Security breaches seem important only to large businesses. That myth may hurt you.
After several weeks of seemingly nonstop news coverage over high-profile email server hacks, it seemed like a good time to tackle this topic in our blog with a refresher on why cybersecurity is critical—even for small businesses.
The average cost of a data breach now runs about $158 per stolen record of sensitive or confidential information. Why so much? Legal and regulatory fees don’t come cheaply, and you must then offer free credit monitoring subscriptions for victims. Damage to your reputation and loss of customers are harder to quantify yet still have a real impact on your business.
Small businesses are prime targets for hackers—and the costs can spin out of control quickly
If you think your business is too small to warrant any attention from hackers, think again. Criminals from all walks of life target weak and vulnerable victims, and hackers are no different; businesses with mediocre security protocols and protections are prime targets—and small businesses are disproportionately targeted, often because security protocols are weak or nonexistent. In fact, the majority of hackers target companies with fewer than 100 employees. Food service, hotels, and retailers suffer the most due in large part to unsecured point of sale systems that transmit customer payment data.
So what can you do? Start with a comprehensive assessment of your security risks. Is all of your software up-to-date with the latest security patches? Are your wifi networks, phone systems, and servers secured? Are you using the latest firewall, antivirus, and security platforms? How about your passwords; are you following the most current guidelines for password safety?
If you’re like most small business owners who are more focused on delighting customers than managing this unfamiliar territory, you should consider outsourcing this aspect of running your business to an expert IT consultant. While it may seem like a drain on your cash flow, the cost of a security breach can spiral out of control quickly. A capital advance may provide the funding you need to invest in preventive measures to protect your business. After all, not many small businesses can afford the hefty price tag of a security breach.