Every time you turn on the news, it seems like another data breach has just happened. In just one week in September 2019, Wired reported major security breaches at power companies, social media giants, and the biggest cell phone manufacturers. Small business owners may think that they’re immune to cyberthreats, but that’s not true. In fact, small- and medium-sized businesses can be particularly tempting targets since they’re less likely to have robust security in place to protect their data.
Here are four critical reasons to consider increasing your cybersecurity.
Threats are getting more prevalent
You’re not imagining it. It’s not only the 24-hour news cycle; cybercrime is becoming more prevalent, according to Accenture Security. A survey by PwC says that just under half of medium-sized and large businesses are actively watching for threats to their data security. Keeping your anti-virus and firewall software up to date and teaching your employees to avoid phishing emails are great starts – but they’re not enough anymore.
Attacks affect your bottom line
Security Magazine reports that cyberattacks cost the economy $45 million in 2018 alone. While it’s difficult to calculate precisely what any given business loses in an attack, costs can include downtime, a loss of customer trust, the cost of replacing lost data, and the cost of replacing hardware or software damaged during the attack. Those costs mount up; they could be enough to push a smaller or even medium-sized business out of the entrepreneurial world for good.
Data loss penalties are severe
Regulators impose penalties on companies that lose data, especially when they determine that the company did not do enough to protect that data. At first, those penalties were minor – companies had to pay for credit monitoring services or otherwise compensate victims of data theft. Now, however, regulators are getting serious. Many of the most recent data breaches could arguably have been prevented if the businesses had taken simple steps to protect customer information.
Recovering customer trust can be impossible
There are many reasons that customers come to trust a business. The most common reasons are high-quality service, a sense of security, and shared values. Those in the millennial and Gen Z brackets are already rapidly losing trust with businesses; in some cases, a customer is willing to leave a business after just one bad customer service experience. Finding out that your data has been lost through a company’s carelessness – especially when the vulnerability that caused the data loss could have been easily prevented – can absolutely kill a customer’s desire to ever work with a business again. And one of the unfortunate truths of the modern business world is that no business is so unique that the customer won’t be able to find a comparable product somewhere.
Businesses need to react quickly to the growing threat of cyberattacks by stepping up their cybersecurity. The good news is that there are simple steps that can be taken to improve safety today.
- Make sure all your software is up to date. Implement patches and make sure your employees aren’t skipping virus updates or other data updates.
- Train your employees on phishing scams, then test them.
- Protect your physical hardware as well as your software and network; have a plan for what happens if a business laptop or other piece of equipment is lost.
- Consider working with an experienced, professional IT service to get your cybersecurity up to date. Expert companies can help you find weak spots and shore them up so that you can have peace of mind.
By taking simple steps, you can protect your bottom line as you enhance your cybersecurity.