3 Small Business Cyber Security Threats and How to Prevent Them


3 Small Business Cyber Security Threats and How to Prevent Them

Read Time: 3 minutes

It’s no secret that small business cyber security threats, and attacks are on the rise. SMBs are the victims of over 43% of all data breaches in 2023, and that number continues to climb. 

The question is, why? Small businesses are attractive prey for data hackers, and scammers, with smaller budgets, teams, and cybersecurity infrastructure, they have become key targets for phishing scams, ransomware attacks, and even insider threats.

Read on as we leap into the key cyber security threats small business owners must watch out for, and learn more about how entrepreneurs can prevent them in just a few simple steps. 

Why Are Smaller Businesses At Greater Risk of Cyber Security Threats? 

Smaller businesses are key targets for a number of data breaches, and hacking scams. While they may not be worth as much as their larger competitors, they are also less equipped with expensive resources such as firewalls, and private hosting servers that protect their data from cybercriminals.

“Small-business entrepreneurs, and startup owners often mistakenly believe their size will inherently protect against a data breach.

In reality, the “small” in small businesses (SMBs) is what makes them an appealing target for hackers,” says Jodi Daniels, CEO of Red Clover Advisors.  

“Enterprise corporations can afford to allocate significant financial, technical, and human resources toward cybersecurity, making it hard for hackers to break in.

SMBs, and startups, on the other hand, usually have minimal protections in place, and so can be breached with less effort,” she explains. 

In a small business, a lack of staff, and resources means that secondary password checks, staff training, and expensive protection software are less feasible.

With less experience in the corporate field, entrepreneurs may also be less likely to spot potential weaknesses in their security system, making it all the more simple for expert hackers to infiltrate. 

However, have no fear. We’ve listed some of the most common SMB cyber security threats below in an attempt to help small business leaders spot the warning signs from a mile away.  

3 Cyber Security Threats To Watch Out For As An Entrepreneur

Small businesses are open goals for cyber-hackers. From phishing scams to DDoS attacks, every data breach an SMB faces can cost millions of dollars.

In fact, just one day of downtime as a result of a cyber attack can cost a small business up to $126K, which for many startups is a make-or-break figure. 

Let’s have a closer look at these cyber security threats to watch out for. 

Phishing Attacks

According to a recent study by Deloitte, phishing attacks are the most common form of a cyber security breach in the small business field, accounting for up to 90% of data infiltration

Otherwise known as a ‘social engineering attack’ phishing scams are sent in the form of fraudulent emails or messages that encourage a user to share sensitive information about the company or unlock access to important data.

Get familiar with the signs of phishing, as depicted in the below image –

Get familiar with the signs of phishing.
Get familiar with the signs of phishing. (Image Source: Get Cyber Safe)

While it’s easy to fall for a well-executed phishing scam, there are ways to watch out for the warning signs when receiving a suspicious email or text. Look out for typos, unprofessional designs, and requests for sensitive information that have not come directly from a trusted source.

If you suspect foul play. Ensure that you delete, and report the sender rather than interact with the content. Better still, make sure that your staff members are well-trained in data, and password protection, and known not to share company information with anyone outside of the organisation. 

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks

Another key cyberattack to be wary of as an SMB is a DDoS attack, otherwise known as a Distributed Denial of Service attack.

According to experts at CloudFlare, “a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network.

This is by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic.”

DDoS attackers aim to make a website’s server inaccessible to normal web traffic by infiltrating the server with malicious bots. This type of attack takes your site offline, and prevents customers from engaging with your products, and ordering online

The key to preventing DDoS attacks is to know your weaknesses, and address them ahead of time. This includes improving the privacy of your server by investing in a hosting plan, and coming up with a plan to help mitigate damages in the event of an attack, ensuring that your site can get back online as soon as possible. 

Insider Threats

Last but not least, let’s talk about insider threats. Not all hacking scandals come from outside of the organisation. Some of the greatest data breaches come from employees themselves.

From browsing unauthorised websites to sharing confidential data in a social network landscape, there are plenty of ways to breach company data without leaving the office.

This is where employee training comes into place. Many of these insider cyber security threats are completely avoidable with the right tools. From multifactor authentication to restructuring access to unauthorised websites, keeping a business safe from human error requires patience.

Multifactor authentication is a must-have for small businesses according to Francis Dinha, CEO of Open VPN. “A good password is important, but it’s not enough.

Multifactor authentication provides an additional layer of security by requiring users to provide more than one form of identification to access systems or information.

Small businesses can use this technology to reduce the risk of password attacks.”

While implementing these extra steps to improve security, and avoid cyber security threats may be time costly for a small business, it could be the five-minute task that saves a company millions in the long run. 

Previous Post
Mastering Productivity: Effective Techniques to Optimize Your Workflow
Next Post
Top 5 SEO Practices to Follow This Year

Related Posts

5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x