Are small businesses vulnerable to cyberattacks? While most of the high-profile news stories of data breaches focus on large organizations, from government agencies and healthcare companies to banks, entertainment giants and technology companies1, smaller companies are no less vulnerable. In fact, studies show that nearly half of cyberattacks target small businesses—and that number has been growing in recent years.
Keep reading to learn about the threats that your small to medium-sized business faces, and what you can do to mitigate those risks. WOW! Business offers companies robust business internet and tools that stop cyberattacks before they can hurt your organization.
Business insurance provider Hiscox, in their 2022 Cyber Readiness Report, found that hackers were focusing their efforts more on small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs). For companies with 10 to 49 employees, the average number of attacks tripled from 2021, and businesses with less than ten workers saw nearly four times the number of cyberattacks in that same period.3 It has been reported that in 2022, a staggering 83% of businesses were victims of multiple data breaches.4
For small businesses, the most common type of threat, and potentially most damaging, are phishing attacks. This occurs when the perpetrator pretends to be someone an employee knows and convinces them to download a dangerous file, click a link or allow them to access credentials, account details or other confidential business information. This type of attack is responsible for 90% of data breaches, and it’s on the rise.5
Other threats that small organizations need to be aware of include malware (viruses, trojan horses, worms), that’s typically used to gain network access to steal or destroy data; ransomware, which targets small companies 71% of the time; password hacking and threats from insiders.5,6
Cybercrime is expensive to businesses that fall victim to it. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that the worldwide cost of ransomware alone will top $265 billion per year by 2031.7
In addition to losing money directly through a ransomware attack, which can be devastating for a smaller company, there are other cyberattack effects, such as a negative impact on the company’s reputation and brand, a loss of customers and business partners, and the potential for lawsuits and fines.3
How can your small business protect itself from the threat of cyberattacks? By strengthening your cybersecurity defenses. Here are some ways you can mitigate the risk of data breaches at your organization.8
Outline your company’s security policies and practices, so that your team is more aware of security risks. Require strong passwords and have rules in place for handling and protecting sensitive customer data and internal business documents.
Ensure that all networks and connected devices, including computers and tablets, are using the latest web browsers, applications and operating systems, with up-to-date security software. Run antivirus scans following all updates and install any application and system updates promptly.
Having a firewall on your company network will prevent unauthorized users from accessing your sensitive systems and files. Network security should include any of your team members who work remotely.
Phones and other mobile devices can create serious security concerns, especially if they have access to an internal network or contain sensitive data. Users should be required to password-protect all devices, install security applications and encrypt data while using public networks.
Make regular backups of important company data that resides on various computers. This includes documents, databases, spreadsheets, financial and human resources files and accounts payable/receivable records. This should be automatic, and backups should be kept in the cloud or offsite.
Prevent unauthorized people from using or accessing company computers. Lock up laptops when not in use (they can not only be used but stolen). Make user accounts for each worker using it and mandate strong passwords. Give administrative privileges only to key people and highly trusted IT personnel.
Make sure that all WiFi networks are secure and encrypted. Protect router access with a password and “hide it” by setting it up so it doesn’t publicly broadcast the network name (Secret Set Identifier or SSID).
When using online banks and processing entities, verify that any tools and anti-fraud services being used can be trusted. Keep payment processing systems isolated from other programs and don’t use the same device for internet surfing.
Ensure that no single employee has access to all your company’s networks and data. They should only be given access to the systems they require for their positions. Employees should not be able to install software without first obtaining permission.
All passwords should be changed every three months, and they should all be unique. Consider using multi-factor authentication (MFA), which requires a second step to gain access. See if your financial institutions and other vendors can add multi-factor authentication for access to your account.8
Your organization should also regularly assess its cybersecurity measures to ensure that you’re keeping up with the changing nature of online threats.
If you’re looking for the best small business cybersecurity to protect your company’s valuable assets, look no further than WOW! Business. Our whole business WiFi solution uses an eero-powered mesh system that finds the fastest, most reliable route for your organization’s network traffic, keeping your company and your customers securely connected at all times.
Whole Business WiFi is powered by eero through its proprietary TrueMesh™ technology, replacing the traditional router. It uses multiple low-profile devices as access points to provide complete internet coverage for your organization. The system switches paths automatically to maintain the optimal route for all network traffic, delivering a strong wireless connection that’s free of interference.
This superior business internet solution delivers reliable broadband internet coverage for video conferences, smooth streaming and dozens of simultaneously connected devices, with blazing speed, peak performance and outstanding data protection. Eero is low-cost and easy to set up and manage, making it the perfect choice for small businesses. It also includes built-in cybersecurity protection, forming a critical shield around your company’s sensitive data and keeping your business safe from cybercriminals.
Features include a mobile app for the management of your network, automatic security software updates and QR code logins to a guest network, which is isolated from your primary network.
eero Plus is an affordable subscription service add-on that provides an even stronger defense against cyber threats, with a suite of WiFi management tools that include:
Security software and content filtering.
Insights to show how devices use your company network.
Ad blocking for smoother streaming and web browsing.
1Password easy password management.
Encrypt.me, which enables a fast connection to VPN.
Malwarebytes software, to protect various devices from viruses.
The mobile app lets you control connected devices, network settings, security and the guest network, without needing dedicated IT staff. Your new internet system will automatically update itself with new features and enhanced performance. No more manual updates! The system is designed to automatically respond to rapidly evolving online threats and the changing needs of small businesses.
Whether you’re hosting an internal network or a full customer portal, Whole-Business WiFi from WOW! helps mitigate cybersecurity challenges for small businesses, contributing to your comprehensive security strategy.
If you’re ready to take your organization’s internet service to the next level for the ultimate in performance and network security, contact us today!
1. “Attacks.” Cyber Security Hub, https://www.cshub.com/attacks
2. “43% of Cyberattacks Target Small Businesses.” Cision PR Newswire, 11 October 2018, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/43-of-cyberattacks-target-small-businesses-300729384.html
3. “Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report 2022.” Hiscox, https://www.hiscox.com/documents/Hiscox-Cyber-Readiness-Report-2022.pdf
4. Huang, Keman and others. "The Devastating Business Impacts of a Cyber Breach." 4 May 2023, https://hbr.org/2023/05/the-devastating-business-impacts-of-a-cyber-breach
5. Witts, Joel. "The Top 5 Biggest Cyber Security Threats That Small Businesses Face And How To Stop Them." Expert Insights, 28 March 2023, https://expertinsights.com/insights/the-top-5-biggest-cyber-security-threats-that-small-businesses-face-and-how-to-stop-them/
6. Robertson, Brian. "Top 5 Cybersecurity Threats to Small Businesses — Plus Tips for How to Protect Yourself." Cavallo & Signorello Insurance Agency, https://www.candsins.com/blog/top-small-business-cyber-security-threats/
7. Morgan, Steve. "2023 Cybersecurity Almanac: 100 Facts, Figures, Predictions, And Statistics." Cybercrime Magazine, 24 May 2023, https://cybersecurityventures.com/cybersecurity-almanac-2023/
8. “Cybersecurity for Small Businesses.” Federal Communications Commission (FCC), https://www.fcc.gov/communications-business-opportunities/cybersecurity-small-businesses