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Bad Guys Have Their Eyes on Business. Are You Prepared for Cyber Attacks?

May 21, 2024

Cybercriminals are masters at knowing exactly where to focus their energies. Because many large corporations have the expertise and  budgets they need to protect themselves from ever-evolving threats, cybercriminals have pivoted their focus to a new target: small and mid-sized businesses.

Small and mid-sized businesses are the engine of the American economy. According to the National Cybersecurity Alliance, almost half of all workers in the country work for a business with fewer than 500 employees, and 27 million are their own sole employee. That makes them a rich target, and largely an unprepared one. According to a 2023 study from Accenture, 43% of cyberattacks are targeted at small businesses, while only 14% are equipped to defend themselves.

While cyberattacks can be devastating to businesses of any size, the damage they cause to small and mid-sized organizations can be particularly expansive. According to a report by IBM, the average data breach cost for businesses with fewer than 500 employees is $2.98 million. And the financial impact is just the beginning. Day-to-day business comes to a standstill. Companies are forced to focus their time, energy, and resources on recovery. And the organization is left scrambling to salvage its reputation and rebuild relationships.

Typically, smaller companies lack the resources of larger organizations and can’t afford to put business to the side to focus on cybersecurity. That leaves their data – and their livelihoods – vulnerable. While time and money are always limited resources for business owners, now is the time to invest a bit of both to ensure the company is as protected as possible.

Ever-Evolving Attacks

You’ve no doubt heard about phishing attacks. They’re among the most common cybercrimes impacting small businesses, costing an average of $25,000 per incident. These emails or texts appear legitimate, but clicking on links they contain can install malware or other programs that can give scammers access to the entire company network.

Ransomware attacks are also on the rise. And once they occur, the victim’s options are very limited. One recent study found there is a 51% chance that a small business that falls victim to a ransomware attack will end up paying the fee – with no guarantee the situation will resolve as a result. These attacks can begin through scam emails, server vulnerabilities, and other techniques that lock you out of your network and hold your data hostage, bringing business to a complete stop. According to Statista, the healthcare industry in the U.S. was the biggest target of ransomware attacks in 2023, followed closely by manufacturing.

Also common are Tech support scams, where a phone call, email, or pop-up window claims there is a problem with the user’s computer. Scammers often ask for remote access to the computer, giving them access all information on it and any network it’s connected to.

Organizations don’t even have to be attacked directly to be impacted. Supply chain attacks, a breach resulting from a compromise of a supplier or other business partner, are increasingly common. Because of their added complexity, these attacks can take longer to resolve and cost more to mediate.

While there are plenty of other types of threats targeted at small businesses, they all have similarly devastating – potentially ruinous – impacts.

A People Problem

Contrary to what many businesses owners believe, cybersecurity isn’t just a technology issue. Most attacks occur through people and processes, like an employee clicking a link in a phishing email, choosing weak passwords, or inadvertently sharing sensitive information. According to the World Economic Forum, 95% of cybersecurity attacks are attributable to human error.

That means cybersecurity is a collective responsibility, shared by everyone in the organization. Creating a culture of knowledge and smart habits is vital. Comprehensive training, clear policies, and recognizing good behavior are all low-cost, effective steps that can help protect your organization for the long term.

Calling in an Expert

In many cases, the most effective way to protect a small to mid-sized business from ever-evolving cyberthreats is calling in a reputable expert. As the National Cybersecurity Alliance explains, this approach enables a business to “…tap into specialized cybersecurity expertise without incurring the total expense of an in-house security team.”

When searching for a vendor, look for those with a proven track record of delivering reliable security specifically developed for organizations of your size. CompassMSP offers a wide range of solutions and services designed for small to mid-sized businesses. That includes Secure Path, our newly enhanced suite of suite of cybersecurity solutions designed to protect businesses from cyber threats, secure digital assets, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. Secure Path features includes Security Operations Center as a Service (SOCaaS) threat monitoring, detection, and response; Virtual Chief Security Officer (vCISO) Services for cybersecurity and compliance advisory services, plus risk assessment and management; Vulnerability Management Services for vulnerability scanning and reporting, security awareness training and simulated phishing, and Compliance Services for regulatory gap analysis and cybersecurity frameworks to meet specific compliance mandates.

Think of the potential costs of a cyber attack. The investment in bringing in experts to help avoid cyber threats are more than worthwhile. It’s clear that cybercriminals will only continue to come up with new ways to put your business at risk. To learn more about how CompassMSP can help ensure you have the ongoing protection you need, please contact us here, or call 833-444-2677.

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