Imagine the scene: The office of a small but successful law firm is broken into. In the ensuing burglary, hundreds of documents relating to personal employee and customer data are stolen and presumed to be available for sale online, including compromising personal information and financial data.
Following an investigation, it becomes apparent that the law firm failed to use basic security checks when attempting to protect its physical premises. No security system, no CCTV and no "locked doors", per se. As a result, clients who once trusted this firm with their data begin a mass exodus and the law firm finds itself in very choppy waters.
This analogy serves to illustrate a crucial point about cybersecurity posture for Small Medium Enterprises. Statistics show that small and medium-sized businesses are not exempt from being targeted by cybercriminals and can be equally, if not more, affected by an attack that could cause significant operational or reputational damage.
Small businesses are subject to all types of cyberattacks, including but not limited to malware, ransomware, and data breaches. All of this leads to privacy, security, and operational risks. These attacks can also end in theft of funds, compromise of confidential business information, unauthorized access and disruption of day-to-day operations.
Cybercrime is growing alongside the increased use of the Internet and corporate networks. Today, more than ever, organizations of all sizes rely on their networks, data and internet connectivity to run their business. Unfortunately, therefore, sensitive data, intellectual property and personal information of small and medium-sized businesses are targeted by an increasingly sophisticated community of cybercriminals.
The fact is, small organizations are just as much of a target in today's cybersecurity landscape as the multinational corporations that grab the headlines.
The automation factor
Organizations of all sizes must come to terms with the fact that they are vulnerable to being the target of a breach. Like the global trend of digitally transforming businesses to improve efficiency or reach new customers, the rise of cybercrime is the result of the digital transformation of traditional crime methods such as extortion. The fact is that the militarization of criminals in the 21st century has become another market in its own right. Automated global attacks, ransomware-as-a-service offerings, widespread phishing campaigns, and other attack vectors are now part of a "business offering" away from the stereotypical "evil genius" hacker extorting an organization by as an independent actor. Ransomware gangs go so far as to attempt to recruit malicious insiders as it grows to be a lucrative market in which there is a lot of money to be made.
According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, the economic impact of the Internet has been greatest among "individual consumers and small start-up entrepreneurs." The internet provides a platform that allows even the smallest businesses to have a global impact.
Forbes reported in March that small businesses are more frequently the target of cyberattacks than larger companies, often because cybercriminals assume they lack the means to protect themselves. In the United States alone, 60% of SMBs went out of business six months after a cyberattack.
As such, organizations are increasingly realizing that investing in cybersecurity platforms should be viewed as a cost of doing business, as attacks now also affect smaller businesses which are more vulnerable due to a lack of resources and awareness.
As technology continues to evolve, the risk of cyberattacks becomes more widespread and complex, so it's crucial for small businesses to review cybersecurity plans.
Leaders must remember that no matter how large their own business operations are, they will never be small enough to remain hidden from cybercriminals; especially if their cybersecurity infrastructure is insufficient.
In today's world, everything is interconnected and many small businesses deal with sensitive data or require remote access from their staff. Therefore, safety becomes an absolute priority. Failure to handle it appropriately could result in significant revenue damage due to service disruption, loss of brand equity and customer trust, professional indemnity, non-compliance issues and , at worst, criminal prosecution.
Business leaders and security teams can work together to make smart decisions that improve overall cybersecurity cultures within their organization. One of the considerations they need to make is working with a specialized service provider who can protect their digital assets and business interests. An example of this is employing the right cybersecurity partner to deliver sophisticated real-time risk management and bring actionable insights to the business where and when it matters most.
The MDR services available from a cybersecurity vendor can protect data, assets, and identities in real time, and detect, respond to, and prevent cyberattacks 24/7. This relieves pressure on IT teams and managers, allowing them to focus on their usual day-to-day tasks, while protecting the business from internal and external cyber threats.