There’s a common misconception among small businesses that cyber criminals focus all their efforts on larger corporations. This simply isn’t true! According to Accenture, small businesses are the target of 43 percent of attacks and only 14 percent are equipped to defend themselves. Insurance carrier, Hiscox, claims that these incidents cost businesses an average of $200,000. A data security breach can be a financial hardship for any company, but it is particularly difficult on smaller businesses without the finances to survive these massive data losses.
Small Businesses are More Susceptible than Large Organisations
Larger corporations have the financial bandwidth to spend millions or even billions on data security. They know how important it is from a long-term perspective. There are extensive policies and dedicated teams to manage their security networks. Software giant, Microsoft, announced an investment of $1 billion each year for their cyber security.
No small business can keep up in these instances, which is why they are at the forefront of many cyber attacks today. It is easier to hack into a small business system without enough protective measures than to breach massive organisations with hefty investments in data security.
How Are Small Businesses Put at Risk?
Employee errors, old systems, poor management of passwords, clicking on untrustworthy links from company emails are all common reasons why small businesses are at risk.
Email invoice scams are one of the most common issues businesses face. A scammer will put in fraudulent payment details into a seemingly legitimate invoice. An unsuspecting business pays the vendor but the payment goes to the fraudster.
Old desktop or legacy systems are still commonly used by small businesses since they don’t want to bear the cost of change. But old systems cannot keep up with technology changes, which means they can face multiple threats like viruses and hardware breakdowns. Newer cloud and web based technologies are much more agile and can withstand more technological changes to stay up to date.
Natural and manmade disasters can severely impact businesses that rely on manual processes like paperwork storage and cabinet filing.
Disgruntled employees can leak important company passwords or use it to play havoc on the entire system, which can cost a business hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Why You Need to Look at Data Security Closely?
Most businesses today use some type of software to run their operations, whether it is for accounting, admin related work and CRMs. Each component must be secure for the business to run uninterrupted and efficiently.
There are many cloud security providers out there but some of the top ones are industry leaders Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. They already dedicate millions of dollars to protecting their services, which is why it makes sense for smaller organisations to piggyback off their security instead of investing huge sums of money on their own.
Using software with a strong security focus is a good way to keep your costs low, but still benefit from a secure system. For example, our car dealer software, EasyCars, is backed up on Microsoft Azure so the business gets the benefit of a secure Microsoft-enabled server without the heavy investment.
It is very hard for a small business to bounce back from a data breach. It can hurt you financially and ruin your hard-earned reputation. You cannot afford for your customers to go to competition so take the time to think about how secure your data is today.
- Julie Peksis
Julie is the Managing Director at Jeal, a local Australian family-owned software development company with over 40 years of experience in the Australian motor industry. Jeal offers popular software programs EasyCars, Workshop Mate and EasyVend for car dealerships, mechanics and food and beverage businesses in Australia. Check out other articles like this one on our front page.