Investing in cybersecurity technology, processes and training may seem like a lot of effort and expense, for no guaranteed returns. As a small business, do you really need to bother with extensive security measures?
Well, the short answer is yes, you do. Here’s a list of the key reasons why:
- Cyberattacks are now a fact of life. Modern cyber-criminals are immensely sophisticated, with enormous resources behind them. Data is the new gold, and the cyber-crime economy is thought to top even that of the international drugs trade. With big money to be made and the authorities lagging behind, opportunistic cyber-criminals are absolutely everywhere, and that means it is inevitable that your business will be attacked. According to government statistics, 47% of small businesses have suffered a cybersecurity breach within the last 12 months, so you can no longer chance it unprotected and hope to escape the rising tide of malware.
- You’re dealing with more data than ever. The internet runs on data, and businesses are increasingly reliant on the internet. With huge amounts of data feeding your systems, and those of your clients and partners, skilled cyber-criminals could potentially have access to a wealth of personal information about your customers and staff. That information is highly valuable and if it gets out, via a data breach or cyber-attack, it won’t just cost you financially, it will also erode trust in your brand and potentially leave your business unable to operate properly. It, therefore, pays dividends to protect your systems as extensively as you can.
- Cyber-attacks are expensive. Cyber-attacks can hit your bottom line in a number of ways, including system and business downtime, damage to your brand, and by exposing you to legal problems. For larger firms, the average cost of a single data breach is around £20,000 in monetary terms alone. And while the reputational cost is harder to calculate, it’s likely to be even higher. Prevention is far more cost-effective than the cure.
- Human error is inevitable. Cybersecurity is not just about installing fancy software, it’s also about helping your people to handle data in the right way and maximise the safeguards your company has in place. Human error is one of the biggest contributory factors in security breaches, so it’s vital that staff and customers are trained in cybersecurity and that weak points in your system are eliminated.
- The Internet of Things presents new challenges. We’re getting better at protecting our established networks and systems, but the IoT presents a whole new world of potential access points for cyber-criminals. Many people have no idea that things like Alexa or your office Smart Hub can be vulnerable to cyber-attack, let alone how to protect them. As a result, these systems and devices are even more vulnerable to cyber-attacks, giving cyber-criminals an easy entry point to your valuable data. And with the IoT expanding all the time, it makes sense to get ahead of the game.
- It’s your legal obligation. Regulations like the GDPR are designed to protect data and privacy, putting the onus on businesses to keep customer information safe. Obtaining, using, or selling on data without permission can bring heavy penalties and you could also be culpable if you fail to protect your lawfully obtained data adequately. Fines for inadequate cybersecurity resulting in a data breach can be up to €20m or 4% of your annual turnover, which makes the cost of implementing cybersecurity not seem so bad after all.
Being rigorous about cybersecurity doesn’t just protect your customers and their data, it also protects you from heavy costs, loss of trust, and potential legal action. So, make sure that you are up to date and on the ball with cybersecurity – and that you are fully insured in the event of a breach.