Many business owners overlook the importance of securing their Information Technology (IT) infrastructure. They either assume hackers won’t attack them, or if they are attacked, they can easily fix the problem without disrupting their normal operations. It’s not until a cyber attack occurs, however, that business owners realize this isn’t the case. Here are a few key reasons for keeping your business’s cybersecurity up to date.

Small Businesses Are Being Attacked More Frequently

We often hear of cyber attacks and data breaches affecting large companies in the news. In 2014, for instance, the national retailers Home Depot and Target both suffered massive data breaches, resulting in the collective disclosure of some 90 million personal records. However, hackers also target small businesses, and they are doing so more frequently than in the past. According to a cybersecurity study conducted by Verizon, 61 percent of all data breaches in 2016 involved small businesses, up 8 percent from the year prior.

1 Billion Malware Specimens

To put the importance of cybersecurity into perspective, Kaspersky Lab says its cloud database now contains more than 1 billion malware specimens. According to the cybersecurity firm, roughly 323,000 new specimens were detected per day in 2016. In 2015, Kaspersky Lab only detected 13,000 malware specimens per day. As hackers develop new, more advanced malware, business owners must respond by taking a proactive approach towards cybersecurity.

Cyber Attacks Cost Small Businesses Up to $148,000

Recovering from a cyber attack places a heavy burden of a small business’s finances. According to UPS Capital, the average cost of severe cyber attacks affecting small businesses is between $84,000 and $1480,000. If your business is hit with a cyber attack, you’ll face expenses to repair and restore your IT infrastructure, improve public relations, train staff on new cybersecurity procedures, upgrade equipment and more. Many cyber attacks will take a business’s IT infrastructure offline, which also adds to the total cost.

Cyber Attacks Often Affect Customers and Clients

If your business is hit with a cyber attack, it may affect your customers or clients. After all, hackers often seek personal information and credit card numbers that they can easily sell on the black market to the highest bidder. Your business’s internal information offers little value to hackers; it’s your customers’ information they want to steal. If a hacker infiltrates your business’s system, he or she could steal your customers’ information, forcing you to notify the affected customers and inform them of the incidence. In the same UPS Capital study previously cited, researchers found that notifying customers of a data breach can cause irreparable damage to the business’s brand.

Cyber Threats Are Becoming More Advanced

The old days of simply deleting malware are long gone. Now, hackers deploy advanced malware that’s difficult to identify, let alone stop. Some malware is even capable of encrypting all data on the affected device or network, preventing the business from accessing it. Other malware, such as viruses and worms, are capable of replicating themselves. So, even if the malware is deleted, it may return unless all traces of it are expunged from affected device or network.

More Than Just Malware

Cyber threats go beyond just malware. While malware is one of the most common cyber threats facing businesses, others include phishing schemes, software vulnerabilities, network intrusion, denial of service (DOS), lost or stolen devices, cyber espionage and accidental leaks from within the business.

How to Protect Your Business From Cyber Threats

Iron-clad cybersecurity is essential to protecting your business from cyber threats. Thankfully, there are professional solutions to keep your business safe, including managed detection and response (MDR). MDR services provide around-the-clock protection of your business’s IT infrastructure, monitoring and responding to potential cyber threats.

 

The bottom line is that all businesses need a strong, up-to-date cybersecurity plan. Cyber threats aren’t going away anytime soon, and failure to take the necessary precautions can cause significant damage to your business and its reputation.

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