Securing small to medium-sized businesses, and why they face larger cybersecurity challenges

When it comes to cybersecurity, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have their work cut out for them. While cyberattacks are nothing new, cyberattacks have become an increasingly pernicious problem. This is especially true since 2022 when many thousands of businesses around the world attached new devices and began incorporating remote working in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. IoT (Internet of Things) cyber-attacks alone are expected to double by 2025.

And as stated in the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risk Report, the rate of detection is as low as 0.05%. SMBs and new startups today face a particularly harsh and ever-changing landscape fraught with larger cybersecurity challenges. The pandemic amplified cybercrime, which is up 600% since the COVID-19 pandemic. And now, since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, that number is set to rise even higher.

Businesses, especially SMBs, want to know how to best secure themselves against the onslaught of cyberattacks sweeping the west in these times of uncertainty. They want to know how to protect themselves from devastating breaches, theft or being held to ransom. We’ll detail how to begin to secure SMBs, and we’ll discuss why they face larger cybersecurity challenges today, with stats and facts to hand.

The impact of cyberattacks.

It’s important that businesses, no matter what the size, understand the potential impact of cyberattacks. While many business leaders will believe that they already know what can happen during a major cybersecurity event, many don’t realise the true extent, scale and severity that today’s increasingly sophisticated and intelligent cyberattacks can inflict on their businesses.

Cyberattacks come in many different forms. They can impact an organisation in many ways. By their very nature, they’re duplicitous and often multifaceted. Regardless of the type of cyberattack, the impact can be devastating, especially for SMBs who don’t have the resources behind them that large organisations and corporations do.

Financial loss is often the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they think about cyberattacks on businesses. Financial loss can occur at the time of the event, in the case of a ransomware attack, for example, but it can also occur over time. Upon any cyberattack, there’s going to be a loss in productivity, as most cyberattacks will render the business unable to function and take them out for hours, days or weeks. This loss of productivity wreaks havoc on a business’s bottom line.

But that’s not all. Damage to reputation, legal liability and business continuity are all major problems that can occur at the onset of a cyberattack. And in many cases, it’s the slightest tears in the fabric of a business’s security posture, which could have been easily fixed, that wave a flag at cybercriminals looking for any opening and opportunity to do damage.

Securing small to medium-sized businesses against cyberattacks.

While most SMBs don’t hold the vast sums or a country’s most delicate information, they often make easy prey and a good killing for opportunistic cybercriminals. According to recent statistics, 43% of cyberattacks are aimed at SMBs. And research has unveiled that a massive 73% of small businesses lack the capacity and expertise to defend themselves against the increasingly large number of cyberattacks. Armed with this knowledge, we can predict that the number of cyberattacks on SMBs is only going to go up even more.

But that’s not all. The 2021 Data Breach Investigation Report from Verizon reports that 28% of data breaches in 2020 involved small businesses. And ransomware attacks, which can prove particularly devastating, continue to increase in prevalence. Verizon’s 15th DBIR revealed that ransomware attacks doubled from 12% of all security breaches in 2020 to 25% in 2021.

Suffice it to say, SMBs must arm themselves and use the best practises available to them to bolster their security in a time where cyberattacks are more prevalent than ever — and only seem to continue to rise in number and viciousness.

No matter their current security posture, there are several checkboxes businesses can begin to check that could make all the difference, and potentially save their enterprise incursions and loss.

A robust defence against cyberattacks starts with the simplest practises, such as:

  • Keeping software up-to-date: installing general and security updates as soon as they become available.
  • Creating frequent backups: backing up confidential and vital data and business information can be a saving grace in case of a cyberattack that induces data or information loss.
  • Using password protection: enabling password protection and two-factor authentication (2FA) to computers, IoT devices and applications and accounts.
  • Training employees: making sure employees understand cybersecurity best practices, how to work safely online and when to report signs of potential cyber risks.
  • Being alert: keeping up-to-date with the state of security threats and being alert to increased risks.

While these simple yet powerful practises will help secure businesses against the increased risk of cyberattacks, there’s a lot more ground to cover for full protection. And, with cyberattacks increasing in frequency and becoming evermore sophisticated, businesses must take the further steps necessary to fully protect their enterprise and prevent damage to their reputation, bottom line and the entire enterprise.

Take steps to fully secure your business.