Cybersecurity is a big concern for many businesses, and it should be. The internet has made our lives easier in so many ways, but it’s also opened up more vulnerabilities than ever before.
Small businesses are especially susceptible to cybersecurity threats because they often don’t have the resources available to protect themselves. And when you’re running a business, time is money.
In this article, we’ll discuss six of the most alarming cybersecurity trends small business owners need to watch out for.
1. Many Small Businesses are Unprepared for Cybersecurity Threats
One of the most concerning cybersecurity trends is that small businesses are much less likely to be prepared for cyberattacks than their larger counterparts.
According to a study by Symantec, large companies (those with more than 500 employees) were able to detect and mitigate security breaches in an average of six days or fewer.
However, it took SMBs (businesses with fewer than 100 employees) nearly four times as long, which is 22 days on average.
2. Cybersecurity Breaches are Expensive to Mitigate
Not only are small businesses less prepared for cyberattacks, but they also have fewer resources to mitigate the effects of a data breach.
The Ponemon Institute examined cybersecurity breaches among companies with between 100 and 499 employees in its 2016 study, “Small Businesses & Cybersecurity: Proactive Steps to Reduce Risks.”
It found that the financial impact of ransomware attacks specifically could be significant for SMBs.
Among those surveyed, 36% said it cost more than $100,000 to recover from an attack. It took nearly two months on average (16 days) before these companies were able to fully restore their operations following an attack.
That’s not including damage caused by lost business opportunities or customers during this time period because systems were down.
3. Cyber Criminals are Extremely Savvy and Creative
The cybersecurity landscape is constantly changing, and cybercriminals are extremely creative when it comes to finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities.
Ransomware typically works by using malware or a virus that’s transferred onto the computer system of an unsuspecting user via email attachments or infected files downloaded from spam emails (malicious links) or fake websites masquerading as legitimate ones.
Once on your network, this type of ransomware encrypts all data on your hard drives until you pay for decryption keys, and some variants will even use screen-locking software so you can’t access any part of your machine while they hold important information hostage if you don’t pay up.
This is just one of the many kinds of cyberattacks you can expect to see more often as criminals become increasingly sophisticated and tech-savvy, finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in your network security like:
- Phishing emails
- Fake websites designed for identity theft (phishing)
- Ransomware attacks or dropper malware that infects a system by stealthily inserting itself into other files on your computer without your knowledge.
Small businesses need to keep their guard up and stay vigilant against these types of threats because they’re so common today.
4. Cyber Attacks are Greatly Persistent
Not only are cyber criminals extremely persistent when it comes to finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities, but they also have no qualms about using aggressive techniques once they get their hands on your data.
For example, if you think ransomware is scary in its own right, wait until you hear that there’s a type of sophisticated malware called “suicide” or “mole” ransomware that would actually delete all the files on an infected computer remotely (with little chance for recovery) unless users paid up within 24 hours.
Another concern is how most forms of malware like this will target any file with specific extensions (.docx,.pdf), so even regular Word documents and PDFs could be at risk which means almost every business user is vulnerable.
Protect Your Business from Cyber Attacks
Cybersecurity should be a top concern among small and large businesses. By observing these trends, you can keep your business, assets, and customer data safe.