High-profile cyber attacks on companies like Target and Sears have sounded the alarm for big companies worldwide about the threat of cyber crime. However, several small businesses continue to operate under a false sense of cyber-security. In this 2-part series, we will explain just why small businesses need cybersecurity too, and then give you 10 ways to prevent cyber attacks. 

The numbers are pretty grim; the vast majority of U.S. small employers don’t have a formal internet security policy for employees to follow, and less than half of these even have basic cybersecurity measures in place. Only 1/4th of the small businesses have had an outside party hacker-proof their computer systems, while nearly 40% don’t have back-up data in more than one location. 

85% of small business owners believe their companies are safe from hackers, viruses, malware, or data breaches. This misconception is largely due to the widespread assumption that small businesses aren’t “big enough” targets for cyber attacks. The reality is that hackers are simply looking for the path of least resistance. Statistics show, in fact, that 43% of attacks are against firms with less than 250 employees. 

And what’s more, external hackers aren’t the only cyber threat to your company. Small employers tend to put a lot of trust in their employees, divulging a lot of sensitive information or giving them online access to confidential company data. That isn’t wrong by itself, but it can lead to a complacent, family-like atmosphere which is just what a disgruntled employee or recently fired worker needs to carry out an attack on your business. 

Now, you might think that cybercrime couldn’t possibly be expensive enough for real concern. According to a 2017 study, the average annual cost of cyber attacks on small and medium-sized businesses was over $2.2 million! Most small businesses don’t have that much money lying around to begin with, meaning nearly 60% of them end up closing shop within six months of the attack. The study revealed that for many of these businesses, the necessity of improving their cybersecurity protocols was saved for another day because of the high setup costs. Well, they were one day too late and ended up losing dollar amounts much higher than installation costs.

In a world where more and more business is being done online, protecting your company can’t be put on the back burner if you want to be able to focus on its growth. Learn more about what you can do to secure sensitive online data through HR Learn for Work’s handy cybersecurity training videos.