If you own a small business, you might think that hackers aren’t really interested in your data. After all, they’ve successfully penetrated the security of some of the world’s largest retailers and corporations, so why would they come after you? The truth is that SMBs are the prime targets for hackers for a few very different and surprising reasons.
SMBs are the Largest Target
While you might only hear about the large companies who’ve been victimized by hackers and ransomware on the news, SMBs are the largest target – and by quite a large margin. In fact, Inc. reported on a Verizon Data Breach Report in late 2015 that showed small businesses represented 70% of all the data breaches for that year. Nothing has changed since then; in fact, if anything, small businesses are experiencing an increase of attacks each year, and the same source reports that small businesses pay an average of $36,000 in damages for each attack.
Your Employees Are Your Biggest Threat
Most small businesses go to great lengths to ensure their data is safe from external attacks. They may encrypt their data, hide it behind firewalls, and install a variety of security software for that very purpose. Although this is a great idea, these small businesses are forgetting one very important part of their security – their employees. Verizon’s survey also found that one in every four people will click a link found in a phishing email while on their employers’ networks, and this opens the entire network up to threats. That’s why small businesses are often the biggest targets; employers have fewer protocols in place to prevent employees from opening these links.
Hackers Know You’re Under-Secured
The fact of the matter is that most small businesses don’t go to the same lengths to protect their data as large corporations. They simply lack the funding for the necessary infrastructures, and hackers know this. If a burglar sees a house locked up and protected with an alarm, but the neighbor left his doors wide open, that burglar will rob the unlocked home because it’s viewed as an easy target. For this reason, even if you have a very small business, it’s vital to put the proper security and infrastructure in place to protect not only yourself, but also your employees and customers.
Things to Consider
First things first, it’s important to remember that a hacker won’t overlook your business simply because it’s small. In fact, it’s more likely that you’ll be attacked if you have fewer than 100 employees. You should take the time to educate your employees about internet safety; encourage them to avoid clicking links, and teach them how to recognize malicious emails and websites. Next, work with a professional or an outsourced IT company to help you set up the proper security infrastructure. After all, locking your doors is the first step in keeping an intruder out.
Although hackers certainly have less to gain from a small business when they do manage to get in, the truth is that many small businesses leave their doors wide open – and hackers know it. It’s important to protect yourself and your network from the start so you don’t become a victim of a security breach.