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Why cybersecurity is important for small businesses

Today it’s not uncommon to see in the news that organisations as large and varied as Adidas and the NHS have become victims of large-scale cyber attacks.

The reason why is obvious; hackers go after the big fish because the potential returns can be gigantic. But what about the small businesses, are they also targeted?

The answer is yes. An astonishing 43% of cyber-attacks target SME businesses, and 60% of those SMEs that are victims of cyber-attacks go out of business within six months. As such, you'd think that all SMEs would have a cybersecurity training programme in place.

However, 32% of managers stated that their company does not have a cybersecurity programme, and 50% of SMEs have no formal cyber security incident response plans in place.

Here are a few reasons why SMEs are such attractive targets for cybercriminals:

  • Shortage of expertise, training, and budgets to provide a thorough security defence.

  • Lack or no dedicated cybersecurity specialists on the payroll.

  • Limited security awareness in employees.

  • Security defences may be implemented but are not always kept up to date.

  • Lack of risk awareness and risk management policy and procedure.

  • Failure in securing endpoints.

Taking these points into account, let’s take a look at why your SME needs a robust cybersecurity programme in place.

The information your business has is invaluable

Even though they might not face the same threats as large organisations, small firms and start-ups do hold sensitive employee and customer data. Small businesses are prime targets for hackers interested in obtaining personal or financial information like social security numbers or banking information or know that holding that data to ransom could make them quick cash.

A cyber-attack can destroy your startup

Startups and recently founded companies can be extremely volatile. To succeed and develop into a reputable company that clients and customers can trust, they must equip themselves against potential data breaches. Suppose your company has a data breach in its early stages. In that case, it could have a significant financial impact in addition to causing severe reputational damage, which could have been easily prevented.

Partners and customers can feel hesitant to work with you

Customers and other parties outside of your organisation can become wary of doing business with you if they discover that your employees are not undergoing cybersecurity awareness training.

A potential partner won’t want to collaborate with a company that may jeopardise its assets and harm its business due to bad cybersecurity practices. They will always see you as a risk.

How can I improve my business' cybersecurity?

Many people think that the best way to improve security is simply downloading anti-virus and firewall programs, assuming that’s good enough to keep the business watertight.

While these steps may be the simplest to implement, they don’t cover the biggest weakness in your security strategy. People remain one of the biggest vulnerabilities to security, and one of the challenges that many small businesses will face is how to keep this vulnerability to a minimum.

Some ways that you can improve your business’ security can include:

  • Improve staff awareness with bite-sized learning courses that teach them the essentials of cybersecurity, like our industry-leading cybersecurity eLearning courses.

  • Creating policies and procedures for your staff to follow to reduce the chances of a security breach.

  • Creating backups of your system data to reduce the damage of cyber-attacks.

  • Use your small business environment to your advantage; encourage your staff to talk about security and share stories about security breaches so it's always in the back of their minds.

Cybersecurity is a serious threat for small businesses that is too often overlooked.

Fortunately, there is a lot that small businesses can do to lower the risks of cyberattacks. Something as simple as training staff can help reduce your risk of being hacked. In many cases, cyber-attacks are preventable and often easy to spot if you know what you're looking for.

Author: Bob's Business


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