As big of a problem cybersecurity is for small businesses, it’s also very difficult to prepare for and to defend against. These attacks can range from server crashes, to data breaches, to malware and viruses. Research from Symantec found that 40 percent of all targeted cyberattacks were directed at small and medium-sized businesses. If you think that these attacks won’t happen to you and so you don’t need to invest or to pay attention, you’re already too vulnerable. It’s time to listen up.
Security technology firm McAfee released an online threats report at the beginning of the year, predicted what would be some of the biggest threat loopholes for 2011. This report hasn’t been wrong. Two of the threats included the use of url-shortening systems to mask malicious links, and an increase of attacks and threats to mobile devices (News of the World, anyone?). How many of us have clicked on a malicious link, not only because it was disguised with a url-shorterner, but also because that link was sent by “someone we know”? Mobile phones were predicted to be a threat loophole due to the lack of encryption services, their increasing use, and their fragile cellular infrastructure. If the technology behind the security is lagging behind, then are we to blame if we are lagging behind in getting the security for our technology?
Yes, and no. On the one hand, cybercriminals will always be coming up with a new way to attack a small business. So, unless you hire a professional hacker to test your system every month, and to try and stay one step ahead of the others, it’s nearly impossible to protect yourself from an attack for the rest of time. On the other hand, saying it’s impossible and therefore doing nothing at all to protect yourself is just plain foolish. You may not be able to prevent every attack, but you should at least take the precautions such as backing up data, having a plan in place to warn customers, and investing in the security that is out there to protect your small business.
Defending your business from cybercriminals and malware is difficult. Putting up the protection you need doesn’t take place overnight, and may not necessarily be cheap. But, it is possible and three businesses discuss how they did it. Even so, having the security will be cheaper in the long run. About 60 percent of small businesses will close shop within six months of an attack. That’s certainly a lot more costly than protecting yourself in the first place.