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Why Cyber Security is Important for Small Businesses

01 October, 2018

Today it’s commonplace to see in the news that organisations like Dixons Carphone, Adidas and the NHS are the victims of large-scale cyber attacks. But, it’s relatively little known that small businesses are also at the same risk of falling victim of cyber attacks.

With Verizon reporting that 58% of malware victims are categorised as small businesses, it could be strongly argued that small businesses are even more likely to be targeted by cyber criminals.

One of the things that puts a target on the back of small businesses is how unlikely they are to be prepared for cyber attacks. In 2017, a New TAB survey revealed that only a shocking 5% of businesses feel fully secured against cyber attacks.

According to the survey, the biggest obstacles getting in the way of full security were time, resources, expertise, and capital. But also, another excuse we hear a lot when we speak to people is “why should I care about cyber security?”

That’s why we’ve put together this helpful blog to break down why caring about your cyber security should be one of your top priorities as a small business.

Why should SMEs care about cyber security?

According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport's 'Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2017' report, Small or Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) had a 1 in 2 chance of experiencing a cyber security breach.

Chances are if you’re a small business, a breach can have a devastating impact. The National Cyber Security Centre have warned that for small and micro-sized businesses the costs can be up to £1,400.

While this looks like a relatively small financial loss, you also have to consider that the amount of money stolen could be much higher.  

As well as cyber criminals stealing money from you, they can also steal confidential data about your customers and leave a huge black mark on your company’s reputation. The financial impact from your customers losing confidence in your company will far exceed the initial money taken.

One phrase we hear often when we’re speaking to people who’s cyber security isn’t up to snuff is “it won’t happen to me”. But for clients who come to us who used to hold that mentality, they wish they had the benefit of hindsight to know that such mentality doesn’t hold sway.

When the Ponemon Institute reported on the state of cyber security amongst Small-Medium Businesses in 2017, it said that 60% of the businesses surveyed said that attacks are becoming more severe and more sophisticated.

Cyber criminals are finding more and more effective ways to steal your crucial data. Currently, email is the most common method that cyber criminals use to steal data, but they are resorting to more and more intuitive ways to breach your security.

How can I improve my business' cyber security?

Many people think that the best way to improve security is to simply download anti-virus and firewall programs, assuming that’s good enough to keep the business watertight.

While these steps may be the simplest to implement, they don’t cover the biggest weakness in your security strategy. People remain one of the biggest vulnerabilities to security, and one of the challenges that many small businesses will face is how to keep this vulnerability to a minimum.

Some ways that you can improve your business’ security can include:

  • Improve staff awareness with bite-sized learning courses that teach them the essentials of cyber security, like our industry-leading cyber security eLearning courses
  • Creating policies and procedures for your staff to follow to reduce the chances of a security breach
  • Creating back-ups of your system data to reduce the damage of cyber attacks
  • Use your small business environment to your advantage, encourage your staff to talk about security and share stories about security breaches so its always in the back of their minds

Our cyber security training courses are the perfect way for gearing up your staff in the essentials of cyber security. They do a great job of breaking it down by topic into 10-15 minute digestible chunks for staff to easily take the information on board and ensure key messages are reinforced.

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