Why Cybersecurity is Important for Small Businesses

The past few years have been hugely important for cybersecurity, with many high-profile breaches highlighting the issue. For example, the massive eBay data breach which affected millions of users worldwide just a couple of years ago served to drive home to many online business owners the importance of security updates, especially where passwords are involved. Recent data security breaches and attacks have been catastrophic for the affected companies, with some never recovering from the event. But, there has been a lot to learn from it – thanks to high-profile attacks, more and more business owners are finally realising just how crucial data security actually is, and that nobody is safe.

 

Small Businesses and Cybersecurity

A large number of people mistakenly believe that cybersecurity is only a topic for large corporations to discuss. However, although it’s usually only the large scale companies that make the news when an attack takes place, don’t be fooled into thinking that you’re out of the risk zone if you run a small business. In fact, quite the opposite – figures show that in 2013, some 64% of small businesses suffered a data breach at the hands of merciless hackers. With a large number of businesses experiencing cyberattacks which were classed as serious and some losing money as a result, the figures definitely do reflect the importance of taking cybersecurity seriously as a small business owner.

 

Dealing with Risk

Compared to larger companies, small businesses tend to have fewer resources and funds along with a lack of time and trained staff, generally making it more difficult for them to deal with the growing risk of cyberattacks. This fact in and of itself is one of the reasons why more and more small businesses are dealing with cyberattacks; a lack of money and resources often mean that attempts to solve issues are often made without the help of a security expert, often making things worse or even lengthening the problem.

Thankfully, it is possible for small businesses to keep their cybersecurity up to date without having to spend huge amounts of time or resources. Some basic steps will help to protect your business and avoid the event of an attack taking place. One of the most basic and essential is to keep up with the latest news and trends regarding cybersecurity risk; something that will make it easier for you to spot any potential attacks and deal with them before they become too dangerous. Keeping all of your IT systems and software updated is also essential, too – keep your eye out for update prompts and set automatic updates wherever possible in order to reduce the risk of hackers gaining access.

 

Education

One of the biggest reasons why small businesses suffer from cyberattacks is that their employees are not educated enough on the topic to best protect the company and the IT systems and software that they use. When it comes to training staff members about cybersecurity, this hugely important topic should definitely be invested in. Since everybody plays a part in the business and therefore its cybersecurity, all employees should understand the importance of being cyber aware and why and how to report anything suspicious. Ensuring that employees understand the risk of schemes such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and know to keep passwords and other credentials safe and secure is vital to reducing risk.

It is also crucial for small business employees to understand some of the less obvious ways that hackers will get hold of information that gives them access to IT systems. For example, an increasing number of cyberattacks are being carried out through social engineering tactics, such as an employee receiving a phone call from a ‘customer’ who requests to have certain details changed. When it comes to cases like these, it can be easy for employees to overlook issues and many may not even realise that they are being targeted. Being extra vigilant and getting security and identification details from all customers is vital.

When it comes to avoiding cyberattacks, there is no doubt that small businesses have been left behind. With high-profile cases focusing on large corporations, many small business owners mistakenly believe that they will not be at risk, even though the figures show otherwise with large numbers of small businesses having experienced some sort of cyberattack in the past few years.

Although small businesses do not often have the time, money or resources to deal with cybersecurity in the same way larger businesses do, it’s ultimately down to everybody in a company to work to avoid cyberattacks.

 

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