In February, BullGuard published research explaining that one-third of small and medium businesses (SMBs) use free, consumer-grade cybersecurity tools, one fifth have no endpoint security, and 43 percent have no cybersecurity defense systems, placing their business-critical assets in danger.
This is a crucial mistake. The economic result from COVID-19 is a severe reminder that SMBs make up the vast majority of the nation’s businesses at the local level.
SMBs cybersecurity directly affects local resiliency in the face of cyber threats. As the economy starts to reopen and businesses gain their footing in the post-quarantine world, SMBs must adopt their importance and scale up their cybersecurity properly.
Business Failure and Cyber Resilience
COVID-19 showed the world that general business failure affects communities. When businesses fail, business owners and workers can undergo heightened mental health issues and economic insecurity.
Business failure raises the demand for local government for public assistance for unemployment benefits, small business loans, and more. Businesses that last have fewer customers and customers have less money to spend. As a result, more businesses fail. As more businesses fail, more people suffer.
Even as digitization progress, 66 percent of small-business decision-makers think that cyber-attacks will not hit them. However, 67 percent of businesses experienced a cyber-attack in 2019.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, one in seven SMBs have encountered a cyber-attack. Due to their general absence of awareness regarding best cybersecurity practices and their unimportance toward the problem, small businesses have inadequate personnel dedicated to protecting their networks and their digital assets. Their staff lacks the necessary technical skills, and they do not have the resources required to obtain or purchase sufficient protection.
Cyber resiliency is the capacity to anticipate cyber-attacks or draws on digital and cyber resources, confront them, and recover from them. As cyber-attacks on SMBs systematically weaken local communities, they lose their ability to withstand and recover. This hurts public resources. Taxes comprise the largest source of revenue for local governments, but when businesses collapse, their taxes dry up. Local governments, already lacking requisite cybersecurity resources, lose their capacity to secure themselves and their communities.
SMBs Must Do Better
Failure is not inevitable. SMBs can take measures to enhance their cyber resilience and boost their possibilities of success. Owners should lead by example and pay heed to their employees’ online practices. They can show good cyber hygiene and teach their employees to do the same.
Owners should recognize business-critical assets and data to prioritize their protection. They should be proactive, rather than reactive, when preparing protection against cyber-attacks.
Getting online resources to expand cybersecurity is easy. Plenty of private companies publish lists of best practices. On its website, the Small Business Administration gives free access to planning tools, business assessments, cyber hygiene vulnerability scanning, and best practices.
As SMBs prioritize their time and spending during the long method of reopening, they need to take account of these free tools and take their cybersecurity at least one step further. Free tools can help them get started.
But ultimately, they must recognize their collective importance to the economy and invest in real, tailored, effective security measures. Big businesses can recover far more easily from cyber-attacks than SMBs. The tools to improve SMB cybersecurity exist and the predicament can be resolved. SMBs just need to step up before it is too late.