Cybercrime is a real and present danger faced by firms across the world. In 2021, the cost of cybercrime is expected to reach a staggering $6 trillion, crippling firms and individuals alike. Indeed, by sheer numbers alone, the revenue generated online makes it comparatively the third-largest economy in the world behind the US and China.
Unfortunately, many Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) believe themselves to be below the radar – mostly through thinking they’re too insignificant or their revenue isn’t substantial enough to attract attention. Actually, the complete opposite is true and cybercriminals are increasingly targeting smaller firms.
The exponential growth of online criminality and the threats to SMEs
Through 2019 across the US a shocking 75% of businesses reported being the target of cybercrime – most of them smaller firms.
A hacking attack doesn’t just compromise your data – if you store clients’ details on file, you may expose them too, leaving you wide open to legal action. Also, attacks don’t just have financial implications – the reputational damage of being hacked can be enormous – and if you have an e-commerce store, you will suffer tremendously from downtime and might also unwittingly share your customers’ credit details.
Bottom line, if your company relies on its IT to any extent (and, let’s face it, it’s difficult to think of any firm that doesn’t these days), then you should pass your IT requirements to a professional IT service provider that will go above and beyond to ensure your online protection. Given the risks involved, IT most definitely isn’t an area where you should be taking chances.
Reasons why SMEs are at risk
Unlike their larger counterparts, many SMEs consider IT almost as an afterthought – a tool that they think isn’t particularly important to the general function of their business and so isn’t particularly worthy of investment. However, as firms find all too quickly when they’re hacked, IT is an integral and essential part of the day-to-day operations of most companies. Like many aspects of life, it’s human nature to take things for granted, but the majority of companies find themselves lost without their IT services.
This blasé attitude to security puts SMEs in the direct firing line of hackers who see them as an easy target. Here are some other reasons why SMEs are most at risk:
Your SME has more sensitive data than you probably realize: Many industry experts believe data is now the most valuable commodity in the world – even more valuable than traditional heavy-hitters like oil or gold. Even if you only store your employee information on file, you’ll likely have their bank details, personal records and perhaps even health history stored – all of which is highly attractive to hackers and can be sold on the black market.
71% of attacks are on SMEs: Large company attacks make the news but the everyday cybercrime launched against small businesses is largely ignored. As noted above, this tends to lull SMEs into complacency, believing they’re simply not significant enough to be a target.
SMEs are an easy target for phishing attacks: As well as failing to invest in adequate security, smaller firms are far less likely to spend on training staff about the dangers online. Phishing attacks (essentially where the hacker masquerades as a trusted firm to steal data), are extremely prevalent among the SME community – and have proven to be a highly successful way for hackers to infiltrate valuable data.
Now you’re furnished with the necessary info to help keep your company safe online.