Cyber attacks upon large companies are reported in the news quite regularly. In recent times, companies like Target, Ebay, Domino’s Pizza, Home Depot, and AT&T were all hacked, resulting in varying degrees of damages.
And it seems that cyber-criminals are getting better at what they do. The Heritage Organization reported that the cost of cyber crime against U.S. retailers more than doubled in just a year’s time.
But in spite of the regular news reports about attacks that have occurred, many attacks are never reported publicly. The Heritage report indicates that cyber crime occurs on a daily basis. And many companies that fall victim aren’t even aware that their security has been compromised – at least not initially.
Small Companies Are Also At Risk
Most cyber crime reported in the news involves large companies. And that fact might be feeding the false sense of security that exists among a number of small business owners. Many small business owners, in fact, believe that they simply aren’t attractive targets for cyber-criminals.
But unfortunately, that’s wrong. That’s very wrong.
According to the National Small Business Association, half of small businesses were the victims of a cyber attack last year. Half! And the average cost of each of those attacks was nearly $21,000.
So while big businesses are getting most of the spotlight when it comes to cyber crime, small businesses are doing their share of the suffering.
It’s true that large companies are attractive to cyber criminals due to the size of the potential payoff from a successful hack. But small businesses are also attractive targets because of the ease with which they can be compromised. Many small businesses just don’t have an effective security plan in place for thwarting cyber criminals.
How To Increase the Cyber-Security of Your Small Business
Your small business certainly can’t match the resources allocated to cyber security by a Fortune 500 company. But that doesn’t mean that your company is unavoidably destined to become easy pickings for cyber criminals.
The Small Business Administration offers a number of tips for tightening your cyber security, including the following:
- Protective Software. Install antivirus and antispy software on all of your company’s computers. Make sure that the software is regularly updated (automated updates are recommended).
- Cyber-Secure Policies. Put in place policies for the handling of sensitive customer data. Make sure that all employees understand and comply with those policies.
- Up-To-Date Software. Software such as web browsers and operating systems are regularly updated with maintenance releases, and quite frequently the updates address security issues. Make certain that the software on your computers is kept up-to-date with the latest maintenance releases.
A great way to get started in your quest to tighten your cyber security would be to utilize the Small Biz Cyber Planner offered by the SBA. It’s free, and will help you to create an effective plan for making your business safer.
And since knowledge is power, it might also be wise to invest some time in taking the SBA’s free training course about small business cyber security.
The Bigger They Are…
The bigger they are, the harder they fall. And that’s why cyber criminals like hacking into big companies. The potential windfall is massive.
But cyber crime against small business is also on the rise – big time. That’s partly because of the resources that big companies are committing to increasing their cyber security.
And small businesses can fall awfully hard too, relatively speaking. If your small company is the one out of every two that is hit, the consequences can be devastating. So if you haven’t been putting lots of thought and effort into protecting your business against cyber crime, it’s time to do so.
In fact, it’s way past time.
Chris Delker is a freelance copywriter based in Dallas, Texas.