expressed opinion entrepreneur Contributors are themselves.
If you were to ask five random strangers from different industries what the main future threats to small businesses are, you’d likely get similar answers. Potential responses could include rising inflation and possible recession, job market volatility, the pace of technological progress, supply chain issues, and more.
The real question is, what insidious threat is so often sidelined and passed on to the next operating budget? When revenue is on the right track, inventory is viable, growth is steady, and scale-up is starting to take shape, what’s left to fix?
Related: Cybersecurity is no longer an option. Your money is immediately at risk.
Ignoring warnings is an easy and short-sighted path for SMBs
Ignoring the seriousness of cyber threats is a dangerous gamble.the risk is undeniable:
- 61% of small businesses experienced a cyber attack in 2021
- Small businesses account for 43% of all data breaches
- More than half of small businesses hit by cyberattacks fail within six months
Acknowledging the harsh reality that most people choose to ignore is a key starting point. Really knowing the situation leads to knowing what protective measures must be taken.create and implement Internet Security Measures For businesses of all sizes, especially SMEs, the room for error is enormous.
Pressure to Allocate Resources Efficiently Undercuts Cybersecurity Efforts
Few are as nerve-wracking, scary and potentially disastrous endeavors as starting and running a small business – but 100% worth it. I have experienced the passion that drives those who commit to getting through it. I felt the fuel burning within the team members who were fully committed to taking an idea and nurturing it into a viable, self-sustaining entity.
It’s no secret that the odds are against us. Numbers don’t lie. It has been widely reported that, on average, 8 out of 10 small businesses fail within the first year. Within five years, the odds are even slimmer that nearly half of all new small businesses will be out of business.
Given the obvious confidence and enthusiasm exuded by founders, why do most small businesses belittle or completely ignore cybersecurity? Why is there a huge potential disaster lurking around every corner? It’s a matter of resources and a lack of informed perspective.
Related: 5 Ways to Protect Your Company From Cyber Attacks
SMB leadership must elevate cybersecurity
Addressing cybersecurity as a small business is a necessity that can become more complex and require more effort over time. There are some basic steps that need to be taken, which are enhanced with the addition of security measures. Given the undeniable threats lurking, the more protection a business has, the better.
Here are some important steps to take from the start:
- Internet and firewall security software. It is important to run both antivirus and firewall software because they address different problems. Firewalls prevent outside access to any data on a private network; integrating trusted security software, operating systems, and web browsers is basic armor for using that data over a network connection.
- data backup. High-quality, reliable backups can be lifesavers in the event of a cyber attack involving the hijacking or destruction of company data. Data backups must be regularly updated to ensure timely use.
- Secure Wi-Fi. A simple, straightforward measure, a secure Wi-Fi setup is a powerful protective piece of the puzzle. It may be necessary to go beyond the basic security provided by the provider.
- Controlled access and permissions. The most effective way to avoid potential crises is to implement controlled data access and limit user privileges. This action helps ensure that employees do not inadvertently install or run compromised programs, weaken network security settings, or access data and information outside of their role.
Awareness, education, and formal policy are critical to cybersecurity defense
One of the most critical steps a business can take is employee cybersecurity education. Without a solid awareness and understanding of the many ways cybercriminals attack, employees become the weak link that inevitably gets compromised. A basic account of the severity of the threat and the key risks to avoid will go a long way toward enhancing the strength of a proactive cybersecurity defense.
Equipping your company with an established cybersecurity policy and action plan reinforces the fundamental steps above; these steps ingrain defensive thinking and preparedness, which are critical to combating adaptive cybercriminal attacks. The exact plan developed will vary depending on the size and structure of the business, but can include the following:
- Internal Incident Response Plan
- Mobile Device Action Plan
- Crisis Response/Customer Engagement Program
Related: 5 Leadership Strategies to Improve Team Performance and Grow Your Small Business
Ensuring survival and success as an SME in a challenging economic environment
Every small business is unique. Every owner, every leadership team, and every employee—everyone has a story. It’s hard to say whether they’ll all be told.
The energy and effort required to deal with pressing problems, looming threats, and endless parades over dwindling resources of time can seem overwhelming. Bunching cybersecurity measures into a to-do list for another day may seem plausible at the moment, but reality paints a very different picture.
When leading a small business, there is an appropriate level of time and resources to invest in any given problem. Finding the right level for their business will be the call they have to make right.