Since the Crime Survey for England and Wales cited cybersecurity as the most common crime in the UK for 2017, it has become clear that cybersecurity is a rapidly growing threat for both the small business owner and the average Joe. These days, cybersecurity requires higher preparation to fight against. Everyone from the European Commission to Fintech groups such as Citi, Zurich Insurance, and DTCC have recently been stepping up to increase both general standards for employment training against cybersecurity, and widespread proactive collaboration to plan for these attacks ahead of time. Microsoft was notably among these companies, increasing their cybersecurity staff by 300% and resorting to training them internally.
What is a small business to do?
Many high profile businesses and are increasing their research. Companies like Microsoft and Citi have the budget to put thousands of dollars into hiring specialty employees. They also are updating their systems and investing in new ventures. Often, a small business will neglect cybersecurity due to questioning whether the investments are worthwhile. As attacks are becoming more sophisticated and targeted, keeping private information intact, much less preemptively protecting it, can be a daunting task. The average small business has trouble budgeting for it.
A common misconception held by many people, especially in the small business world, is that cybersecurity does not matter. Many small business owners assume that they are too small to be a target. According to a survey conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance, 60% of small businesses will close within 6 months of a cyber-attack. This is contributed mostly to a combination of inflexible budgeting and a lack of preparation. Some solutions that work for large companies won’t stand the cost-benefit analysis test. But there are multiple affordable and effective solutions smaller businesses often neglect.
There are many effective ways to strengthen your system and reduce the chance of being a target. For example, install anti-virus software, regularly update software and apps, and implement employee training. In regards to employee training, it is important to develop a specific protocol for all employees to follow. Additionally, update the protocol often, and strictly enforce the policy. It is imperative to hold all small business employees to a high standard. Additionally, we must hold ourselves accountable to be educated, aware, and prepared for breaches of security if we want to survive in an increasingly digitally complex world.