For SMEs, the threat of a cyber attack is very real. Many small business owners overlook cyber security, assuming that their company would never be the target of a highly sophisticated cyber attack. But cyber attacks targeting SMEs are on the rise, and cyber criminals are exploiting the vulnerabilities of small businesses at an alarming rate.
Cyber attacks can be incredibly damaging to SMEs, causing lengthy business interruptions, ruining reputations and causing irreparable harm to customer trust and loyalty. Today’s SMEs need cyber security cover more than anyone. Here are just a few reasons why SMEs should be giving serious consideration to their security processes and cyber security cover.
Cyber attacks on small businesses are rising
The cyber attacks that make headlines invariably concern global corporations, but this doesn’t mean that SMEs are immune to the threat that cyber attacks pose. In fact, SMEs are now being targeted more than ever before. A cyber security report published by Verizon found that, in 2019, 43% of cyber attack victims were small businesses.
Figures published by Hiscox revealed that small businesses are hacked every 19 seconds. Worryingly, the same research also found that there is now a 59% chance of an SME being hacked. So, given the rate at which these attacks are increasing, for SMEs it’s more likely than not that a cyber attack is on the horizon.
SMEs can be hugely impacted by cyber threats
Companies should be thinking carefully about the real impact that a successful attack could have on their business. The majority of SMEs rely heavily on interconnected IT systems, including many cloud-based services. And while this is an incredibly convenient and effective way of working, it also exposes a company to a distinct new set of vulnerabilities. If a cyber attack does strike, the interconnectivity that many companies rely on could make it easier for hackers to gain access to valuable data and intellectual property.
SMEs can be massively impacted by cyber attacks. Criminals have the power to shut down IT systems, halting business with immediate effect. They might also steal valuable data and damage a company’s reputation, or even hold a company to ransom. It’s vital that SMEs are prepared for such threats, and have adequate cover in place to protect their business from what could quickly turn into a catastrophic attack.
SMEs can connect hackers to more profitable targets
In some cases, an attack launched on an SME is just one part of a planned strategy by cyber criminals. The reason for this is simple. While SMEs alone might not be hugely lucrative targets, they are often connected to far more profitable organisations, which may well hold the key to vast amounts of customer data. By hacking into the computer systems of an SME, cyber criminals seek to exploit these connections to gain access to their true target.
If vulnerabilities in the security systems of an SME enable hackers to access the data of its business partners, the SME in question must be in the position to launch a rapid, planned response. This can prove difficult if the SME in question hasn’t thought carefully about its cyber security and prepared a crisis response strategy in advance. However, cyber security cover can assist in cases like these, providing SMEs with access to expert advice and skilled personnel capable of limiting the impact of such an attack.
Small businesses take longer to recover from cyber attacks
Not only are SMEs inherently vulnerable to attacks, they also take longer to recover from the impact of an attack than their larger counterparts. At small businesses, manpower is usually stretched and this means that cyber security tends not to be prioritised. As a result, attacks can be serious, and recovery periods are lengthy.
Cyber security cover is critical in ensuring that SMEs are able to get back to business as quickly as possible following an attack. If an attack does occur, we also recommend that SMEs take the time to learn as much as possible from the attack. Vulnerabilities should be highlighted and eliminated, security processes should be strengthened, and teams should be given access to more robust training in how to avoid, and deal with, any potential future attacks.
Cyber attacks are on the rise, and many SMEs are now vulnerable. Cyber criminals are using increasingly sophisticated methods to gain access to the systems of SMEs, in their attempts to exploit and profit from small businesses.
For many SMEs, cyber security isn’t a priority. But it should be. Cyber attacks can quickly spell catastrophe for ill-prepared businesses, and it often takes an incredibly long time for companies to properly recover following an attack.
Cyber security cover seeks to limit the financial impact of attacks, providing SMEs with much-needed peace of mind as they face the dangers of cyber crime. Learn more about specialist cyber insurance coverage and how it might benefit your business at Eggar Forrester Creative.