Cyber Defense More Important for Small Businesses Post-Pandemic
Cybercrime is the fastest-growing crime in the U.S., and today nearly half of all cyberattacks target small businesses. June is National Internet Safety month, making it a good time for consumers and businesses to assess their cyber risks.
As many small businesses work to recover from the economic stress of COVID-19, their financial vulnerability to cyber threats is at an all-time high. On the positive side, at this time when small businesses need extra support, new cost-effective resources are becoming available to help with digital security.
Here’s what small businesses should know about cyber threats today and the important steps to take to decrease their susceptibility.
Both Individuals and Businesses Can Be Victims of ID Fraud
Even as the country moves out of the darkest days of the pandemic, it’s clear that the digital impact will be long-lasting. Data breaches surged in 2020 as more employees worked remotely, making even more data available for cybercriminals to perpetrate a variety of scams and fraud.
Just like people, business entities have sensitive data that, when exposed, increase the risk of business identity theft. Criminals can use breached information to pose as company owners or employees to fraudulently:
- Open lines of credit
- Order merchandise or services in the company’s name
- Issue fake invoices
- Obtain loans
- Perpetrate phishing scams to extract even more sensitive information
- Access business bank accounts
- File false tax returns
Many Small Businesses Aren’t Prepared for Cyber Threats – And it Comes at a Cost
Despite the risks, 60% of small businesses lack a cybersecurity policy, according to a survey by the Cyber Readiness Institute. While most small business owners are concerned about cybersecurity, they lack the resources to invest in important protective measures. Unfortunately, the perceived cost “savings” is deceiving.
The total cost of just one cyber incident can be devastating. Cybersecurity provider Kaspersky puts the average cost of a small business cybersecurity incident at $120,000 – meaning half the incidents cost far more.
In addition to actual financial losses that affect the business cash flow, companies must spend extraordinary amounts of time to remediate and recover from cyberattack damage. This strains workplace productivity and directs precious resources away from customer service, sales, and business management. Even more, a business faces long-term credit and reputation damage. About 60% of small businesses close in the six months following a cyber incident.
5 Steps for Affordable Small Businesses Cyber Defense
The good news is that small businesses can take five proactive steps today that are both affordable and effective.
- Monitor your business credit score and credit report to stay on top of unusual or unauthorized activity.
- Set up business Dark Web monitoring to be alerted if sensitive pieces of business information (like EIN, DUNS, or credit card numbers) have been compromised.
- Protect business mobile phones with a defense app that scans and alerts employees if their device has been compromised.
- Detect vulnerabilities from personal devices connected to your company’s system, and take action to mitigate the risk before an incident occurs.
- Obtain cyber insurance coverage from a knowledgeable provider that understands the specific concerns of small businesses
All of this and more is available through Sontiq’s Business Suite, which also includes fully-managed business restoration services if business identity theft happens to you. Don’t wait until the worst happens to take action. Learn more about our plans and affordable monthly subscriptions.