Today, cybersecurity is not a concern for large companies only, but owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) acknowledge that this is one of the challenges requiring their attention. That implies that businesses of all sizes can suffer breaches on various occasions.
Additionally, recent statistics indicate that only 14% of small entrepreneurs rate their ability to mitigate cyber threats and that 43% of cyberattacks target small firms. The reason? Attackers consider SMEs to be the low-hanging fruit. The other problem is that most small entrepreneurs do not budget for cyber-attacks and their aftermath.
Cybersecurity is not a priority for most small entities because management may not believe that this is a risk. For such individuals, putting their resources elsewhere is much more important than investing in tools for guarding against data breaches.
As much as that is the case, you cannot afford to overlook the importance of cybersecurity as a small or medium-sized business owner. Here are a few reasons why prioritizing cybersecurity for SMEs is not an option.
1. SMEs Are an Inviting Target
First, SMEs are much more susceptible to hackers than corporates, multinationals, and other large firms. As a small business owner, you may be wondering, “What is there to steal?” Well, you need to understand that information is the key that unlocks treasures for online attackers, and that is what they are after whenever they target small businesses.
That suggests that in today’s economy, data is cash. Since you probably have a database of all your clients and their contact details, a hacker retains their debit and credit card information. When such an attack is a success, it becomes a priceless fortune for attackers. The unfortunate thing is that suffering such a breach will destroy your reputation, and eventually, you will lose customers.
As a result, your enterprise will be hanging by a thread, and if you do not act accordingly, you may end up closing down your business. That is how lethal cyberattacks can become.
2. The Risks of an Unsecured Cybersecurity Environment
Cybercriminals know that most SMEs lack the cybersecurity protections that large organizations overlook. The reason, in part, is that there is the tendency to neglect basic security practices when a small business owner focuses too much on running their operations. When that is the case, protecting a business from cyber threats becomes an afterthought.
Note that keeping your firm running will become a thing of the past if your small enterprise suffers a breach. Some of the simple things that SMEs should consider include prioritizing data backup, implementing multi-factor authentication, updating office software and systems, using strong passwords, among other things.
The same way you never leave your house or car without locking to avoid attracting unnecessary attention is the same way you should secure your small firm’s network infrastructure. So, you need to be proactive when dealing with cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Otherwise, the heartache of addressing a breach of your sensitive information proves too expensive.
3. Data Breaches Can Attract Regulatory Fines
If you imagine that your small business has nothing valuable to hackers, you need to think again. The fact that the sale of victims’ financial details on the dark web and identity theft are on the rise makes SMEs a prime target for online attackers. You also need to note that such cyber theft incidents can attract the attention of government investigators.
beyond bearing a reputation hit, a successful attack on your IT systems adds to your misery through legal costs. So, failing to allocate a budget to mitigate cybercrimes increases the risks of incurring legal expenses that your business will probably not weather over time.
4. The Threat of Negative Publicity for Cybersecurity Breaches
As disheartening as it may be, local and national media outlets are always quick to report data breaches. On the other hand, authorities require organizations to report all potential data breaches, which means keeping such eventualities a secret is impossible. You also need to inform clients when your company suffers a data breach.
That, in turn, may affect your customers’ confidence in your brand, and they will probably think twice before doing business with you in the future. As such, transparency about a potential data breach impact the trust and continuous engagement you enjoy from loyal clients. The reason is that assuring such persons that you will keep their data safe will be a problem.
Such an event is part of the things that may shift the attention of your customers to competitors. Also, when media outlets publish news reports of data breaches targeting your small firm, most people will likely see these details whenever search results appear on search engines.
When that happens, you will most probably lose both existing and potential clients, which may drive you out of business in one way or another.
5. Potential Data Loss or Corruption
It is not surprising to discover SMEs with several Terabytes worth of critical data in their storage assets. A backup solution comes in handy in this case because it protects against mechanical and technological failures. Without a backup, your files and valuable digital assets will remain susceptible to loss or corruption.
Understand that your small entity stands to lose a lot due to data loss than the case of missing files. In the latter case, the extent of the damage depends on the contents of the missing files. That should be a concern because malware renders data unusable. Further, those with ill cybersecurity motives can intentionally steal files or information.
If you want to recover such data, engage specialists in a forensic laboratory that cannot guarantee success. Once you appreciate that online attackers consider SMEs an easier target, you will act before becoming a victim.
Technological advancements present new threats, and cybercriminals are constantly inventing new ways of exploiting devices that should improve our livelihood. The best part is that SMEs move faster and adapt to new threats in an agile manner. If you need more information on the importance of cybersecurity to SMEs, contact us today!
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