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December 9, 2021 | By stephen
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Think You’re Too Small To Catch the Attention of Hackers?

If you think your small or medium-sized Chicagoland business is too small to be a potential cyberattack target, you need to think twice. According to a 2019 CNBC study, SMBs account for up to 43% of all cyber incidents globally. In the U.S., Keeper Security estimates that the percentage could be as high as 76%.

If you focus on cyber incidents that hit the headlines, you may think that the bad guys only target large corporations. The truth, however, is that they do not discriminate based on size or industry. As we will demonstrate, small and medium-sized businesses face an even greater risk than larger companies. This article highlights why your Chicagoland SMB cannot afford to take cybersecurity lightly and ways to safeguard your networks.

3 Reasons Why Hackers Target Small Businesses (Most of Which Have Little or No Security Measures)

While most cyberattacks hitting the headlines involve large corporations, SMBs feel the greatest impact. Here’s why:

  1. Small Businesses Are an Easy Target

In many companies, IT is one of the costliest investments. Acquire the best hardware, install and continually update software, train your staff, occasionally assess your network, and the list is endless. If you’re maintaining an internal IT support team, cater to their salaries, bonuses, and allowances.

Kaspersky Labs estimates that U.S. businesses budget an average of $9 million annually for cybersecurity. While a large organization may have the financial muscle to shoulder this responsibility, a small business like yours may not. It’s, therefore, pretty common for SMBs to lack advanced intrusion detection and prevention technologies as the larger organizations. That makes your small business an easier target whose systems the bad guys don’t have to strain much to compromise. And who doesn’t like easy things? Well, not the bad guys.

  1. Over 60% Of SMBs Die Within Six Months After Cyberattacks

    According to the U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance, an estimated 60% of small companies file for bankruptcy within six months of experiencing a data breach. And reasonably so—most small and medium-sized businesses do not have the financial tenacity to withstand the impacts of cyberattacks.

Cyberattacks are expensive and are continually getting costlier by the day. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that businesses will be losing up to $10.5 trillion annually to cyberattacks by 2025. According to a recent IBM and the Ponemon Institute study, the average cost of a data breach is approximately $4.24 million per incident. This can be a huge financial setback for any small or medium-sized business. Besides the financial impact, a breach will also leave you in a severe reputational crisis that may take years to rebuild.

  1. Most Small Businesses Lack Elaborate Cybersecurity Plans

    A recent survey by CNBC and Momentive suggests that small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. are less-prepared to handle cyberattacks than the larger ones. The report, dubbed CNBC | Momentive Q3 Small Businesses Survey, shows that:

  • More than half (56%) of America’s small business owners and managers are not concerned about falling prey to cyber-attackers.
  • Only 43% of SMBs are concerned about cybersecurity, out of which only 13% are “very concerned.”
  • Approximately 59% of small businesses think they can handle any cyberattack, and yet only 28% have elaborate response plans.
  • About 14% of small U.S. businesses admit that they have no cybersecurity plan at all.

The survey, which involved over 2,000 small business owners in the U.S., paints a vivid picture of the cybersecurity situation among SMBs in the country. As you can see, small businesses face the greatest risk and are the least prepared.

Here’s How You Can Avoid Becoming a Statistic

As we always say, cybersecurity begins with the basics. Every cyberattack begins with malicious actors gaining unauthorized access to your network. Therefore, your primary focus should be on intrusion detection and prevention.

  1. Manage your passwords properly: Implement effective password complexity and expiration protocols to ensure that you always have robust passcodes. You might also want to occasionally scan and monitor the dark web to trace compromised passwords and other sensitive company information.
  2. Implement MFA: It’s pretty common for cyber-attackers to guess, steal, or auto-generate company passwords. MFA adds an extra layer of security in case the bad guys compromise your passcodes. It involves requiring more than one authentication factor to access a user account.
  3. Train your staff on cybersecurity awareness: We cannot overstate the vitality of employee cybersecurity awareness training in the war against cybercrime. Educate your staff on common breaches and tricks, how to identify them, prevention measures, and fast-response protocols. Training also encompasses regular simulated attacks to gauge readiness levels.
  4. Regularly assess your network: We are witnessing more and more cyber incidents where actors lie dormant in targets’ networks for months before launching an attack. Regular assessments can help you spot and eliminate these threats before they get severe.

LeadingIT offers 24/7, all-inclusive, fast, and friendly technology and cybersecurity support for nonprofits, manufacturers, schools, accounting firms, religious organizations, government, and law offices with 10-200 employees across the Chicagoland area.

 

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