Businesses of all sizes are constantly under the threat of cyberattacks. Data breaches and ransomware incidents on large organizations dominate the news due to the size and scope of their customer bases. However, often overshadowed in this murky world of malware and mayhem is the need for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to implement and maintain adequate defenses and cybersecurity coverage. These organizations don’t typically stand in the spotlight when they experience a threat or an actual attack, but damages to these businesses can be impactful and long-lasting if left unprepared for an incident.
Owners of small- and medium-sized businesses of all kinds need to familiarize themselves with the growing number of threats surrounding their daily activities. Simply believing that your business is too small to be a target can leave you scrambling to deal with a security issue when it does occur.
And they do occur. Much more often than you might be aware of.
66% of SMEs have experienced at least one cyberattack within the last year, with 60% of these going out of business within six months of the attack, according to one survey report. While an attack might not be the sole cause of failure for these businesses, the cost to repair and restore operations afterward can be substantial.
The average cost of restoring an SME business’s data after a data breach is in excess of $25,000, with that number steadily rising each year. Furthermore, that cost doesn’t take into account other expenses that might follow in the footsteps of an attack, such as attorney’s fees, downtime, potential regulatory fines, and the loss of customer trust.
The truth is that if you are not already prepared and informed about these risks, and the damage that they can have on your business, you’re well behind the curve. It’s not too late to take action to get adequate defenses and preparations in place, but time is of the essence if you want to keep the doors open before, during, and after a cyberattack.
False Sense of Security Lead to Lack of Security
One key factor leading some SMEs toward a date with imminent cyber-doom is a false sense of security in thinking that because they are a smaller business, they don’t face the same threats as larger organizations. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Statistics show that just under half of all cyberattacks are directed at small businesses, with only a fraction of these possessing the expertise or infrastructure to properly defend themselves.
Without data breach defenses and other cybersecurity measures in place, many SMEs that fall victim to an incident tare hit with a situation that ends up being much more complicated and costly than if they had security measures implemented ahead of time. On top of the added costs, businesses also face extended periods of downtime as they work to address the issue and get daily activities back online. By believing you are not at risk, you can actually increase the potential damage a cyberattack can have on your small- or medium-sized business.
With the estimates of the average financial impact and the length of stalled operations time both steadily on the rise, this error in security judgment can have a potentially lethal effect. One attack left undefended can bring an unprepared SME to its knees and result in the organization going out of business.
Digital Advances Necessitate Defensive Evolution
Another area where SMEs sometimes fall behind is adopting new advancements to meet a changing cybersecurity landscape. Larger organizations often have a dedicated data defense team or at least up-to-date defensive measures in place. Smaller organizations may be slower to meet developing threats head-on. Even if a cybersecurity strategy or plan was discussed or implemented previously, it might not be effective today. Regular assessments of the threat landscape need to be a part of annual operations. If your business does not have the skills or capabilities to handle this internally, external data breach planning and response services are more than recommended.
Simple security measures that worked in decades past are no longer adequate. Anti-virus software is not a guaranteed line of defense, and 80% of SMEs admit that infectious malware has slipped by software defenses alone. As the working world leans more toward fully digital and hybrid virtual environments, risks rise right alongside those trends. Cloud-based services, offsite communications, and a geographically spread-out team of employees all come with inherent security risks while also being far more of a common practice for the modern small business. Up-to-date defenses need to be in place to keep up.
Reactive vs. Proactive Security Measures
Some SMEs may also feel like they do not need to get outside assistance or security help until they actually experience a data breach or other cyberattack. This type of reactive measure may save a business from folding, but it does nothing to limit the potential damages from the attack in the first place. You might initially save some money off of your bottom line by not paying for a cybersecurity service. But a ransomware situation or regulatory fines after a data breach will leave you wondering what to do and who to call for help.
By taking proactive security measures, you help ensure the long-term success and well-being of your business. Just as health insurance can help you address issues ahead of time, so too can preventative cyber defenses prepare your business for otherwise devastating circumstances. Running any sized business requires forethought and planning in order to succeed. When it comes to cybersecurity issues, being ahead of the curve and having a defensive plan in place might very literally save the life of your organization.
All businesses need to have cyber defenses to handle the steady stream of threats that exist in our modern world. Small- and medium-sized businesses do not always have the resources or reputation to withstand the damages caused by a cyberattack. However, implementing adequate defenses and/or adapting any currently in place is vital toward proper preparation in the modern business environment.
LibertyID is the leader in identity theft restoration, having restored the identities of tens of thousands of individuals without fail. If you retain personal information on your customers, now is the time to get data breach planning and a response program in place with our LibertyID for Small Business data breach preparation program. With LibertyID Enterprise you can now add value to existing products, services, or relationships by covering your customers, employees, or members with LibertyID’s fully managed identity theft restoration service – at a fraction of our retail price – with no enrollment and no file sharing. We have no direct communication with your group members – until they need us.
Call us now for a now obligation proposal at 844-44-LIBERTY (844) 445-4237