It’s clear that many people and businesses alike assume that cybersecurity training and awareness is only applicable to large business or government institutions. But is that the right assumption? Many may believe that large business is more vulnerable to threats or have more of what the criminals want, when compared to the small fledgling business or start up. But is that true?

Equally, small business or a new start up, is as susceptible to cyber threats as a large corporation, if not more. Afterall a large corporation know they are a target for cybercrime and put their resources into training staff in cybersecurity, protecting data, and employing security experts whether internally or outsourced partners.  

On the other hand, most small business and start ups have limited resources, knowledge, and budget. And invest in other areas of their business rather than on security, considering cybersecurity a secondary issue and expense. In other words, cybercriminals consider fledgling businesses easy targets and easy money. And can quickly bring a small business to their knees, by halting operation and taking their money.

Why is your start-up/small business an attractive target for cyber-criminals?

Let’s take a closer look:

  • Shortage of expertise, training for and budget providing thorough security defence
  • Lack or no dedicated cybersecurity specialists on the payroll
  • Limited security awareness in employees
  • Security defences may be implemented but are not always kept up to date
  • Lack of risk awareness and risk management policy and procedure
  • Failure in securing endpoints

If you need further persuasion about why start-ups and small businesses need to wake up to the threat of cybersecurity, keeping reading. We have 10 important reasons why now is the right time to get your defences in order.

#1. The information your business has is invaluable

Start up and small business may not have a large scope of threat like large business, but they do hold sensitive information from employee and customers alike.

The sensitive information you hold are what hackers are interested in. And the types of information can include, personal or financial information such as social security numbers, tax file numbers, credit card & banking details. As a result, small businesses are easy targets for hackers. So, this information needs to be protected as much as possible, especially credit card or banking credentials, since criminals can steal funds.

#2. A cyber-attack can destroy your start-up

A new business or start-ups can be delicate initially. The slightest hiccup and business growth can wither away overnight. So, they need to consider and calculate the risks in-order to grow. It needs to successfully establish the business into a brand name, people can trust. A breach in the initial phase of your business, can cause massive damage to your reputation. It can also be a major blow to your finances.

#3. Cyber-criminals are always on the lookout for easy targets

Small businesses are a- plenty so they present a big market for criminals whose biggest aim is to fleece you or your customers out of money. In other words, they never stop looking for ways to conduct malicious attacks. As said earlier bigger business have the resources to protect themselves and stave off an attack, making the smaller business the next target for cyber crims.

#4. Non-compliance can be Costly

Regardless of a businesses, scale or size, data breach regulations are becoming tighter in Australia. So, there’s really-no escaping the issue if you’re running your own business. In the future, the cost of complying with good cybersecurity measures will be far less than the cost of non-compliance, in the case of a data breach. As the government is already considering making Company Directors personally liable. To be compliant you will need to invest in cybersecurity vs have to bear data breach costs (cost of non-compliance), reputational costs and operational costs. Unfortunately, just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you can get away with dealing with technologies, processes, and people. Because all of these can be the target in a cyber- attack.  In other words, small business needs to comply with data security regulations.

5. Businesses need to attract and retain employees to grow

Most people know and understand the importance of their online privacy and security. If staff get any inclination that your workplace is putting their personal data at risk, you may not keep them on staff for long. By itself this may not be a big enough issue to implement cybersecurity standards and awareness. But attracting talent maybe difficult in general for start-ups businesses so could easily become a worry.

6. Downtime can break small businesses

During a data breach, it is common for hackers through DDoS attacks and other methods to bring down critical network infrastructure and websites. Most importantly, larger organisations are in general more resilient to attacks because they have a-number of resources at their fingertips, such as redundant servers. On the other hand, small business has no-where near the resources and find it hard to recover after a breach. That’s to say small business is unable to recover after a breach and eventually shut up shop. The US National Cyber Security Alliance discovered that 60% of small businesses close down within 6 months after falling victim to a cyber-attack or data breach, according to their research.

7. Partners and customers may feel hesitant to work with you

If you’re not following safe security practices, people can notice, typically customers, or partners. As a start-up business this can mean customers and partners may hesitate in doing business with you. As a result, this negatively effects your business, as people understand, your lack of cybersecurity places customers and business partners at risk too. In other words, they will always see you as a liability.

8. Implementing cybersecurity can ensure productivity

When a data breach occurs, it’s not just your reputation and finances that are at stake, it can also stop your productivity. Above all, your staff can’t do their jobs as there’s no access to the network and files. The business must go into survival mode and concentrate on recovering from the breach, rather than normal business operations. During which they can lose the competitive edge in the marketplace. However, all this can be avoided by having some cybersecurity best practices in place and a solid incident response plan. Nothing is foolproof but it will minimise the chances of an incident.

9. Cloud Services also need to be secured

Cloud Services have become increasingly popular with small business and start-up business because of the affordability and flexibility they offer. However, if you haven’t researched the right Cloud vendor and implemented the right Cloud technology, hackers can easily exploit. You may want to get some advice on Cloud computing as a small business to understand your vulnerabilities. Then based on your business need, you are equipped to put in the best barriers to ensure security of business that is being done via the cloud.   

10. It can prevent lawsuits and legal liabilities.

You may not have heard about an organisation having to deal with a lawsuit because an employee accessed prohibited content on their work computer. But it happens. A cybersecurity solution can:

Firstly, help detect and prevent employees from watching inappropriate content in the workplace and a potential lawsuit.

Secondly, it can also prevent legal liabilities from customers or suppliers when there is a data breach. This tends to happen when there’s no cybersecurity practices in place. As there’s negligence on the business side, who are putting themselves and others at risk.

In a Nutshell:

Small businesses are at a great risk of losing their finances, data, productivity, customer relationships and sales, if they don’t take their cybersecurity seriously. Cyberattacks are happening constantly all over the world and to all types of business large or small. In other words, since any business can be a target, it’s important that small business to put in the security safeguards to protect their business and their customers, staff, and partners alike.

While small businesses have limited resources often using an MSP (Managed Service Provider) to help navigate security, rather than hiring someone in-house.  In addition, they can use cybersecurity best practices and conduct employee training as humans causes most cyber incidents . After all small business want to ensure their business is safe and succeeding well into the future.

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