What would happen to your business if hackers were able to install ransomware on one of your workstations and lock you out of all of your files and computers on the network until you paid them a quarter of a million dollars?
Well, according to Norman Guadagno, SVP of Marketing at Carbonite, that’s exactly what could happen to you, “Almost one in five small business owners say their company has had a loss of data in the past year.”
He attributes this to a general lack of resources for most small businesses, so a hack can be especially harmful to them.
Guadango explained, "According to our recent data 63 percent of small business owners view data as their new currency," adding "a single data hack could have associated costs ranging from $82,200 to $256,000."
Cybersecurity for Small Businesses is Practically Non-Existent
Small business owners largely overlook cybersecurity for a few reasons.
Often they assume their business is too small to be on anyone’s radar. If you’re only doing $100,000 in sales per year, why would a hacker go to the trouble of installing ransomware on your computer as opposed to a workstation at, say, Target?
For one, it will never make the news or draw any real attention. NBC Nightly News will not be featuring an urgent report on Joe’s Plumbing being digitally held hostage, so these crimes stay largely under the radar and extremely under-reported.
Another reason is it does not take all that much effort to phish a computer or phone. There are bot programs that do this autonomously once set on a target, so a large amount of resources do not need to be used.
How Can My Small Business Improve Its Cybersecurity?
At first, this may seem like a huge or expensive endeavor, but there are a handful of habits you can start to get into today in order to shore up cybersecurity for your small business.
- Keeping your employees up to date on the newest threats doesn’t have to take up all of your time or break the bank. Create a set of cybersecurity policies for all employees to follow, and have a short meeting as necessary to keep everyone abreast of the latest cyber threats.
- Every computer and smartphone attached to the network should utilize anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. Your network should be using firewalls, and company WiFi should be greatly limited.
Use Experts When Needed
- As a small business, you probably can’t afford a full-time IT person, so the next best thing is to bring in a contractor on a per-project basis. It would also be a good idea to hire a professional to come to your office and perform a full security analysis. The upfront cost will be nothing compared to a successful hack.
These cybersecurity threats will never go away, and what’s more is they will only continue to become more prevalent in the future. It is highly recommended to get into these habits now, and not learn this lesson the hard way.
One added layer on protection you can implement today is a Faraday Cell Phone Sleeve for yourself and every employee, which will protect you from hacking, tracking, and eavesdropping.