Cyberattacks against small businesses are on the rise. 2019 saw a 424% increase in small business-focused cyberattacks . And according to an IBM report, these threats cost businesses with less than 500 employees more than $7.5 million on average in 2020.
Increasing attack volumes stem in part from the democratization of technology. Even minimally skilled hackers can now get their hands on malware-as-a-service tools that make it possible to compromise key systems. In addition, many small businesses are ill-equipped to handle targeted cyberattacks, since they often don’t have (or don’t have the budget for) dedicated IT teams.
When it comes to cyberattacks on small businesses, how can owners boost security without breaking the bank?
Common Cyber Threats Aimed At Small Businesses
Some of the most common cybersecurity threats for small businesses include malware, ransomware and phishing attacks.
Malware efforts see hackers installing unwanted code on devices or networks that may grant them one-time or permanent access, in turn, allowing them to spy on operations or exfiltrate key data. Ransomware threats effectively “lock” your data with encryption while attackers demand payment for its release. Phishing attacks target staff with fake emails or attachments that compel them to click through or download—in turn, putting secure credentials at risk.
2019 saw a 424% increase in small business-focused cyberattacks...and these threats cost businesses with less than 500 employees more than $7.5 million on average in 2020.
No matter the type of attack, small businesses are at risk: Revenue, reputation and day-to-day operations may all be impacted by cybersecurity threats.
Four Ways to Boost Small Business Cybersecurity
Not sure how to protect your small business against a cyberattack? Here are four ways to advance small business IT security:
1. Bolster the basics: Improving basic security hygiene makes a difference. If hackers find your networks and systems difficult to access, they’ll likely go elsewhere. Start with passwords. Ensure staff aren’t using easy-to-guess options such as 123456 and make sure they’re changed every few months. In addition, deploy two-factor authentication (2FA) solutions such as SMS codes or authenticator apps.
2. Create a security-first culture: Security is everyone’s responsibility. This is especially true for small businesses that don’t have dedicated IT and security teams. Unless all team members are on board, attackers have an easy way to obtain access. As a result, it’s critical to create a security-first culture that prioritizes protection over speed. Staff should be trained to recognize and report suspicious emails rather than simply ignoring or deleting them.
3. Review your insurance: Despite best efforts, small business breaches happen. It’s possible to do everything right and still experience compromise or data loss. To help preserve vital cash flow and pay the costs of these breaches—such as fraud monitoring for affected customers, legal fees and system restorations—it’s worth evaluating current business insurance policies and adding more comprehensive cyber insurance coverage.
4. Deploy role-based access: To reduce total risk, small business can deploy cloud-based identity and access management (IAM) solutions. With no expensive hardware to buy or integration to manage, these tools are easy to install and provide companies complete control over data permissions, allowing businesses to limit the number of people who have access to critical information such as payroll documents or intellectual property.
We hope this piece provided actionable advice for your small business to boost cybersecurity. At B2Z, we’re on a mission to help businesses like yours survive—and thrive—as IT environments and expectations evolve.