In today’s world, it may be tempting for smaller businesses to avoid addressing cybersecurity when it’s often large, well-financed corporations that are making headlines for experiencing data breaches. That may explain why smaller businesses, a market segment where more than 50 percent of companies do not have a strategy to address IT security, are particularly vulnerable.

That sort of thinking doesn’t serve them well at a time when threats are increasing and becoming more sophisticated. According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report on 2,013 data breaches in 86 countries worldwide, 43 percent of attacks involved small businesses and 69 percent of attacks were committed by outsiders (rather than employees).

Cyber intrusions are costly. Last year, businesses lost more than $45 billion globally, according to the 2018 Cyber Incident & Breach Trends Report by the Internet Society’s Online Trust Alliance.

While many small businesses rely on IT consultants or an in-house staffer to manage their computer security, many have come to see the value of outsourcing those functions to third party managed and co-managed IT, cybersecurity and private cloud services providers. That’s understandable considering that these businesses have the capabilities to monitor, identify and manage digital attacks in real time.

VSS has seen strong demand in the financial, life sciences and professional services sectors for managed security partners like Coretelligent, which provides CoreArmor cyber security solutions business to safeguard its customers’ systems and data. As the surge in online incursions continues, it’s become imperative for many organizations overseeing large amounts of highly sensitive data and information, to secure their IT infrastructure in real time.

Knowing is Half the Battle, Understanding Today’s Threat Continuum

There isn’t one cookie cutter approach to protecting your business against an online attack. But, one thing is for sure – hackers are becoming more aggressive and attacks are getting more sophisticated. If effective counter measures are to be deployed, it starts with understanding the continuum of threats facing businesses today. That, in turn, will inform strategy and improve a business’ chance of surviving or thwarting online attacks.

Viruses, stolen passwords and denial of access to web pages used to be common threats companies and their employees faced. Today, the threat environment is infinitely more advanced. Consider Ryuk and SamSam, which are different types of ransomwear that can paralyze computer systems.

Cyber intrusions impact more than an individual employee, but also its operations, business performance and reputation. For that reason, as Coretelligent points out it’s important to determine the total costs – financial and others – that a company might experience from a cyber-attack. This will help to ensure adequate resources are allocated towards an organization’s cybersecurity before a business experiences a digital attack.

Plan Properly

Prepare for the worst. When addressing  IT security planning it’s also important to remember reputational risk as part of that calculation. This involves making contingency planning an important priority – which includes the development of action and communications plans for informing both employees and external audiences in the case of a cybersecurity breech.

It’s Never too Late

Additionally, there are other measures that small business owners can take to help avoid an online attack, such as upgrading critical infrastructure systems and improving data storage and information sharing practices – ideally through a third party managed IT specialist.

Good cybersecurity practices don’t begin or end with IT department staff or managers who oversee IT department budgets. These practices start with proactively educating rank-and-file employees and all levels of management about the current digital threat environment and best practices for avoiding cyber intrusions.

Taking these steps together  businesses will respond more effectively to the latest threats and help maintain a robust cybersecurity posture.