Every business owner needs to take cybersecurity seriously, investing in better infrastructure and monitoring to ward off the biggest threats.
Unfortunately, many business owners in the United States don’t take cybersecurity seriously enough. They may underestimate the cyberthreats they face or they may be unwilling to spend money proactively in this area; but whatever the case, they’re setting themselves up for disaster.
Are you neglecting your business’s cybersecurity? And what can you do about it?
Why Cybersecurity Is So Important
Let’s start with a brief explanation for why cybersecurity is so important. Most big businesses have an established, sizable budget for preventing cyberattacks and preserving internal system integrity, but small business owners are more likely to neglect this need. It’s common for small business owners to believe that they won’t be targeted, since their businesses are small, unnoteworthy, and are potentially unrewarding targets.
In reality, 43 percent of all cyberattacks target small businesses – and cybercrime can cost small- to mid-sized businesses up to $2.2 million a year. Cybercriminals understand that small business owners often neglect cybersecurity, so they’re more incentivized to go after these easy targets.
Even a single data breach or security breach could be devastating for your business. In addition to dealing with downtime and disrupted business operations, the costs to repair the damage and the penalties for suffering a breach could be catastrophic.
On top of that, you may suffer reputational damage, leading your customers and future customers to doubt your integrity.
Signs You’re Neglecting Cybersecurity
So how can you tell for sure if you’re neglecting cybersecurity?
These signs should make it obvious:
You don’t have a team. Managed IT services providers, cybersecurity consultants, CTOs and CIOs typically take charge of analyzing risk, assembling technologies and systems to serve as defensive measures, and coordinating internal strategies to prevent possible breaches and attacks. Who, in your organization, is responsible for managing your cybersecurity strategy? If you don’t have an answer to this question, or if you’ve assumed all those responsibilities yourself, take it as a bad sign.
You don’t have a plan. Do you have a documented cybersecurity strategy? And if so, when was the last time it was updated? If you can’t concisely explain all the efforts you’re making to keep your business secure, and if you don’t have any resources you can consult to learn more about them, it’s a sign you’re neglecting your cybersecurity. You need to have a formal plan in place.
You don’t know what your biggest threats are. Can you name the biggest threats to your organization? Are you vulnerable to potential ransomware attacks, or are there third-party vulnerabilities that you need to be concerned about? There are some fundamental threats common amongst most businesses, but you should be able to identify some of your biggest unique risks.
Your devices or software are out of date. Do you feel confident that all of your devices and software are up-to-date? This is one of the simplest and easiest cybersecurity safeguards, so it’s an excellent diagnostic tool for how much you’re investing in cybersecurity. If you don’t use automatic updates, or if you have no way to tell what version of software your employees are using, you’re probably far behind in a number of other areas.
You have no monitoring strategy. Active monitoring is essential for a solid cybersecurity strategy, as it allows you to detect a threat before it grows any worse. Ideally, you’ll get automatic alerts when there’s suspicious activity so you can take action and mitigate potential losses. If you have no monitoring strategy whatsoever, you’ll be flying blind.
Your employees aren’t educated or trained. As many as 88 percent of data breaches are attributable to employee errors. Even the smartest, most astute employees are capable of falling for social engineering scams and phishing attacks – and even a single employee mistake could lead to a massive data breach. If your employees aren’t educated or trained on cybersecurity fundamentals, it indicates a lack of preparedness.
You’re still making excuses. Business owners skeptical of the value of cybersecurity are likely to read an article like this and still come up with excuses for why they’re not investing actively in this risk mitigation strategy. If you feel like these considerations don’t apply to your business, or if you still feel like cybersecurity is a waste of money, it’s probably a sign you’re not taking cyberthreats seriously enough.
If you’re not sure whether you’re doing enough to protect your business’s data and digital systems, consider contacting a managed IT service provider who can provide you with an analytical consultation on your current cybersecurity approach. As long as you haven’t yet suffered a breach, it’s never too late to establish the defensive tools necessary to prevent one.