When you hear of cyber-attacks, you might think of Fortune 500 companies and some of the largest companies in the economy. However, cyber-attacks are a threat that not only faces the largest companies in our economy that house important data, but small businesses as well. In fact, many of those who administer these attacks will specifically target small businesses for a variety of reasons. Small businesses are, in many ways, the backbone of the American economy. A coordinated attack on these businesses could cause widespread harmful effects on the economy and even cause a recession.
An Easier Target
One of the main reasons small businesses are targeted so often by cybercriminals is that they often present an easier target than large businesses. This is because small businesses don’t typically see their data as something that would be of high interest, especially as a business with lower revenue. However, the truth is that cybercriminals are just as likely to attack a small business as they are to go after a large corporation.
Not only are small businesses targeted very often, but the attackers are often successful when they do decide to attack. This is mostly due to the fact that small business owners are not well-versed when it comes to online protection. This occurs in both stages of the attack: before and after. Before a cyber-attack, small businesses are not taking the necessary steps to protect themselves and their information. Software and services that are designed to protect these businesses are often difficult to understand and represent an expensive investment.
Additionally, small business owners might not even recognize when they have been attacked. This prevents them from addressing the core of the issue and taking steps to prevent it in the future. Once a cybercriminal identifies a business as an easy target, it is hard to shake off that designation.
Finally, without knowing when they’ve been attacked, small business owners are also not reporting the incidents, which doesn’t help government agencies that have been designated to address these issues.
A Ripple Effect
Small businesses are one of the most important elements of our economy. They play a vital role in many steps of the capitalist lifecycle and provide more texture to the American economy. When they are attacked by cybercriminals, the effects of those attacks are vast and wide-reaching. This is especially true when the effects are compounded over years of failing to actually address the issues that are causing it.
A recent study found that the majority of small businesses that experience a cyber attack and data breach go out of business within the 6 months following the attack. This is because small businesses do not have the right resources to fight data theft that occurs in a cyber attack. They can quickly lose the trust of their customers and lose their foothold in their industry. Without a proper response to cyber attacks on the nation’s small businesses, we can expect this trend to continue and have a devastating effect throughout the economy.