revolution
As small businesses lean towards remote work methods or choosing online operation in 2020, the demand for cybersecurity measures & knowledge increases. With the use of more devices (like employees’ laptops), the margin for risk furthers and particularly without any knowledge on the matter. Phishing scams, for instance, in email format can be sneakily disguised as arriving from legitimate sources. This can fool employees into clicking a virus-filled link.
Almost 60 percent of business executives claim the increase of suspicious email over the year, proving them as an increasing concern for US small businesses. Adapting new technology system without proper knowledge or preparation is another problem of small businesses that may lead to preventable problems like small business owners that may refrain from two-step factor authorization during password setups on a site.
Preventing an attack
For small businesses, there are plenty of ways on preventing cyber-attacks – from enforcing simple measures or hiring specialized teams to stay alert on the issue. Along with employing IT teams/specialists, training workers on the current dangers of cyber-security is a necessity as it can avert various issues (such as phishing scams as mentioned earlier). Installing security software and investing in proper cyber-security insurance is also vital in securing businesses from these attacks.
With the extent of small business being large targets for attackers, acquiring proper cyber-security is becoming increasingly important and a necessity, particularly in 2020. As small businesses adopt remote work methods, risks and dangers arise, proving that implementing proper precautions like an IT team or training results to be beneficial.