Serena Raymond
March 25, 2020 in
Security

4 of The Biggest Cybersecurity Challenges Facing SMBs

cybersecurity challenges

If you own or operate a small business, you understand the unique challenges that you face everyday with scaling your business. What you might not consider are the cybersecurity challenges that you face as an SMB.

Cyber attacks worldwide are on the rise, and according to the Ponemon Institute, SMBs (particularly in the US) are getting hit the hardest. Attacks on SMBs cost an average of $200,000, which is enough to put some small companies out of business.

According to the report, over two thirds of small and medium-sized businesses are the victims of cyber attacks. And under 45% of all SMBs believe their current cybersecurity measures are “ineffective.”

In a survey conducted in 2019, 80% of small businesses consider IT security a priority for their business.

SMBs understand there’s a problem, but there are plenty of cybersecurity challenges for them to overcome in order to address the lack of security. Let’s take a look at what is standing in the way of SMBs implementing necessary cybersecurity precautions.

Budgets are tight

As a growing business, spending wisely is at the top of your list. Budgets need to be divided up among departments based on cost-benefit analysis.

Unfortunately, that means cybersecurity software is sometimes put on hold in favor of software or expenditures that are more likely to grow company revenue.

While IT departments might understand the importance of cybersecurity, sometimes it’s a matter of appealing to managers and C-level executives. Stressing the importance as early as possible will save companies a lot of money in the long run. And I can guarantee, employers will love to hear that.

Lack of IT employees, and IT understanding

How can anyone implement things when there aren’t any people to implement them?!

For a lot of small companies, IT teams can be small or completely missing from the org chart. Without someone in-house to take care of cybersecurity precautions, companies aren’t even aware that they’re not protecting themselves.

With all of the various cloud software we use on a regular basis that comes with “built-in” security features, a company may think they’re covered. But without doing the research or consulting with an outside IT company, they’re likely still vulnerable to a cyber attack.

A lack of IT knowledge on-staff and a lack of IT personnel is a major roadblock for companies that are aware they need cybersecurity but aren’t sure where to start.

Cybersecurity education

How much do you know about phishing attacks?

Actually, let’s start over. How much do your employees know about phishing attacks?

I ask because human intelligence is actually the best defense against a phishing email. People seeing a suspicious email and reporting it enable IT teams to take immediate action. But if someone isn’t aware of what a phishing email is or that they shouldn’t click on it, their credentials are at risk.

Even companies that have budget limitations can educate their employees on how to spot a malicious email, link, or website to help mitigate a data breach.

Work-from-home devices

Working from home is usually seen as a benefit for employees. But for small and medium-sized business owners, it means an additional security risk.

According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2019 study, SMBs said the laptop is the most vulnerable endpoint on their networks.

When employees take these devices home, there’s very little control over what they’re accessing. This can open the door to malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, or more.

Even when employees do have training on website security best practices, hackers are very good at deceiving people. They create websites that mimic login screens or falsify pop ups that require you to enter information.

When an employee takes their computer off the protected company network and brings it home, they’re not just putting their laptop at risk. Their laptop can act as a gateway to sensitive employee and customer information. Information that hackers would love to get their hands on, either to sell or use for their own reasons.

How can SMBs overcome these cybersecurity challenges?

If you need ideas on how to strengthen your security without spending money, we’ve put together these website security tips.

If you’re wondering where you need to start when addressing cybersecurity challenges, start with DNS threat protection. Good DNS protection can prevent your users from even seeing a phishing site. Make sure you choose a secure DNS solution that is lightweight, easy to implement (even with a lack of IT knowledge), and makes sense for your budget.

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