Cyber Security And Small Business – IBM’s 2020 Cost of Data Breach Report states that the average cost of a data breach for small organizations was $2.35 million (<500 employees) and $2.53 million (for small businesses with 500-1,000 employees). So if you think cybersecurity isn't your top priority, think again. We'll give you eight important reasons why small business cybersecurity is important
A screenshot of a graph from IBM’s 2020 Data Breach Site Report that breaks down the average total cost by size of the affected organization.
Cyber Security And Small Business
Owning or managing a small or medium-sized business (SMB) is easier said than done. It takes a lot of time, hard work and commitment in terms of resources. Protecting your small business from cybercriminals is much the same. Unfortunately, when it comes to small business cyber security, some owners decide to skip a step here and there and fall victim to cyber crime.
Cybersecurity Tips For Smbs
Data from Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) shows that small businesses accounted for 28% of data breach victims reported in 2019. Again, this is right around the corner.
Verizon numbers know and study. There are likely many other data breaches related to SMBs that are unknown or unreported. With the US Small Business Administration (SBA) reporting that 99.9% of all businesses in the United States are small businesses (fewer than 500 employees), this means there are many companies likely to be affected. .
Sectigo’s Sectigo State of Security and Threat Report 2021 shows that 48% of SMBs say they are “too small” to be targeted by cybercriminals. This is particularly concerning given that Keeper Security and the Ponemon Institute report that less than half of respondents believe their organization’s efforts to reduce risk and attacks are practical. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the percentage of trusted employees has dropped by 27%, from 71% to 44%.
If we look at this data in the context that more than one in four victims of cyber attacks are small and medium-sized businesses, it is clear why small business cyber security should be among your priorities.
Cybersecurity For Small Business
In short, small business cybersecurity helps you keep your data — which includes everything from your employees’ and customers’ personal information to your sensitive intellectual property — safe. This is not only important from a data security point of view; it is also a compliance requirement. If you don’t protect your data, you become non-compliant and could face fines and penalties. Plus, you’ll lose the trust of your key stakeholders… and that may be something your organization’s reputation can never recover.
But how bad can a cyberattack be for organizations? Consider this example to illustrate the damage and confusion that cyberattacks can cause:
Bristol schools in the United Kingdom announced that they were the target of a highly sophisticated ransomware attack on 16 March 2021. Castle School Education Trust (CSET), which oversees seven of the 23 schools recently attacked (those in Bristol). ), said that the aim of the attack was to cancel live classes. BristolLive reported that more than 1,000 devices were infected and restored, along with 16 servers responsible for core functions, including access management.
Although South Gloucestershire Council says the attack on March 16 did not affect personal data, BristolLive reports it caused a number of other problems for the school:
Reasons Why You Need Small Business Cyber Security
Well, that’s how this ransomware attack targets schools. What does small business cybersecurity have to do with it? Data from the Sophos State of Ransomware Report 2021 shows that 37% of respondents indicated that their mid-sized organizations had been affected by at least one ransomware attack. The average ransom paid by a medium-sized organization was $170,404. Even in cases where companies paid ransom demands, only companies reported that an average of 65% of their data was recovered.
As a small business owner, that’s a lot of money to gamble with no guarantee that you’ll regain access to your data or control of your IT systems. And given that ransomware attacks are just one type of cyber attack targeting small businesses, it should be pretty clear why small business cybersecurity is a problem. However, if you need some more reasons, we’ve got them for you…
Where startups and small businesses often lack value in terms of money, they often make up for in rich data. Many attackers recognize the value of data (especially intellectual property and personal data) and view it as a valuable resource to steal, use, trade or sell.
The latest data from Verizon’s 2020 DBIR reveals that 86% of breaches in 2019 were financially motivated and 10% were espionage motivated. More than 50% of the actors (cybercriminals) have connections with organized crime, and about 10% are connected with foreign countries.
A Guide To Cybersecurity For Small Businesses
Although some small businesses are short on cash, they could be a rich source of data. Cybercriminals often use stolen data in a variety of ways, including:
Data source: FBI IC3. This chart shows a large increase in identity theft victim complaints from the American public.
An example of the last point can be seen in Jean Patrice Delia, a former employee of General Electric. Delia, along with a former GE IT employee named Miguel Sernas, downloaded thousands of proprietary files from the company, including important data on advanced computer models for calibrating turbines the company produced. Delia started his own company and competed (and won) bids against GE for some time before GE became aware of the breach involving Sernas and Delia. After a lengthy court battle, both former employees were jailed and GE was awarded $1.4 million in compensation.
Cybercriminals sometimes attack small businesses as a way to get at larger companies and organizations they are affiliated with. In essence, you are not the real target – you are just a stepping stone or a means to an end. Ouch. Yes, we know it stings.
Cybersecurity For Small Businesses. Tips You Need To Know
Think it’s not possible? Here are some examples of small business cybersecurity attacks where threat actors used other companies as an attack vector to gain access to other or larger targets:
Next on our list of reasons why small business cybersecurity matters… Data from Sectigo’s 2021 Website Security Report shows that 60% of small businesses spend $500 or less on cybersecurity per month. With growing cyber threats expected to face SMBs in 2021, 49% of companies indicated they plan to spend more on cybersecurity.
Small businesses will have less stringent security and cybercriminals are aware of this vulnerability. This is often due to the limited resources of the entrepreneur. In order to start their business, entrepreneurs often take on a lot of responsibility for saving jobs and financial resources. This can be dangerous as many entrepreneurs are not IT security or small business experts.
A significant part of the work that startups employ is often focused on effectively launching a business, generating new ideas to bring to market, setting up processes and people at different levels, and other business startup tasks. Moreover, due to lack of capital, increasing staff beyond a certain level may seem impossible. As a result, cybersecurity is often de-prioritized. Even if they invest in antivirus and anti-malware tools, they often can’t spare enough people to monitor everything.
Ncsc Publishes Cyber Security Guide For Small Businesses
Small businesses must comply with the rules and regulations established by the competent authorities. Some of these compliance standards are listed below:
Violators of the CCPA are subject to fines of up to $2,500 or $7,500 for inadvertent and willful violations, respectively. Companies that experience a data breach or data theft may also be required to pay statutory damages of $100 to $750 (or actual damages, whichever is greater) per incident to California residents.
If cybercriminals attack your organization’s IT devices, infrastructure or website and successfully steal data, your customers may think twice before doing business with you again. You become a liability in their eyes, and they are more likely to go to your competition in the future than the data risk involved in another small business cybersecurity attack or data breach.
Sectigo’s 2021 Website Security and Threat Study noted that 28% of breached SMBs suffered “severe” to “very serious” consequences as a result of a website breach:
The It Lab (gibraltar)
One way to secure your website’s data is to use an SSL/TLS certificate to ensure you’re serving your website over a secure, encrypted HTTPS protocol. Data from our April 2020 survey shows that just over half (52%) of small websites use HTTPS.
While external threat actors are bad, they’re not the only ones you need to worry about for small business cybersecurity. Verizon’s DBIR 2020 notes that 30% of data breaches studied in 2019 involved internal actors – both intended and unintended users. Some employees make mistakes (human error), while others choose to do bad things on purpose. Both types of employees, those who know all the consequences of their actions and those who don’t, are serious threats to your organization.
This is why access controls are so important to small business cybersecurity. (Of course, this is important for any organization’s cyber defense, but that’s why we’re only focusing on SMBs.
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