BREAKING NEWS: *Insert Big Name Brand* Suffers A Massive Data Breach

We’ve seen it all before, big corporations make headlines when they fall victim to a cyber attack—that’s just the way it goes. Earlier this year, Estée Lauder, a popular cosmetics retailer, was breached exposing nearly 440 million records. Due to its high impact and the popularity of their business, this quickly became one of the most discussed breaches of the year.

However, big corporations are not the only ones struggling to remain secure under the pressure of rising cyber threats. It’s just that small businesses (who are actually the perfect target for cyber criminals) don’t make the news. This has contributed to creating a false narrative for small business owners when in reality, they aren’t as small or under the radar as they would like to believe.

According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses make up 99.7% of employers in the United States. It would be foolish to think that cyber criminals focus their efforts strictly on corporate giants. Hackers are very skilled and even more strategic. They cast a wide net because it provides the best opportunity to extort money, steal sensitive information, and ultimately profit off of destroying the success and reputation of others without exception.

Simply put, if you run a business, regardless of industry, popularity, products or services sold—you are a target. And, if you are still not convinced, 67% of small businesses in the US and UK were targeted by a cyber attack in the past year.

So what exactly do hackers find so desirable about small businesses? Let’s take a closer look at why the juice may actually be worth the squeeze.

Check Your Priorities

What do small business owners, entrepreneurs, and executives have in common? They have a business to manage! Meaning long days, busy schedules, and multiple hats. This often leaves little time to stay current with network security, keep an eye on rising cyber threats, or follow IT best practices. With such a lengthy list of to-do’s, cybersecurity is frequently put on the back burner. Unfortunately, this causes the business to make do with limited protection and inadequate security—if any at all. After getting by for this long, they find comfort in believing “it won’t happen to me” and don’t see a real need to invest in IT security. It’s just less of a concern so hackers jump on this opportunity.

Old Habits Die Hard

When businesses don’t “feel” like they are vulnerable, they have a tendency to get stuck in their ways relying on outdated tools, protocols, and thinking. For instance, they may fail to take something as simple (yet important) as password security seriously. As we’ve mentioned time and again, 80% of all breaches are the results of weak passwords. Even in the year 2020, there are still companies guarding sensitive data like financial information and customer records with passwords that actually include the word “password.” These issues often arise due to the absence of proper cybersecurity training for employees. One predictable password, one wrong click, one moment of weakness—that’s all it takes. Since many small businesses still lag in their approach to cybersecurity, hackers know they are already a step ahead, if not more.

You And What Army?

It’s not rocket science. Hackers understand they will have to be much more strategic in getting what they want from a corporate giant than they will sneaking past the defenses of a small business. As we’ve come to find out in the news, big name organizations aren’t immune to cyber threats, but cyber criminals still prefer their odds against the resources of a small business. It is rather common for small businesses to lack adequate investments in IT security. Whether that be in the sophistication of tools, specialization or expertise of personnel, or an understaffed IT team—hackers see small businesses as the path of least resistance.

Cybersecurity is no longer nice to have, it’s a must. Even if your business has been lucky enough to avoid a major incident, this is not the time to neglect security. Cyber attacks are on the rise, growing in size and complexity each day.

Regardless of what reaches the front page news, hackers are targeting small businesses due to the perception that it will be much easier to steal sensitive information like customer records and financial data. Yet several small businesses remain on the fence about investing in IT security and worry that they may not have the means to implement a sound cybersecurity strategy.

Fortunately, small businesses do have options to achieve a high-level of security without having to offer up an arm or a leg. By partnering with an IT security firm, your business can get ahead of today’s cyber threats and close gaps in your security without having to invest in fancy tools or hire a team of cybersecurity specialists. When you work together with an IT security firm, you can offload the demands of monitoring a network 24/7/365 while also receiving additional support to be sure you are carrying out cybersecurity best practices.

That’s the thing about technology today—it’s a two way street. While hackers are doing what they can to use technology against you, you can use technology to foil their plans en route to maintaining a protected and productive business environment.