Mass targeting is the real cyber security threat to small businesses
Cyber threats and malware attacks have become a constant source of headlines in recent years, as high profile attacks against major corporations and organisations highlight the damage that can be done when data and private information is breached.
However, for small business owners reading headlines about attacks against multinationals and entire states, it is easy to assume they are not a priority for cyber criminals and safe from attack, prompting them to invest little in small business cyber security.
That is a big mistake to make.
It is likely the case that an individual small business may not be targeted in isolation, but many modern cyber attacks are carried out using mass targeting techniques, identifying thousands of small businesses and attacking them all at once.
Thinking they are too small to be targeted becomes the very thing that makes small businesses vulnerable to these large scale threats.
Looking at the potential gains for a criminal to attack hundreds, or thousands, of small businesses en masse, using automated technology, and the pay out soon adds up to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pounds.
One survey revealed that more than a fifth of SMBs had been victim of a cyber attack with the average loss being £10,000. And 10 per cent of those said they had spent an additional £50,000 on average putting in stronger small business cyber security following the attack.
With automation taking much of the work out, why wouldn’t criminals actively target multiple small businesses at a time – especially if each one is under the impression they won’t be targeted at all.
Constructing a small business cyber security plan
With so many small time, online criminals and fraudsters using new generations of easily available automated tools to target small businesses and consumers on an industrial scale – strong small business cyber security has become essential.
These online criminals are seeking the quick wins, the easy pickings. And that is where the deterrent is key. Just as a burglar alarm will deter the casual house breaker, effective security will deter the online criminal who will move on to the next, easier target.
The challenge is that many modern businesses are much more complex, deploying cloud-based systems and promoting remote working amongst employees, often with employees using their own devices.
Securing this complex infrastructure against the continually evolving threats requires an in-depth defence model.
Organisations need a diverse range of solutions, from Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware, to anti-spam, two-factor authentication, firewall, online encryption and even hard disc data encryption to lock down and secure sensitive data.
However, more must also be done by developers of these solutions to make them suited to small business needs, with many on the market sitting in the category of either for use by top end multinational businesses, or the individual users looking to protect a personal laptop – neither of which translates into a usable or scalable solution for a small business.
Administering cyber security for a small business
Ensuring online encryption has been deployed properly on every device in the business, and that it is being properly used and complied with has, to date, been an unmanageable overhead that simply cannot be addressed by one small business person or part time IT person.
The difficulty in deploying a small business cyber security solution across the company and, more crucially, monitor it to ensure all processes are being followed properly, is immense and many are unable to cope.
Small business online encryption must be brought into line with the more mature Anti-Virus products which bring a consumer level ease of use, and they must provide the ability to track and monitor compliance to ensure all employees are using the technology correctly at all times.
It is time that small business owners wake up to the increasing threats caused by cyber attacks and criminals and invest in small business cyber security.
And it is time the cyber security industry provided small businesses with the tools they need to properly protect themselves.
Unsure what type of security model you’ll need to safeguard your business from cyber security threats? Read our eBook, "Dispelling the cyber security delusion in small businesses", where we explore the different types of online encryption tools that are available for use.
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