When you hear news about cyber attacks on the pentagon databases or government servers, you assume that most cyber crime is committed by big bad organizations that are looking for big, important targets to infiltrate. Unfortunately, the perspective the news gives you often hides the more boring (and more important) facts.
How Bad is it?
The reality is that about 43% of phishing attacks target small businesses. A phishing attack occurs when an employee who has access to financial information has a piece of malware downloaded to their computer through a spam email or unsafe program they mistakenly open. The malware then sends this private data (account numbers, pin numbers, login information, etc.) to the hacker who uses it to steal the company’s money. And the outlook isn’t good if the hacker succeeds. 60% of small businesses who are hit by such a data breach go out of business within the next year.
Worse yet, this malware won’t cause your computer to run slowly or freeze up. There are essentially no warning signs before the money is gone.
More Bad News
The rate of cyber attacks on small businesses is steadily increasing as it becomes cheaper and cheaper to digitize your operations. The cost of these attacks is usually too much for the business to bare, frequently amounting to anywhere from $30,000 - $50,000.
Unfortunately, many small businesses do not keep their cyber security up-to-date, and many more have no insurance coverage for their company data.
What Small Businesses Can Do About Cyber Attacks
The first precaution you can take to avoid data breaches is to talk to some IT experts. They will let you know what security software your computers need, and provide you with guidelines for avoiding suspicious files, emails, and so on. This should not be a one-time thing. Keep in touch with people who can keep you up-to-date on the newest threats.
Secondly, buying a cyber liability and data breach insurance policy goes a long way in keeping your businesses afloat should your cyber defenses ever fail. Remember that customers who lose money when their information is stolen from your company’s database can potentially sue you over the loss. This additional cost to data breach threats should make protection a high priority for any small business. Talk to an qualified insurance agent or licensed brokerage about your business’s cyber risks as soon as possible.