Small to medium-sized businesses or SMBs may think they aren’t vulnerable targets for hackers and other cybercriminals, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
Indeed, small businesses are targeted in approximately 43% of all cyberattacks. Of those companies, 60%, go out of business within six months. Based on these figures alone, it’s clear that SMBs can’t afford to ignore cybersecurity.
Let’s explore the importance of cybersecurity for SMBs and go over ways to protect your company.
The risks of poor cybersecurity
SMBs must maintain excellent cybersecurity practices. If they fail to do so, and if they maintain poor cybersecurity protocols or systems, they could expose themselves to major risks, including but not limited to:
- Significant damage to their brand: A single cybersecurity attack can lead to consumer mistrust. People don’t want to shop at or give their personal information to brands vulnerable to malware or ransomware attacks.
- Broad legal ramifications: Customers can sue businesses that do not practice good cybersecurity protocols or don’t use modern, trustworthy cybersecurity technology. Furthermore, brands may be forced to pay major fines due to legislation such as the GDPR and CCPA.
- Stolen data and loss of competitive information: Many small to medium-sized businesses rely on keeping their consumer information secret so competitors cannot overtake them. A single data breach could result in a brand losing its market dominance.
Bottom line: poor cybersecurity has enough major risks that SMBs should investigate better ways to protect their companies at the earliest opportunity.
How does cybersecurity bolster SMB brands?
While low or poor cybersecurity can lead to major issues for SMBs, the reverse is also true for brands that lean into good cybersecurity practices and technologies. Here are some of the benefits that come with having a solid security plan.
For starters, excellent cybersecurity can improve a brand’s reputation in the industry and with its target audience. When consumers feel they can trust an organization, they are more willing to make purchases there, share their personal information to join loyalty programs and interact with that brand.
Furthermore, they are more likely to bring their friends and family to the brand too. They may recommend that company to others they know, leading to long-term revenue boosts and better performance on key performance indicators.
An excellent reputation is key to thriving as an SMB, especially in competitive markets and niches. Therefore, it pays (literally) to practice good cybersecurity strategies ASAP.
Having stringent security measures in place may lead to cost savings as well. How? For starters, good cybersecurity allows the company to escape major fines and fees from institutions in charge of enforcing compliance and legislation like the GDPR. Companies don’t have to pay fines for losing their consumers’ data if it’s never lost in the first place!
However, server outages, customer outrage and lost data can also add up in costs. It’s far cheaper to prevent a cyberattack by relying on cloud security, a strong firewall and teaching employees cybersecurity best practices than it is to recover after the fact.
Therefore, SMBs that want not only to survive but thrive in the modern market should prioritize cybersecurity from the get-go. Even if you have to spend some money in the short term, you’ll save much more money in the long term if you aren’t attacked or hacked by a cybercriminal.
Lastly, good cybersecurity is important for SMBs because it may bring significant market advantages. If you have a secret process or manufacturing strategy, you want to protect that information at all costs. Similarly, you’ll want to protect the personal contact information of your most important clients so your competitors can’t get that info.
A cyberattack can expose all that information to the public, leading to major problems. If you want to retain your SMB’s business’s competitive advantage, you need to ensure your servers are secure and your data can’t be stolen.
How to improve cybersecurity as an SMB
Fortunately, there are ways in which you can bolster cybersecurity for your SMB. Here are just a few cybersecurity best practices you can implement:
- Begin with a data security plan: You need to identify who can access your key data and develop policies and procedures to limit that access as much as possible. Only authorized supervisors or key personnel should be able to access critical company data.
- Conduct employee training: All your employees should know how to spot spam emails and avoid threats like malware attacks. Regular employee seminars can keep your workers updated on modern cybersecurity practices and procedures.
- Use strong passwords: Implement password policies throughout your organization so that employees do not accidentally cause a breach by using weak passwords that are easy for malicious actors to guess or steal.
- Take a hybrid approach to your digital wallet security: Your company probably offers various payment options for its products and services, potentially including cryptocurrencies. Unfortunately, cryptocurrency account hacking is on the rise, so you must take extra steps to protect crypto payments. These steps include choosing a reputable digital exchange to securely store crypto payments, protecting your encryption keys with strong passwords and multi-factor authentication, and keeping most of your crypto in offline or physical wallets.
- Always back up your company data, preferably using cloud services: The right cloud services can ensure your servers get back up and running in the event of an outage ASAP.
- Use firewalls and antivirus software: Not only should you use these tools, but SMBs should also be sure to keep both updated all the time. Whether you do this yourself or hire a cybersecurity specialist, the right firewalls and antivirus software can protect you from typical internet-based attacks
Don’t sleep on the importance of cybersecurity
SMBs can’t afford to ignore cybersecurity without incurring significant risk. Good cybersecurity is important for companies of all sizes due to its ability to affect their bottom line—the costs of poor cybersecurity are far too high. Follow the strategies above, and your brand can reduce the likelihood of damage by a single cyberattack or breach. Instead, you can continue pursuing your business goals for years to come!
Need guidance on how to implement strong cybersecurity for your (or your clients’) business? Sherweb can help! Explore our available cybersecurity solutions or check out our Partner Guide for more information about how Sherweb can help your business grow.