Small business data breaches reach all-time high

Written on Mar 22, 2018

Big data hacks dominate the news, but if you think these breaches can only happen to big corporations, think again.

According to the 2016 Verizon Report, 59% of data breaches happen to small companies, and small business breaches have risen 44% in the last two years.

According to a report by the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign, each instance of cyberattack can cost a small business thousands of dollars, which means it doesn’t take many breach incidents to land a small business with no insurance in bankruptcy.

This likely is why 60% of small businesses close within six months of a data breach.

Most cyberattacks are not targeted, the National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign explained.

“The majority of cybercriminals are indiscriminate; they target vulnerable computer systems regardless of whether the systems are part of a Fortune 500 company, a small business, or belong to a home user.”

Many small business security systems lack the sophistication to keep out even the simplest hacking attack. Often this is because such businesses lack the budget to fund a full-time technical staff or because they don’t have the experience to know what kinds of firewalls and other protections are necessary to keep their customers’ data safe.

Some hackers use ransomware, which takes control of a company’s website, critical data and customer records until a ransom — generally several thousand dollars — is paid. Others simply steal customer data and sell it on the dark web to the highest bidder, putting customers at risk of identity theft.

Preventing online data breaches is a lot like preventing theft from a brick-and-mortar establishment. There are certain basic safety precautions every company should take to keep itself and its customers protected.

To protect your small business:

  • Identify your online weaknesses
  • Back up your sensitive information in remote locations
  • Invest in data loss protection insurance, known as cyber insurance
  • Educate your employees on how to handle sensitive information
  • Require users to create strong passwords and change them regularly
  • Install and run cybersecurity software
  • Keep software up to date. Hackers are constantly upping their game, which means you need to, as well.
  • Invest in cyber insurance. A good cyber policy will offer features such as forensic investigation, credit monitoring, public relations assistance, privacy defense and loss prevention resources. Some insurance options also will offer reimbursement of $50,000 to $100,000 in business losses.

Leave a comment