Small Businesses Attacked 3X More Than Others

Two women staring at a computer who seem like they're pondering either clothing sales or small business cybersecurity. It's hard to tell.

You operate a successful business, but you don’t consider it huge. Do you believe your small business cybersecurity benefits from that?

Maybe you think a hacker couldn’t possibly want anything you have?

You certainly wouldn’t be faulted for thinking your your small business cybersecurity benefited from staying a little ‘Out of the spotlight.’

Yet sadly, small businesses are three times more likely to be attacked by hackers than large ones. 

In a report published earlier this year, Barracuda Networks recently debunked this myth many small companies maintain.

Analyzing millions of emails, the report analyzed contributions from thousands of organizations. For small businesses, IT security is a major concern.

Barracuda Networks discovered something alarming. Employees at small companies saw 350% more social engineering attacks than those at larger ones.

For the report, note that small companies are defined as those with less than 100 employees.

There are many reasons why hackers see small business cybersecurity as low-hanging fruit, and why they’re becoming more frequent targets of hackers out to score a quick illicit buck.

Now, let’s take a look at why this unsettling trend is unfolding.

Small Business Cybersecurity Isn't Funded

Managing your cash as a small business is often a juggling act. You might acknowledge the importance of cybersecurity, but it may not be at the top of your list. As a result, the monthly cash flow runs out, and expenditures move to the “next month” wish list.

A small business cybersecurity budget is often underfunded, lying low on the list of priorities.

Many people think that buying an antivirus program will cover them. However, with the expansion of technology to the cloud, that’s just one layer. Several more are needed for adequate security.

These factors make small businesses an easier target for hackers. Payouts are typically much easier to receive than when hacking into a large corporation.

Photo of generic antivirus software on a computer screen
Related: Is Traditional Anti-Virus Enough for Your Business in 2022? (click image for full article)

Every Business Has “Hack-Worthy” Resources

Every business – even a 1-person shop – has data that’s worth scoring for a hacker.

Credit card numbers, SSNs, tax ID numbers, and email addresses are all invaluable in the hands of a criminal. Cybercriminals can sell these on the “Dark Web” for easy money, without ever needing to do anything else with them.

From there, other criminals use them for identity theft.

Here are some of the data that hackers tend to search for:

  • Customer records
  • Employee records
  • Bank account information
  • Emails and passwords
  • Payment card details

While these are often the easiest to immediately steal and sell, it’s not the only information.

Criminals tend to be just as creative and innovative as the hard-working individuals they steal from.

Small Businesses Can Provide Entry Into Larger Ones

When a hacker breaches the network of a small business, they can often make a large profit. It is common for smaller companies to provide services to larger ones. Among these are digital marketing, website management, accounting, and more.

A vendor’s system may be connected digitally to a client’s system. A multi-company breach can be enabled by this kind of relationship. Even though hackers do not require that connection to hack you, it is a nice bonus. They can get two companies for the work of one.

Small Business Owners Are Often Unprepared for Ransomware

Ransomware has been one of the fastest-growing cyberattacks of the last decade. So far in 2022, over 71% of surveyed organizations experienced ransomware attacks.

The percentage of victims that pay the ransom to attackers has also been increasing. Now, an average of 63% of companies pay the attacker money in hopes of getting a key to decrypt the ransomware.

Even if a hacker can’t get as much ransom from a small business as they can from a larger organization, it’s often still worth it.

It always comes down to a numbers game:

Because small business cybersecurity is typically easy to crack, it doesn’t take nearly as much time. If attackers can hack 10 small businesses in the same time it takes to crack 1 larger company, the incentive for more frequent attacks, exist.

Even if it doesn’t pay as well, it pays more often.

When companies pay the ransom, it only serves to feed the beast, meaning more cyber criminals join in. And, those newer to ransomware attacks will often go after smaller, easier-to-breach companies.

Recent ransomware attacks show a change in tactics - businesswoman's files encrypted by security breach
Related Article: These Recent Ransomware Attacks Show a Change in Tactics (click image for full article)

Employees at Smaller Companies Usually Aren’t Trained in Cybersecurity

There’s one more item that stands out as a leading cause of small business cybersecurity failures.

Too often, cybersecurity training for employees remains minimal at best, ignored completely at worst.

In a sense, it’s completely understandable.

It’s not easy to retain high-end employees.

You need to pay quality wages, offer good benefits, and sometimes, and accept certain weaknesses in exchange for the extraordinary talents they provide your business.

In addition, sales, operations, and customer service are often your top priorities.

When was the last time you asked, “How skilled are you at spotting phishing scams?”, in your interview process?

When it comes to small business cybersecurity, there is often no training for employees on how to spot phishing and password best practices. In this way, networks are vulnerable to one of the biggest threats: human error.

You see, more often than not, hackers need the help of a user to carry out a cyberattack. That’s not even to say it’s intentional; generally, the employee has no idea what’s happening.

In other words, it’s like the vampire waiting for an unsuspecting victim to invite him in.

Whether via email, PDF file, social media attack, or any number of methods, phishing scams trick unsuspecting victims into cooperating.

The fact remains: Phishing causes over 80% of data breaches.

In most cases, phishing emails sitting in an inbox are useless. It needs the user to either open a file attachment or click a link that will take them to a malicious site. This then launches the attack.

You can enhance your small business cybersecurity by teaching employees how to spot these ploys. In addition to a strong firewall and antivirus, security awareness training is crucial.

Tackling Small Business Cybersecurity

Large or small, no business is immune to cyberattacks.

And, because large companies often have deep resources, large IT teams, and extensive software protection, small business cybersecurity is almost always easier to breach.

However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have inexpensive, effective solutions available.

From training programs to inexpensive monitoring options, quality solutions are always within your reach

The best part? You don’t need to figure it out on your own.

Blue Bastion Cyber Security, with the help of our sister division, Ideal Integrations, is here to help.

Simply contact us today at 412-349-6680, or fill out the form below, and we’ll work with you do provide a customized security solution to fit any budget or need.

And, as always, stay vigilant.

Secure Your Business With Blue Bastion - Contact Us Today!