In 2019, businesses in the UK have faced an average of 146,491 attempted cyber attacks which equates to one cyber attack every 50 seconds. With a 179% increase compared to 2018, it’s never been more important for companies to protect themselves from a cyber attack.

Despite the obvious risk, most businesses are under-prepared for breaches. Small businesses may feel that they aren’t at risk and won’t be a target as the only data breaches that make the news involve much larger organisations.

However, cyber attacks don’t care about the size of your business. Malicious code just trawls the web seeking to exploit any weak point in cyber security systems, regardless of size.

The vulnerability of small businesses

Complacency leads to vulnerability

The number one mistake small businesses make is that they simply aren’t prepared to prevent, detect or respond to a cyber attack. As they assume they won’t be targeted, they don’t invest the time and money needed to defend themselves from a cyber attack.

This leaves them with poor security countermeasures that makes them prime targets for cyber criminals who can exploit this weakness. 

If small businesses don’t have the resources needed in-house, identify a provider who can conduct a cyber security assessment, identify threats to the business, and develop measures to help mitigate threats.

The rise of internet-connected devices

Remotely controlled Internet of Things (IoT) applications and file-sharing services are the most likely targets for online cyber criminals.

Hackers are exploiting security flaws in smart home and IoT devices including webcams, CCTV, smart meters, and smart speakers like Alexa. These devices have become increasingly popular over the last couple of years but they often have less secure software and come with default passwords that aren’t so easy to change.

This security weakness applies to a wide range of manufacturers and products that can be easily identified online. All of which are vulnerable to being taken over by malware and provide hackers with an easy way into other devices connected to the network so represent a very real threat to businesses of all sizes.

Human error leads to increased risk

The biggest threat to cyber security is human error with employees being the leading cause of data breaches. Maybe they don’t understand the security procedures that are in place or they fall prey to a phishing scam.

Employees need to be included in any security policies and undergo proper training such as Phishing Readiness, payment card data handling, and GDPR privacy procedures. 

Proper training will make employees more vigilant and aware of the possible risks and threats. They can then become one of the best tools any business has in the defense against risk.

Protect your small business from cyber attacks

Small businesses need to take the threat seriously, educate employees and put in place measures such as next generation firewalls so they don’t expose themselves to risk.

From vulnerability assessments to our ongoing vulnerability management service, if you’re worried about your cyber security, get in touch with our cyber specialists and see how we can help.