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If you asked five random strangers from different walks of life what are the main threats to the future of small businesses, you would likely get similar answers. Potential responses likely include rising inflation, potential recession, labor market volatility, speed of technological advancement, supply chain issues, and more.
The real question is, what malicious threat is often diverted backwards, and carried over to the next run budget? What problem is left to address when revenue is on track, inventory is viable, growth is stable, and expansion is starting to take shape?
Related: Cybersecurity is no longer an option. Your money is in immediate danger.
Ignoring the warnings is the easy — and shortsighted — path for SMEs
Ignoring the seriousness of cyber threats is a dangerous gamble. The danger is undeniable:
- 61% of small businesses experienced a cyberattack in 2021
- Small businesses account for 43% of all data breaches
- More than half of small businesses that experience a cyberattack close within six months
Acknowledging the harsh reality that most individuals choose to ignore is an important starting point. A true understanding of the situation leads to knowing what preventive measures to take. Establishing and implementing cyber security measures should be a top priority for businesses of all sizes, especially small and medium businesses, where the margin for error is very steep.
The pressure to allocate resources effectively is undermining cybersecurity efforts
There are few endeavors as nerve-wracking, scary, possibly disastrous – and yet 100% worth it – as starting and running a small business. I experienced the passion that drives those who are dedicated to seeing it through. I felt the fuel burning within the team members fully committed to taking an idea and nurturing it into a viable, self-sustaining entity.
It’s no secret that the odds are stacked against us. The numbers don’t lie. It is widely reported that, on average, 8 out of 10 small businesses fail within the first year. The odds are getting worse in five years, with nearly half of all new small businesses closing their doors.
Given the evident confidence and enthusiasm shown by the founders, why do the majority of small businesses underestimate or ignore cybersecurity altogether? Why does the huge potential for a real disaster lurk around every corner? It is a matter of resources and lack of an informed perspective.
Related topics: 5 ways to protect your company from cyberattacks
The leadership of small and medium businesses must raise the level of cyber security
Tackling cybersecurity as a small business is a necessary task that sees greater complexity and effort over time. There are basic steps to take, which are reinforced by increased security measures. Given the undeniable threats, the stronger a company’s protection features, the better.
Here are some critical actions to take from the start:
- Internet security and firewall software. It is important to have an antivirus and firewall running, as they both address distinct issues. Firewalls prevent external access to any data on a private network; The incorporation of reliable security software, operating systems, and web browsers is an essential shield for the networked use of that data.
- Data backup. In the event of a cyberattack involving the capture or destruction of corporate data, high-quality, reliable backup will be a lifesaver. Data backups should be updated regularly to ensure prompt use.
- Secure Wi-Fi. A simple and straightforward procedure, Safe Wi-Fi Setup is a powerful piece of the preventative puzzle. It may be necessary to bypass the basic security provided by your provider.
- Access control and authority. The most effective way to avoid potential crises is to implement controlled access to data and limit user authority. This procedure helps ensure that employees do not inadvertently install or run compromised software, compromise cybersecurity settings, or access data and information outside their area of responsibility.
Awareness, education, and official policies are vital to defending cybersecurity
One of the most important steps a company can take is educating employees in cybersecurity. Without an accurate awareness and understanding of the many ways in which cybercriminals attack, employees are weak links that will inevitably be compromised. Basic instructions on threat severity and critical risks to avoid will go a long way in strengthening the strength of an active cybersecurity defense.
Equipping your company with well-established cyber security policies and action plans reinforces the foundational steps outlined above; These steps establish the defensive mindset and readiness necessary to counter adaptive cybercrime attacks. The specific plans created will vary in association with the size and structure of the business but can include the following:
- Internal incident response plan
- Mobile business plan
- Crisis Response/Customer Engagement Plan
Related: 5 Leadership Strategies to Improve Team Performance and Grow Your Small Business
Securing survival and success as an SME in a challenging economic environment
Every little business is unique. Every owner, every leadership team, every employee – everyone has their own story. It is difficult to say whether they will all be told.
When navigating the endless supply of pressing concerns, looming threats and demands on time’s dwindling resources, the energy and effort required can seem overwhelming. Putting cybersecurity measures on your to-do list to tackle another day might seem logical at the moment, but the reality paints a much different picture.
When leading a small business, there are appropriate levels of time and resources to invest in any given cause. Finding the right level for their business will be a call they have to get right.