Many small-business owners are blind to the risks of the modern age. They don’t read reports like Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, which states that more than half of all malware infections hit small businesses last year. They don’t realize that this staggeringly high number is only going to continue to climb over the coming decade. They aren’t aware of the statistics in Kroll’s 2017 report revealing that, as of last year, cybercrime has overtaken physical theft as the #1 illicit threat to businesses of all sizes. Many of them are unaware that digital breaches are even a serious risk for small businesses, assuming that the high-profile breaches of Fortune 500 companies they read about in the news each month are the only kind that ever happen. Few of them know that the cost of these attacks on small businesses typically surge far past $1 million, reaching into the stratosphere as business downtime ticks on and on.
According to a 2016 survey conducted by the National Center for the Middle Market, these business owners aren’t reading the writing on the wall. They’re the reason why less than half of midsize businesses have an up-to-date strategy to protect them from cyber-attacks. A few of them – about a third – don’t have any strategy in place at all.
But whether they have the most powerful cyber security in the world or are one of the millions of small-business owners who simply assume they’re safe, the cybercriminals are coming for them. The difference lies in whether these attacks will bounce off the robust barriers the company has put in place or destroy the company from the inside out. Which group do you belong to? The hapless team that can’t imagine they’ll ever be attacked and go under within just a few years? Or the visionaries who can see where the trends are going and put protections in place to secure their futures for the long haul? Hopefully, you count yourself among the second cohort and are doing everything you can to beef up your security long before disaster strikes. Whatever measures you’re putting in place, start with your employees. More than half of all cyber-attacks are caused by the negligence of low-level team members. You may assume that everybody can tell what a phishing e-mail looks like, but you’d be wrong. School your employees on the necessity and basics of Internet safety, and you’ll be a big step ahead of most of your competition.
Of course, even if your employees are the savviest in the world, it won’t matter if you don’t have the proper barriers in place. Skip the bargain-bin antivirus and put your money into solutions that will actually stop the bad guys. It’s not a one-and-done approach; you need a multilayered strategy that closes the gaps as they appear. A little research here can go a long way, but honestly, the best way by far to protect your livelihood is to get a managed services provider on board. They’ll proactively check nearly every aspect of your network to ensure that nothing is ever amiss. When old, outdated systems are supplanted by more powerful alternatives, they’ll upgrade them. You can get rid of that nagging anxiety in the back of your mind constantly reminding you that there might be a loophole somewhere in your security.
There are two types of business owners in the world: those in the know and those stuck in the past. The second group are the heads of those companies you read about collapsing beneath the weight of cyber-attacks, while the first are the successful businesses that seem like they can weather just about anything. Which one are you?