Many small businesses are unprepared and unconcerned with the risk of a cyberattack because of their “it won’t happen to us” thinking, but customers are increasingly concerned about the security of their personal data. What’s worse is that a cybersecurity breach can have long-lasting effects on your revenue because it can damage your company’s reputation and make loyal customers lose interest.
Do not underestimate the impact of a cyberattack on brand reputation. It could affect the business’s quality of service by impacting its ability to operate i.e. having to shut down a website and spending money on getting it up and running again. And many forget about the costs associated with the recovery phase of a data breach and at times they can be difficult to even track. These costs involve technical investigations and data recovery, legal and regulatory activities and the cost of lost business. According to ITWeb, these costs have escalated from R32 million in 2017 to R36.5 million this year.
Employees could feel the stress and strain of the incident, which will ultimately impact their ability to work efficiently. Depending on the growth trajectory, all these factors could affect the survival of the business.
Reasons SMEs are more vulnerable
Attacking an SME offers low risk and a high reward for cybercriminals because they have much to gain and little to lose. SMEs are also easier targets because most of them do not have a data security policy in place much less a firewall or end-point security. Many SMEs often apply a one-size-fits-all approach to cybersecurity. Advanced attacks are a blend of email and network exploits, making it even more difficult for these technologies as standalone solutions to stop them. Standalone products aren’t enough.
The rise of e-commerce:Online stores will always be attractive targets for cybercriminals. The e-commerce sector processes large volumes of personal data like credit card data. Once this is in their possession, criminals can monetise the sensitive data on the black market. If you are a small business and are in the e-commerce industry, this doubles your risk. Currently, the biggest cybersecurity risks facing e-commerce businesses are threefold – malware, overconfident perceptions and the human factor.
Malware:We have mentioned the impact of malware and in line with this, it’s important to stress that these attacks are becoming more complex. Today, malware is harder to detect with an increase in logger/spyware malware found in e-commerce organisations. This shows that attackers are keen to have access for longer so they can steal customer credentials and record transactions.
Overconfident perceptions:Tripwire recently conducted a cybersecurity survey and found that about 90% of participating organisations believed they would be able to detect a critical data breach in just 48 hours. Yet more than half had shaky security policies, standards and procedures in place and had only marginally implemented the necessary intrusion detection and antivirus tools and solutions. Described as the “rose-coloured glasses” effect, it’s important that businesses are honest about how good or bad their existing security programmes truly are.
The human factor:Did you know that human error is the leading cause of data and security breaches and is responsible for 52% of cyber incidents ? It’s important that employees are made fully aware of the risks and understand their responsibilities when it comes to information security. As many as a quarter of staff members will click on suspicious links in emails and inadvertently (or maliciously) divulge sensitive information to unauthorised parties. So cybersecurity training for your staff is essential.
The best way to reduce the financial and reputational damage of a cyber breach is not to have one in the first place. Prevention is key, so investing in end-point security and antivirus and firewall solutions is your best defence. And just in case something does happen, we advise you invest in a backup solution to allow you to recover from a possible breach.
Ignite exists to enable the success of small businesses. We offer a host of security solutions that enable you to focus on business operations, rest assured that security is taken care of. Look through our Cloud Backup and Secure Email solutions and contact one of our client managers to start a conversation on the health of your IT security, you can’t afford not to.