What is a cyber attack?
A cyber attack is defined as a deliberate attempt to breach the security of an information system, whether it’s through malicious code or denial of service attacks.
While smaller businesses may feel that they are too insignificant to be targeted by hackers, data from the U.S. Secret Service and Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report shows that small businesses are actually more likely to be victims of cybercrime than their larger counterparts. In fact, 43% of all cyber attacks target small businesses.
Despite this, many small businesses remain woefully unprepared for a cyber attack. According to a poll conducted by Hiscox, 60% of small businesses do not have a formal Cyber Incident Response Plan (CIRP) in place.
Why are small businesses so vulnerable to cyber attacks?
There are a number of reasons why small businesses are more vulnerable to cyber attacks than their larger counterparts.
First, small businesses often lack the resources to invest in robust cybersecurity measures. They may not have the budget to hire a dedicated IT security team or to purchase the latest security software. As a result, they often have less sophisticated defenses than larger businesses.
Second, small businesses tend to be less prepared for a cyber attack. They may not have a formal CIRP in place and may not have trained their employees on how to deal with a cyber attack. This lack of preparation can make it easier for hackers to successfully penetrate their systems.
Third, small businesses may be more likely to use legacy systems that are no longer supported by the manufacturer. This can leave them open to attack by vulnerabilities that have already been patched in more recent versions of the software.
Fourth, small businesses may be more likely to store sensitive data onsite, rather than in the cloud. This makes it easier for hackers to access this data if they are able to penetrate the company’s network.
Finally, small businesses may be less likely to have insurance that would cover the costs of a cyber attack. This can leave them vulnerable to financial ruin if they are attacked and their data is compromised.
So, what can you do to reduce the financial impact of a cyber attack on your small business?
Here are 5 tips:
- Invest in robust cybersecurity measures: This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s worth repeating. Small businesses need to invest in robust cybersecurity measures if they want to protect themselves from cyber attacks. This includes investing in a good firewall, antivirus software, and intrusion detection and prevention systems.
- Develop a Cyber Incident Response Plan: As we mentioned earlier, many small businesses do not have a formal CIRP in place. This needs to change. A CIRP will help you to quickly and effectively respond to a cyber attack, minimizing the damage that is caused.
- Train your employees on how to deal with a cyber attack: Your employees are your first line of defense against a cyber attack. They need to be trained on how to identify and deal with an attack. This includes knowing how to spot the signs of an attack, how to report it, and how to respond to it.
- Keep your systems up to date: Small businesses need to make sure that their systems are kept up to date. This includes making sure that all software is patched and that all security updates are installed.
- Store sensitive data offsite: Small businesses should avoid storing sensitive data onsite. This includes customer data, financial data, and employee data. Instead, store this data in the cloud or on a secure server that is not connected to the internet.
By following these five tips, you can help to reduce the financial impact of a cyber attack on your small business. Cyber attacks are becoming more common and more sophisticated, so it’s important to be prepared. Taking these steps will help to protect your business in the event of an attack.