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A Cyberattack Puts More Than Your SMB’s Reputation At Risk

7 Nov 2016 by Bob Violino

This article originally appeared on November 4, 2015, and has been revised to bring our readers the most up-to-date technology information.

A cybersecurity breach can hurt any organization. For Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs), the results can be especially devastating because there’s often not as strong of a safety net in place. Growing businesses, in most cases, can’t afford the backup facilities, nor do they have the security expertise or budget, to quickly recover from a cyberattack.

Hackers want your business’s data and will stop at nothing to obtain it. If you don’t have the right security solutions in place, you will incur a number of costs: business that’s lost during the attack, litigation from those who suffered because of the attack, spend dedicated to bolstering security against future attacks and damage to the company’s reputation after the attack, which often has long term negative side effects.

Why you need to reevaluate your security solutions

As growing businesses leverage technology to drive efficiency in the workplace, cybercriminals are finding more creative ways to seize data by infiltrating printers, mobile devices, networks and more. Your team wants the flexibility of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, so they can work anytime and anywhere. You need technology and big data to propel your business forward, create a better customer experience, and plan for future growth. But, while your business uses devices and the cloud to collect, share and analyze more data than ever before, cybercriminals are also stealing data at an unprecedented rate. 

Bar graph showing the annual number of data breaches and exposed records in the US from 2005-2016 in millions
Figure 1

As shown in Figure 1, the number of data breaches in the U.S. increased from 157 million in 2005 to 1,093 million in 2016. Are you implementing security solutions to identify, detect, protect and respond to these rising threat levels? According to a report by Bit Sight, 54.8% of U.S. companies are not prepared for a cyberattack, with an average grade of “C” or lower marking the lack of preparedness. In addition to not having the physical and digital tools in place to fight off malware, many growing businesses don’t have the resources for a proper recovery plan. Having a viable business continuity plan in place can help make the return to operations less costly.

  • In 93% of breaches, attackers take minutes or less to compromise systems (Verizon).
  • The average total cost of a data breach is $3.62 million (IBM).
  • Cybercrime damages will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021 (Cybersecurity Venture).

So what can you do to prevent a cybersecurity breach?

Locking down data security

Many growing businesses lack the internal expertise and experience to build a comprehensive security program, or to properly maintain security functions on an ongoing basis. Hiring an experienced service provider for consulting, network perimeter management and monitoring, penetration testing, and vulnerability assessments is an affordable option for SMBs. To better balance spending, you should consider outsourcing to experienced service providers outright.

Develop a strong mobile security initiative.

Mobile technology in the workplace is one of the fastest-growing trends in IT, with many workers using smartphones, tablets and other devices to support job functions. This allows employees to use mobile devices when they’re on the road or working from home. Although mobility improves collaboration, agility and flexibility, it also presents a number of potential security challenges such as loss or theft of devices, or unauthorized access to networks. In addition to setting a definitive BYOD policy about how devices should be used, you can adopt mobile security solutions to better control your environments, and keep your data and systems secure.

Leverage data analytics and threat intelligence.

Big data analytics and threat intelligence services are not just for large enterprises. SMBs can use these capabilities without going over budget. By taking advantage of the huge volumes of information available about security threats and vulnerabilities, you can get a better handle on what dangers you need to look out for — and how you can better prevent a cyberattack.

Stop malware it its tracks.

Today’s hyperconnected environment means a growing need to business security.

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