“Small businesses are hit by 62% of all cyber-attacks, about 4,000 per day, according to IBM. Cybercriminals target small businesses because they are an easy, soft target to penetrate.” – Gary Miller, Denver Post, March 24th, 2017
The above statistic is alarming, and yet, not unexpected. It makes sense that small businesses would be the #1 target for hackers attempting to steal valuable data. After all, all client personal data is valuable, so why not target a business that lacks the resources of a major corporation? When mega-businesses like Target, Sony, and Yahoo are targeted by hackers, it makes headline news. The reason the masses hear about these household names is because breaches of their magnitude often compromise 100+ million customers’ information. The reality is that it would take a news network exclusively dedicated to reporting data breaches to cover all the available stories out there each year. In fact, look at this ongoing list of companies that have already had data breaches in 2017! Although, these numbers are astounding, it does not have to be a breach of that scale to cause devastation for a business.
An article published by the Denver Post in 2016 cited 60% of small businesses never recover from a cyber-attack - - 60%! These businesses are often targeted by malware that encrypt their files and do not allow them to be released until the hacker’s demands are met. This Ransomware is how hackers make their money. Small businesses have no choice but to meet the hacker’s demands because the consequence for refusal could be tens of thousands of sensitive client data being sold and distributed throughout the world, resulting in costlier legal action from unhappy customers. Unfortunately, this is often the kiss-of-death for businesses that are in their infancy. According to the Ponemon Institutue, these attacks can cost a company $500,000+, and many simply do not have the capital nor the infrastructure to recover from such an attack.
And the threat is constantly changing. Just like technology, malware and viruses are constantly being updated to sneak past security systems and find new inventive ways to access your servers. Securities that part-time IT employees and smaller IT teams struggle to keep current.
Does this mean that small businesses aren’t able to keep up and flourish because they are just waiting around to be picked-off by a hacker, like a sitting duck? No. Instead, companies often turn to managed IT services for cyber security solutions that are available to protect their business. Not all of these services are equal, but it is possible for a small business to have the same support as a larger company by investing in one of the many options available to them. Companies who specialize in these services are typically better equipped to manage the day-to-day threats, in addition to keeping all of a business’ equipment up-to-date and operating at 100%. It’s no wonder why more and more companies are switching away from a standard one-person IT department, and migrating to managed services that can offer a team of people who will monitor their company 24 hours per day.
Educating yourself on what is available can be daunting, but companies like Standard Office Systems have great information to get you started down the path of better cyber security solutions.
Posted by Erica Kastner
Erica Kastner is a lead Content Specialist at Standard Office Systems as well as a University of Georgia graduate. She aims to use her passion for problem-solving to help businesses understand how to better leverage their network infrastructure.