small businesses

Many small businesses consider themselves too small to be hackers’ favorite targets. So they spend all the energy and resources on growing their businesses. Cybersecurity is not their top priority. If you also do the same, you’re putting the online security of your business on the line. 

According to a recent survey by Kaspersky, a leading global cybersecurity company, around 36% of small businesses have been victims of data breaches in 2019. The share of small businesses that faced data breaches has climbed 6% points (from 30% in 2018).

Being a small business owner, you cannot take data breaches lightly. This is because data breaches can cause you $50,000 to recover and you can lose 29% of your customer base, let alone the reputation loss you would have after a data breach. 

Being Small Doesn’t Make You off the Radar 

When it comes to data breaches, be it a small business, medium-sized business, or enterprise, none is safe. 

48% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMBs) have been the victim of data breaches in 2019, which is 2% up from 2018 (it was 46% in 2018). 

If you look at the number of small businesses alone, 36% of small businesses experienced data breaches (6% up from 2018).

53% of enterprises fall victim to data breaches in 2019, which is 3% up from 2018, as found in Kaspersky’s survey.

                                        Image Source: Kaspersky 

You can clearly understand from the above data set that data breach cases spiked in the small business segment more than the rest this year.

Now the question comes whether small businesses are prepared to handle these incremental data breaches or not. 

Well, the current preparedness of small business owners to prevent data breaches is not enough. 

As the survey shows, 33% of small businesses don’t have any centralized cybersecurity management. Individual employees are responsible to safeguard their computers. 

Though some small businesses (25%) use consumer products for data protection, products designed for home-users don’t offer the optimum level of protection that businesses require.   

How Small Business Can Prevent Data Breaches 

Regardless of your business size, you need to make a robust plan to prevent data breaches

Here are the top three, quick tips for data breach prevention:

1- Educate Yourself And Employees

You and your employees are the first line of defense against data breaches. So you should make sure that all the individuals in your company are aware of the latest cybersecurity best practices. 

Also, you should enforce a strong password policy for everyone. 

Organizing cybersecurity workshops preodicially is a good way to keep everyone informed. 

Randomly getting data breach preparedness of you and employees assessed by a third-party vendor can help you discover the areas of improvement. 

2- Keep Your Software Updated 

You should ensure that you and your employees should never ignore “update now” messages that pop while working on software applications. 

Cybercriminals try to find vulnerabilities in software that small businesses use to seal data or encrypt it to demand ransoms. Software updates fixe these vulnerabilities, making software safer to work on. 

So always keep your software updated. 

3- Invest in Cybersecurity 

You cannot afford to adopt a passive approach to cybersecurity. With increasing attacks on small businesses, you must include cybersecurity in your list of top priorities. 

Hire a cybersecurity expert, buy essential cybersecurity tools, invest in encryption, and backup your essential data to safeguard your business from data breaches. 

Andrey Dankevich, Solution Business Lead, Kaspersky, says, “Smaller companies are often focused on how to make their business work and grow — just like they should be. They may not have cybersecurity among their top priorities, however, the cost for overlooking the problem will only grow. Why? Because malware doesn’t distinguish between its victims and because even very small organizations have something to lose, such as sensitive data.” 

Your business is like your baby, so you owe it to yourself to protect it from all the kinds of cyberthreats. 

The Survey

The survey included 1138 companies having 1-49 employees. Kaspersky conducted this IT Security Risks Survey in April 2019. 

Sandeep Rathore is the founder of QuickScream, a platform to learn online marketing tips to grow your small business. He loves writing on topics related to small business success, personal branding, and cybersecurity. His byline has appeared in leading publications. Entrepreneur, GoDaddy, Small Business Trends, Startup Grind, and Social Media Today are just a few to name. Contact him on LinkedIn and Twitter

Data breach stock photo by wk1003mike/Shutterstock