After several challenging months tormented by a coronavirus, small business owners over the country are anticipating the day they can finally and permanently reopen their doors.
The pandemic has severely affected the health of businesses everywhere, and for most owners, getting back to business cannot come soon enough. But while companies across the country prepare to welcome back their customers, hackers and cybercriminals are actively infiltrating and hacking small business databases.
Cyberattacks have skyrocketed worldwide as hackers profit on the uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
Small business is especially exposed to renewed and increasingly advanced cyberattacks. An estimated 43% of all cyberattacks affect small business victims. Unlike government agencies and large corporations, many small firms don’t believe they are engaging or high-profile enough to be targeted by cybercriminals, and subsequently, neglect investing in the cyber protections required to prevent unlawful breaches. Cybercriminals know this well and have perfected the practice of obtaining, stealing, and selling private and established information stored in small businesses’ data systems.
The long-term outcomes of falling victim to a cyberattack can be severe for small businesses trying to regain their footing after the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, a single data breach cost businesses an average of $200,000, and studies show that 60% of small business victims go out of business within six months of enduring such a breach.
It has perhaps never been more necessary to develop and execute a strong cybersecurity strategy, and small businesses should take immediate and decisive action. Recently, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, published chapters one and two of a six-part series designed to provide business leaders with suggestions and direction for strengthening and developing a culture of “cyber readiness” across their businesses.
A bipartisan SECURE Small Business Act was introduced to help small business owners obtain information on data protection best practices and enable them to band together to purchase cybersecurity products at lower prices. By prioritizing cyber strategy and investment, small business owners can promote organization-wide cultures of vigilance and risk-mitigation while setting policies and procedures to keep data secure. Small businesses should also evaluate how dependent they are on information technology and the safeguards they have in place to keep their data secure.
After months of lockdown, small businesses now have a unique chance to shore up their cyber defenses and protect their employees, customers, and livelihoods from cyberattacks. A strong cybersecurity strategy is no longer a luxury — it is a necessity. And small businesses should conform to the new cyber landscape as we prepare for the post-COVID era.
Source: New Orleans City Business