Cybersecurity for Small Businesses: What It is and Why It’s Essential

Technology allows companies of all sizes to reach broader markets and expand workforce capabilities. However, the shift to virtual and automated processes has unveiled a new set of security risks. Whether you operate primarily online or manage a multi location workforce, you must consider the inherent risks your company faces and develop a plan for protecting your business.

Small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) with less resources to put toward cybersecurity are often at a greater risk. In fact, 43% of all cyber attacks target small businesses. However, a majority don’t have the proper safeguards in place to adequately defend themselves.

As attackers continue to automate their attacks, small businesses with weak defenses, a poor understanding of threats, or little financial capital to put toward cybersecurity may become even more likely to fall victim. That’s why a proactive approach to security is necessary for protecting your business’ assets.

Taking the time to understand cybersecurity and its role in your organization is a great first step to protecting your business and ensuring continuity. Below, we break down the basics of cybersecurity and explain how you can best protect your company and employees:

What Types of Cyber Threats Exist?

Cyber threats are continually evolving, which means your company must adapt its security strategy or at least be aware of common threats to ensure protection. One of the most common threats is phishing, which occurs when cybercriminals access your network through deceptive emails. These schemes aim to prey on unsuspecting employees and can cost a small business anywhere between $50,000 to $100,000.

Other common cyber threats include malware attacks, which is when malicious code is used by hackers to access or destroy data and networks, and ransomware, which occurs when hackers access and encrypt company data and demand that the company pay a ransom for it. SMBs are particularly vulnerable to these attacks as many don’t have their data backed up and are forced to pay for data recovery or suffer the loss.

On average, a cyber attack will cost a business $200,000, regardless of its size. This figure could be especially debilitating for small businesses that are already working with limited capital. However, many of these attacks can be easily prevented or mitigated with simple security measures.

How Can I Budget for Cybersecurity?

To prevent costly attacks, small businesses must have strong protection in place across all devices. Though a comprehensive cybersecurity plan will take time and money to incorporate, SMBs can’t afford to compromise on their data, device, and IT security policies. Similar to enterprises, small business owners should plan to allocate a portion of their budget to cybersecurity efforts.

Some aspects of your cybersecurity are already cost-effective and may be scalable, meaning the cost will only increase as your business grows. For instance, the pricing structure for device protection is often dependent on the number of users, so small teams can limit their expenses until they are ready to expand, and the price per device tends to decrease as more users are added. At around $1 per device per month, the price for these services are low and manageable for most small businesses. Regardless, whether you choose to invest upfront or opt to incorporate only a few security measures to start, anything you invest will provide an added layer of protection for your business.

Businesses in the technology industry or those with more employees, servers, or security vulnerabilities may need to take additional measures to protect their assets. Business leaders that must invest in services beyond data breach protection can turn to their personal savings or even consider securing a home equity loan, a one-time payout that can be used to fund more costly security plans, like firewall protection.

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Each day brings new cybersecurity challenges, so your organization needs simple and wide-reaching solutions to combat those challenges. DriveStrike is here to help you protect your most critical data with premium quality endpoint security. Start a free trial with DriveStrike today, and contact us if you need any assistance. Our team is always ready to answer your questions.


What Should You Include in Your Plan?

Cybersecurity encompasses several different technologies, processes, and practices that work together to provide protection against cyber attacks, which is why you’ll want to assess your unique needs before settling on a plan. Defining specific goals and vulnerabilities will help you budget and plan for policy rollout. Once you’ve conducted a risk assessment, you will have a better understanding of what protection you’ll need in place in order to best protect your business.

Service providers offer a variety of protections including device protection, data management, software and hardware protection, cloud management, and online support. Depending on your company and needs, you should work with a trusted cybersecurity service provider to tailor a solution that addresses your specific vulnerabilities.

If you are currently working remotely, you will face additional security vulnerabilities with the increased avenues to access your network and data. To prevent costly breaches, you may want to consider device and data protection for your devices. Data protection service providers offer 24-hour support to help you mitigate compromised data regardless of how it’s accessed .

What are the Benefits of Cybersecurity?

Unfortunately, cyber criminals don’t discriminate, and small businesses with poor IT security are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks. Even a minor attack could deliver a blow to your bottom line. However, by taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity, you can mitigate risks upfront and ensure your company is properly prepared in the face of an attack.

Disruptions in your network and systems could make work impossible for employees. Cybersecurity not only provides digital protections for your business but also boosts productivity and mitigates downtime. It also allows you to prevent most, and identify and address any other, IT threats in a timely manner, saving you time and money down the road.

Aside from protecting your own assets, having a reliable cybersecurity strategy in place will also help you build trust with your clients and customers. It’s likely that you hold onto sensitive data, such as your customer’s payment information or intellectual property. If this data is compromised, you could put your brand reputation and value at stake. You may also experience a loss in revenue and client rapport. However, with proper safeguards, you can both have peace of mind in knowing their private data is protected.

How Can I Best Support My Team During A Cyber Security Upgrade?

Cybersecurity services are much less effective when employees aren’t aware of the risks and don’t know how to protect themselves. Employees serve as the first line of defense against cyber criminals. As you begin to roll out new security initiatives, it’s crucial to provide your employees with the necessary training and resources to make cybersecurity a habit. Take time to educate them on their increasingly important role in securing your assets, and promote cybersecurity awareness.

Your training programs should address cybersecurity best practices, such as identifying phishing scams, browsing safely, using secure WiFi connections, creating strong account passwords, conducting regular security updates, and protecting the intellectual property of the business and its clients. One small mistake could compromise your entire business, making ongoing employee education essential for full protection.

Especially during a pandemic, you should focus on educating remote employees on how they can best protect their home offices. Most employees don’t work on IT daily, or this may be the first time they are working under these conditions. With a higher number of endpoints, it’s vital that you place a greater emphasis on using secure virtual private networks (VPNs), regulating personal device usage, and communicating regularly with employees regarding emerging phishing scams that are tailored to current events. Provide your employees with the resources they need to set up a safe and secure workplace at home, and offer around-the-clock IT support to limit disruptions.

To create an awareness of cybersecurity, consider establishing a compliance program that encourages employees to learn and implement these best practices. This training should take place at onboarding, as well as at regular intervals throughout the year. In addition, you should consider an accountability program that urges team members to openly discuss cybersecurity and to hold one another accountable for compliance. Furthermore, appointing security advocates may help encourage and motivate employees to prioritize digital security.

As more businesses turn to technology to enhance operations, cyber security should remain a top priority. By understanding your cyber risks and taking proactive measures to protect your digital assets, you’ll set yourself up for continual success.

Start Your Free 30 Day Trial

Each day brings new cybersecurity challenges, so your organization needs simple and wide-reaching solutions to combat those challenges. DriveStrike is here to help you protect your most critical data with premium quality endpoint security. Start a free trial with DriveStrike today, and contact us if you need any assistance. Our team is always ready to answer your questions.