In 2018, Cybersecurity is a quintessential part of any and all businesses. Yet, for some reason, small businesses continue to sidestep investing in cybersecurity systems and training. The risk of experiencing a cybersecurity breach doesn’t seem to hit their radar. And even as the Verizon Breach Report and many others declare small businesses are the main target now, businesses gamble. Consequently, 2019 will assure that businesses know they made a huge mistake. The hacking has only just begun. Techniques to infiltrate networks are growing and the thirst to access data illegally appears to have no stopping point.
Research shows that many small businesses find cybersecurity too expensive. And with limited funding, small business CEOs are forced to cut down on certain expenses. The first expense to go is IT security. This is partly because people don’t know if they are getting what they paid for, and the results of the purchase are fairly invisible. Many CEOs don’t believe they will fall victim to a security breach. However, when there is so much at stake a breach can create mayhem for small businesses and their customers. Small businesses do not have the resiliency of a larger company. And, realistically breaches actually cost more than purchasing security upfront.
Small businesses must work to close the cyber gap by investing in their own cybersecurity training and developing a culture of cybersecurity. Many are assured that working with large corporations who have their own secure networks will guarantee them cybersecurity protection, as well. Unfortunately, that line of thinking does not add up. Nefarious actors specifically target small businesses networked with bigger businesses because the relationship creates an entryway to the larger entity. And, when successfully infiltrating a small business or third-party vendor, hackers gain direct access to some of the top corporate networks. Look no further than last month’s Marriott Hotel Starwood System where a vendor was compromised.
Managing risk comes in different forms. You can accept it, transfer it, buy down, avoid or mitigate it. Not investing in cybersecurity is accepting the risk. A risk that comes along with serious consequences that small businesses simply don’t know to exist. Accepting risk makes you a sitting duck. We all very well know that it is not a matter of IF, but WHEN, a security breach will occur. You are not building resilience by waiting for the inevitable to happen. Thus, we advise small businesses against accepting the risk.
Transferring risk comes in the form of insurance. When you buy insurance, you are essentially putting your potential hazards onto someone else. Small businesses transfer their cybersecurity risk to large corporations when they are hired as third-party vendors. Except, these large companies aren’t providing any insurance or guarantee that would aid small vendors in case of disaster. We recommend small businesses do not transfer their cyber risks onto another company unless they are investing their own private cybersecurity network. Building resilience starts within the business itself.
And lastly, mitigating risk is something we do every day. Although we strongly advise small businesses to invest in cybersecurity, if they choose not to it would be wise to hire cybersecurity specialists. This person can mitigate a problem in case of emergency or anomaly. But tying this back to a lack of funding, small vendors typically do not have the means to pay the appropriate salary of security professional. In which case, we end up back in square one. Internet Security Providers and large carriers provide security services that can be accessed.
We cannot expect to have solid and secure networks if cybersecurity is not a team effort lead by company leadership. The cyber hygiene gap is created by those who are inexperienced and others who choose to neglect the security best practices. Small businesses are vital to this country’s economy and success. The Government has provided great information and free assessment tools for free. However, CEOs need to feel a great urgency to invest in proper security measures. Today’s rapidly expanding cyberspace is prone to threats and attacks, and it is our duty to build resiliency. This assures resilience n corporate functions and the protection of customer data. For small businesses who do things like dialysis or other medical functions, it could mean life or death for their customers.