Cost of Cyberattacks for Small Businesses
Digital devices and the cyberspace between them provide us with great convenience in today’s world. We discover breaking news from other continents by simply turning on our smartphones and conduct business without ever entering the same room as our clients. The global interconnectedness of our devices and information systems certainly enhances communication and productivity. However, this interconnectedness has also given rise to cyberattacks, when entities attempt to invade and disrupt our digital systems. To prevent significant financial and operational damage from these attacks, cybersecurity efforts are a must for all small businesses with a digital presence.
Importance of Cybersecurity
In a nutshell, cybersecurity refers to protecting computer networks and systems from unauthorized access by outside parties. Known as hackers or “threat actors,” these parties may wish to steal information and interfere with a business’ operations. Adopting a “this could never happen to me” mindset can be easy, but the amount of stress and financial damage a cyberattack can cause should not be overlooked. According to business.com, the cost of a data breach for a small business can range from $120,000 to $1.24 million.
Two common examples of cyberattacks include “phishing” and “ransomware.” A threat actor conducts phishing by sending an email in which they impersonate a legitimate entity or someone the recipient personally knows. The phishing email may prompt the targeted recipient for a financial payment or ask for a password to a critical business system. Ransomware refers to malicious software that encrypts a computer system and its files so the targeted business or individual is denied access. The actor who deployed the ransomware will then hold the information hostage until the owner pays to regain access.
• Infrastructure security firm dmstrong notes small businesses with fewer than 100 employees receive 350% more social engineering attacks (like phishing) than larger organizations.
• The State of Ransomware 2022 Report from Sophos states 37% of successful ransomware attacks during 2021 happened to companies with fewer than 100 employees.
Cybersecurity Best Practices
Fortunately, small businesses can take measures to keep their data secure.
The first step management should complete is providing training to employees. Education about the common kinds of cyberattacks and how to identify them can help employees thwart many possible threats. For example, employees should know to scrutinize the legitimacy of any email that asks for critical business information.
Businesses should also implement multi-factor authentication. Hackers can work their way into a business network simply by trying large numbers of passwords on a login page. Enabling multi-factor authentication requires a user to provide an additional source of identity verification before logging in to key business infrastructure. This provides an extra layer of security for critical business data.
Another best practice for any small business operation is to avoid complacency. Thinking the same set of measures will always be enough to keep information secure can leave systems vulnerable. Consistently reviewing internal cybersecurity methods and studying updated best practices are necessary steps to prevent successful cyberattacks.
If you’re interested in auditing or improving the cybersecurity setup of your business, contact the Abstract team for a consultation. Our certified technicians can teach the fundamentals and complexities of cybersecurity to your staff to keep your business running free from outside interference.