What is Small Business Cybersecurity?
Many small businesses are unprepared for cyberattacks due to some common misconceptions. Here are a few points to help you to make informed decisions about how to protect your small business from the disruption and destruction that can follow a cyberattack:
Antivirus software has limitations. Typical antivirus software is designed to prevent, detect, and eliminate known variants of viruses and malware. Typical antivirus software operates by running in the background and scanning for threats, and small businesses often think that this is sufficient protection against cyberattacks. Unfortunately, new threats emerge every day and you could be attacked before your antivirus software recognizes the threat. Also, many new threats are designed specifically to evade detection from common security solutions, such as antivirus software. While antivirus software is an important tool to help protect against malware and viruses, it may not offer enough protection from the latest threats. Consider adding on cybersecurity solutions that can monitor the network for any unusual activity.
Small businesses are attractive targets for cyberattacks. Many small businesses think that they are too small of an organization to be a target of cyberattacks, but this is not true. Two reasons that cyberattackers find small businesses to be attractive targets is that they are less likely to have sophisticated cybersecurity solutions in place and they can use small businesses as gateways to gain entry into the systems of larger organizations.
IT security and cybersecurity are not the same. Information technology (IT) security refers to protecting data and information systems from unauthorized access. It involves implementing processes that prevent the misuse, modification, or theft of sensitive company information. Cybersecurity refers to the protection of data on the internet from cyberattackers. Your small business will need to develop risk management plans for both IT security and cybersecurity. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recognizes information security and cybersecurity as two separate career paths. As a small business, it is important to recognize that your IT personnel may not have the skills and training to meet your cybersecurity needs.
Look at cybersecurity as an investment, rather than an expense. A cyberattack can be devastating for a small business. According to one study, 60% of small firms go out of business withing six months of a data breach.1 The average loss from a single cyberattack has risen to nearly $200,000, which does not include the additional burdens of legal fees, compliance penalties, damage to the reputation of your small business, or your loss of customers and partners.2 Consider that cybersecurity solutions are investments that yield safety and reliability as a return, which adds value to your business.
1 NCSA, 2012, “America’s Small Businesses Must Take Online Security More Seriously”
2 Kaspersky, 2022, “Small businesses are still in danger, facing an increasing number of attacks in 2022”