By Robert Zimmer
Hackers worldwide have put small businesses firmly in their crosshairs as they seek to boost their return on “investment.” Smaller firms often provide the most bang for a hacker’s buck – and that makes them an enticing target. If your business has a website of nearly any kind, then you should take proactive measures to protect yourself by using powerful website security and gaining financial protection in the event of a website attack.
The number of attacks against small businesses has spiked to 45 percent of all hacks for 2016, and these can often sound the death knell for small businesses. According to the Cyber Security Alliance, over 60 percent of small businesses closed their doors within six months of a cyberattack. Small businesses are notoriously slow for adopting security measures, and usually end up doing so in reaction to a recent attack. Clearly, this is the less efficient and more costly approach.
Ironically, small companies have the most to lose since cybercrime would have a debilitating effect on many businesses. Reputations, their professional look and feel, as well as their bottom line are at stake. Nearly one-third of SMB owners don’t even practice the most basic of security measures such as using firewalls, SSL encryption, or even antivirus software.
Nearly 30 percent failed to regularly update software on computers and mobile devices, which is similar to posting a flashing neon sign on your company website that states, “hackers welcome here.” Many business owners don’t even realize that they may have valuable information such as customer names and addresses – let alone payment information – within easy reach of hackers. Unfortunately, that leaves them even more vulnerable to attack.
Many entrepreneurs are still in denial about this threat because they may not have happened to hear it occurring in their specific industry. But no doubt, it has hit essentially every industry you can imagine. Everything from locally-owned home health care providers to food delivery outfits are affected every day. Nothing and no one is off limits. The simple fact is that these attacks are not personal, and nobody is safe.
Some protest (foolishly) that their company is too small to be singled out for an attack on their website. Unfortunately, in a hacker’s mind the smaller the better. Hackers usually work together, either physically or virtually, to get maximum gain with as little investment of money or time as possible. They are collaborative by nature, often posting news of their exploits in online forums. A professional image for your SMB is everything in businesses, no matter your size or industry. Just ask those that went out of business after a sudden website attack.
In sharp contrast to the gumption of hackers, the small business community is often too close-mouthed after suffering an attack. They hope to forget the experience, somehow retain customer confidence, and quietly recoup their losses as best they can. That’s clearly not always successful.
Liability insurance does not address the needs of a business after a website attack. As more companies explore website security, it is also wise to understand that financial protections are an important element of website security and peace mind – so that you don’t end up one of the 60 percent that close their doors following an attack. Financial protection can help cover hefty costs related to data restoration, customer notification, customer monitoring, public relations and more.
Small businesses of all shapes and sizes should proactively protect their online presence and minimize the risk to their business by combining affordable website security with financial protection that covers mounting costs in the event of a breach.
Robert Zimmer is vice president of the strategy at GamaSec, a global provider of website security solutions for small and medium-sized businesses. The company offers a unique combination of cloud-based website vulnerability identification, remediation-as-service, web attack prevention as well as a Data Breach Limited Warranty. Founded in 2006, GamaSec is headquartered in Israel with offices in New York City. Visit www.gamasec.com.