Small business have increasingly become attractive targets for hackers, with some reports suggesting that up to half of cyber attacks are on small businesses.
So, why haven’t you heard about them? We’ve grown accustomed to news stories about large companies and organisations being targeted. But that’s only because these companies are household names. At a push the local press may cover a data breach or cyber attack involving a small business in their area, but even that is rare.
While this may be good news as reputational damage is minimised, it has lulled many small business owners into a false sense of security. But small business are under threat, with many cyber criminals specifically targeting them.
Why would cyber criminals be after you when large corporates have so much more valuable data? A combination of easy pickings and fewer resources to deal with a cyber attack are amongst the reasons. Here, we share why you might be targeted and why you’re vulnerable:
You have valuable data
Do you store personal details and financial information for customers and employees? That’s what cyber criminals are after, whether to commit fraud or for identity theft. Your data is just as valuable as anyone else’s, especially if you have many hundreds or thousands of records stored digitally.
Your cyber defences are easier to breach
In most cases hackers find it harder to breach large organisations because they have better cyber defences in place. Why? Because they have more money to spend, more resources, and they increasingly know that they must protect their data to maintain their reputation and business. The rewards for hacking a small business may be smaller, but it’s generally much easier to do.
You’re more likely to pay a ransom
Ransomware attacks are on the increase and few small businesses can afford to recover data independently if hackers encrypt critical business data. Many small businesses have no contingency plans in place to deal with this kind of attack, or the capacity to continue to operate their business while data is recovered.
You may provide access to other businesses
Could the information you store be the key to other businesses’ data? The massive US Target breach in 2013 originated from a HVAC supplier whose systems were breached first. You could potentially provide hackers with access to much larger organisations, or other small businesses like yourself.
You’re low risk
Attacking small businesses is a low risk activity compared to enterprises because cyber criminals are less likely to be caught. On average companies take over 6 months to detect a data breach, because they don’t have the technology to detect attacks when they happen. Furthermore, do you have the resources to pursue police and legal action if your business is attacked? Unfortunately for some small businesses a cyber attack could seal the end of the business, and therefore no one will be able to bring the attackers to justice.
As you can see your small business is not immune to cyber attack, if anything you could be more at risk.
We host regular cyber security workshops aimed at small business leaders in London and Guildford designed to identify areas of vulnerability and how to protect their businesses. Find out more about these discovery workshops and register your interest here.
Bruce Penson, Managing Director at Pro Drive IT