More than 40% of all cyber attacks target small businesses. Unfortunately, fewer than 15% of those businesses have appropriate cyber security defenses in place. What makes these statistics more concerning is that cyber attacks now cost companies an average of more than $200,000. Many small businesses could not survive the cost of an attack.
Over the past year, more than 50% of small businesses suffered some form of data breach. Moreover, with the increase in remote-access work environments over the course of the pandemic, cybercrimes increased by more than 400%. As a result, small businesses facing this dramatic increase must embrace new approaches to cyber defense.
Until recently, small to midsized business owners didn’t believe they were lucrative enough or important enough to be on a hacker’s radar. But all businesses store private employee data, bank documents, tax information, proprietary data and access to other companies. Like all predators, cybercriminals attack targets with the most vulnerabilities. Without appropriate cyber security, any device that is part of a wireless network presents a potential entry point for a cyber attack. As most new jobs come from small to midsized businesses, cybercrimes can have a profound impact upon our job market and the overall economy.
A New York City-based accounting firm has offices in Atlanta, Chicago and Austin, Texas. However, for the first 10 years of the firm’s existence, its only office was in New York. Other than an anti-virus program and password protection, the partners felt the New York office was its own microcosm and didn’t need much protection.
However, when the firm opened offices in Atlanta, Chicago and Austin, nobody put sufficient thought into reevaluating all the company’s cyber defenses. To further exacerbate this serious oversight, the pandemic spawned the need for many employees to work remotely. Expanding the network to offices in multiple cities and numerous satellite work-from-home offices dramatically increased vulnerability points for potential cyber threats.
One of the partners, based in Atlanta, was waiting for a flight at Atlanta’s airport. Her flight was delayed, and she spent several hours working online through her phone and laptop computer. She was logged onto her company network using the airport’s WiFi. Little did she realize that she had gotten hacked more than an hour earlier. Already several of her coworkers in the New York office were having network issues. Although some alerts came up, they were insufficient to convey the magnitude of the data breach. Private financial information had been compromised. Several of the firm’s clients who had more advanced cyber security in place for their own networks could stop the invasion before they could be hacked. However, several smaller clients of the firm unwittingly became victims of the malware attack and began to have their own system failures. Within two years, the accounting firm had spent so much money on legal fees, court costs, lawsuit settlements and IT consultants that it had to close all its offices except for the original headquarters in New York.
Any device connected to your network through a WiFi connection is a target for cybercriminals and must be protected. However, public WiFi connections are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks. Airports, train stations and other public places might offer free WiFi, but when your data is put at risk, the connections could be far from free. Hackers know that the average user is cavalier about logging on to public WiFi connections. In high-traffic public places, hackers are armed and ready to take advantage of users connected to unsecured networks. At any given moment, someone is being hacked while waiting at an airport gate for his or her flight. With appropriate cyber defenses, you can protect your small business’s network and hard-earned data wherever you log on.
According to the FBI www.fbi.gov, “The best insurance against a cyber attack is never to have one.” If you have not yet fallen victim to a cybercrime, you should act now to take the necessary steps to protect your data. You might already have some protective measures in place. However, as cybercrime increases and your business grows and adds more devices such as smart controls, wireless access and remote access, your network surface attack area for hackers grows, too. Therefore, it is essential to hire cyber security experts to provide a Cyber Risk Analysis of your systems and networks to ensure you have appropriate protections in place.
DIGIGUARD, specializing in preventing cyber threats, has a wide array of solutions to protect against cybercrimes. It works with small and midsized businesses to establish cyber security best practices to ensure their confidential data has the best protection possible and that all users are on the same page. Many companies bound by strict compliance and privacy laws such as law firms, medical practices and financial service institutions cannot afford data breaches of any kind. For any business, cyberattacks can have devastating consequences. DIGIGUARD can assess your cyber risks and work with you to ensure you have the best protection solution for your business.
Call DIGIGUARD CYBER SECURITY at 833-33-CYBER (833-332-9237) and visit www.DIGIGUARDsecurity.com to increase your level of cyber security and protect your company’s and clients’ data.