How at Risk is Your Small Business?

Who is at the most risk when it comes to a cyber attack? Most people would probably guess large corporations such as Google or Amazon since cyber criminals would stand the most to gain financially. It is true that these companies are often targeted by criminal groups, in fact Twitch, a popular streaming site owned by Amazon, was recently breached revealing the entirety of the platform’s source code, streamer personal information, and promises of more leaks to come in the future. While large organizations are a target, they are often not THE target when it comes to data breaches. The most at risk title unfortunately belongs to small businesses.

Despite the mass media coverage of larger organizations small to mid-sized businesses seem to attract a lot of the attention when it comes to cyber crime. According to a recent small business administration(SBA) survey, 88% of small business owners felt that their business was vulnerable to a cyber-attack. There are multiple reasons as to why this may be the case however one of the biggest reasons is the lack of know how to implement necessary security measures. Additionally, cybersecurity can be costly for many small businesses making the cost seem like it it isn’t worth the reward. While managed services and cybersecurity can be costly it is no doubt essential to the longevity of any business. When it comes to valuing your cybersecurity it is impossible to put a price on it.

It is also important to note that over 99% of the U.S. private firms are small businesses with 45% of all private-sector employees belonging to such businesses. This further broadens the attack surface of America’s economic infrastructure making small businesses even more of a target for cyber criminals. Small businesses are at a severe disadvantage as they have typically weaker security with access to a multitude of client information. If cyber criminals can get a hold of an SMB they can get to their clients data much easier. Oftentimes attacking an SMB can be a stepping stone to larger organizations creating a chain reaction of breaches and with 43% of data breaches involving small-medium sized businesses it is now even more important for these organizations to stay ahead of the curve.

So what happens in the event that your small business is breached? Depending on what measures you’ve already taken your situation could look very different from a business that has never thought about cyber security. For instance, 83% of SMB’s are not financially prepared to recover from a cybersecurity attack. Your organization does not want to be another one of these statistics. Unfortunately financial loss is not the only thing businesses need to worry about if they fall victim to an attack. Oftentimes the bad press and ruined reputation can be the nail in the coffin for SMB’s, after all who trusts their data with someone they know isn’t secure?

So what exactly do SMB’s need to worry about? The biggest threats facing organizations today are those of phishing, malware, and ransomware. Phishing refers to the use of social engineering coupled with technology to infiltrate an organization. Criminals will often send an email with some sort of request either to provide login credentials, employee information, or to click on a link. These shady links often download malware, a form of malicious software, to harvest private data and gain a foothold into your organization. From there cyber criminals can continue to gather data and sell it to other criminals or hold your data for ransom. This method is called ransomware and it refers to criminals holding your data behind an encryption wall and making you pay to get it back. As you can see hackers have come a long way from simple lottery or Nigerian prince scams. Through the use of social engineering and manipulation hackers can make these scams look insanely legitimate and often pretty easily fool people who aren’t looking closely enough. In fact, 97% of all cyber threats include the use of social engineering which is why humans are often the weakest link in these scenarios.

When it comes to the frequency of these attacks it is not a matter of if you will be targeted, but rather when. Last year 61% of all SMB’s reported at least one cyber attack made against their business. If you think that it couldn’t happen to your business then think again, unfortunately the odds are not in your favor. While not every cyber attack will be successful against your business all it takes is one click to leave you vulnerable.

So how can one protect their organization? Taking practical steps such as using MFA, VDI’s, and password managers can help reduce your attack surface by a significant amount. Additionally, making sure that every employee is up to date on their security awareness training is integral to keeping people in the know about the most recent cyber threats. Finally, MSSP’s like Corporate Information Technologies protect your organization from potential threats and manage your IT concerns. To learn more about how MSP’s like CIT can help secure your business read Lawrence Cruciana’s( Founder and President of Corporate Information Technologies) article published on GRC outlook regarding the state of SMB’s/SLTT’s and how managed IT service providers can aid them in the fight against cyber crime.

CorpInfoTech (Corporate Information Technologies) provides small to mid-market organizations with expert I.T. services including compliance assessment, cybersecurity penetration tests, and comprehensive business continuity planning services. Corporate Information Technologies can help organizations, quantify, create, refine, and mitigate the risks presented by business threatening disasters in whatever form they may be disguised.


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