Why your small business can’t afford to ignore cybersecurity

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

By Henry Brown

There have been some extremely high profile data security breaches happening in recent years. Big corporations such as Adobe, Equifax, Canva and Yahoo have found themselves fighting to save their reputations.

Though it is the high profile cases that tend to make the headlines, it is actually small businesses that are most often the targets of cybercrime. And the results can be far more devastating, threatening not just their reputation, but of the business itself.

Don’t bury your head in the sand

It’s easy to think that your business doesn’t need to think about cybersecurity. After all, what are the chances that someone will target you specifically? In the U.S. alone, over 50% of companies have been targeted by hackers in some way last year. The average cost of the attacks that succeeded was in the region $1 million.

The fallout from a cyberattack can be fatal to a business; 60% of companies successfully hacked went out of business within six months. Designing and implementing a cybersecurity plan for your small business should be a priority.

Put cybersecurity at the top of the agenda

As a small business, you may not have any internal IT support to be able to handle this, so you need to partner with an IT company such as vtechsupport.com or find a local consultant who can guide you through the process.

When developing your cybersecurity plan, take into account the following:

Hope for the best, expect the worse

Don’t ignore the dangers; implement a cybersecurity plan that caters for every scenario you can think of, no matter how bad.

All employees should be trained in working securely. Unsafe IT practices by employees, such as weak passwords or working on unsecured networks, are one of the easiest ways for hackers to target a company.

Lead from the front

Yes, as a business owner, you are very busy but don’t be tempted to just push cybersecurity off to the IT department of a consultant. A business owner needs to be involved at every stage of the process. Yes, you need the experts to iron out the details but don’t remove yourself from the process.

Educate your employees 

Over 50% of email scams are targeted towards small businesses and their employees. As well as training your employees on how to work securely, also teach them to be able to recognize common scams will protect you from some of them working. Things to cover include:

-Phishing

-Malware attacks

-Ransomware

-Whaling – (targeted at CEOs and senior executives)

Budget for your IT needs

Your annual budget should include ample scope to update your hardware and software where necessary. Out-of-date IT infrastructures are open doors to hackers.

Build a rock-solid disaster recovery plan

Every business needs a disaster recovery plan; in fact, many insurance companies insist upon it.

Being able to recover your core business systems and get back up and running quickly could be the difference between success and failure.

Many small business owners assume that their business insurance will cover them financially in the event of a cyberattack. In fact, you’ll be hard pushed to find an insurance company that won’t insist on details cybersecurity and disaster recovery plans being in place before they will insure you.

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Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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