It’s a common assumption that only large companies are targeted by hackers. After all, large companies have a substantial amount of data that, if stolen, could be sold for monetary gain. While many large companies have experienced a cyber attack, there’s been a disturbing increase in the number of small businesses targeted by hackers.
Small Businesses and Cyber Attacks: What the Numbers Say
Surprisingly, statistics show the majority of cyber attacks target small businesses. According to a Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, an astounding 58% of all cyber attacks last year involved small businesses with fewer than 250 employees. Based on these statistics, nearly six in 10 cyber attack victims are small businesses rather than large companies.
You might be wondering why cyber attacks are so common among small businesses. Well, there are several reasons hackers specifically target them, including the following.
Small Businesses Are Easy Targets
Small businesses are perceived as easy targets by hackers. Although there are exceptions, most small businesses lack the money and resources of larger companies. As a result, they aren’t as adept at securing their networks and fending off cyber attacks. Hackers realize this, so they often look for small businesses to target with cyber attacks.
Small Businesses Don’t Update Their Cybersecurity Plans
Another reason small businesses are frequently targeted by hackers is because they rarely or never update their cybersecurity plans. According to a Ponemon Institute Data Breach Study, only one in four businesses, regardless of size, update their cybersecurity plan annually. Most small businesses, however, perform updates less frequently or not at all.
Hacking a Small Business May Lead to Other Cyber Attack Opportunities
Not only are small businesses easy targets, but hacking a small business may lead to other cyber attack opportunities. When the national retail store Target was hacked, the cyber attack began with an attack against a small business. Target had been working with an HVAC business, and that business had access to Target’s network. Once the hacker infiltrated the HVAC business’s network, they were then able to infiltrate Target’s network using the business’s stored credentials.
Not all cyber attacks target large companies. As revealed above, most cyber attacks actually involve target small businesses. If you’re a small business owner, you should take a proactive approach towards locking down your network and devices. By implementing the appropriate safeguards, you can minimize your small business’s risk of being attacked and mitigate the damage if an attack occurs.