We hear about cybersecurity incidents all the time in the news. From ransomware attacks on the NHS to data breaches at companies like Yahoo and Equifax, it seems like no business is safe from cybercriminals.
One unfortunate side effect of this news is that it can give the impression that only government agencies and megacorporations are subject to cyberattacks.
The reality is quite different.
Small and medium-sized businesses are frequent targets of cyberattacks – you just don’t hear about them in the news. Data breaches, ransomware attacks – you name it.
In this post, we’re going to explore why network security is important for SMBs – with a specific focus on why cybercriminals prey on SMBs. Let’s dive in.
CYBERCRIMINALS REALLY DON’T CARE HOW VALUABLE YOUR BUSINESS IS
The main reason some SMBs don’t focus on network security is the feeling that they won’t be targeted because they have nothing valuable.
There are two flaws in this line of reasoning:
The first flaw is thinking that the main target for cybercriminals is information that most of us consider valuable. You might think “Hey, cybercriminals want to target Microsoft because they can get trade secrets and valuable client data”.
That seems reasonable, but it might be better to think of cybercriminals as petty thieves. A burglar isn’t necessarily going to target the home with the most valuable items in it. They’re going to target the homeowner with no security system – especially if that homeowner doesn’t even lock their door.
When you don’t have any network security protocols in place, your door is unlocked.
The second flaw is thinking that you don’t have anything valuable. Cybercriminals can take usernames and passwords and sell them on the darknet. They can use ransomware to shut down any of the digital operations of your business.
Basically, if you use the Internet, cybercriminals can find a way to make cash by infiltrating your business.
That’s one of the reasons it’s important to set up network security protocols and programs.
YOUR CUSTOMERS CARE ABOUT NETWORK SECURITY
One of the problems with network breaches is that you can’t always immediately tell what information was stolen. In some cases, it’s next to impossible to figure out what may have been revealed in the breach.
That means you need to let your customers know about any incidents that may have compromised their data – even if no data was actually stolen. In the end, you can’t always tell, and it’s your responsibility to tell your customers they should consider changing their passwords – especially if they use it on multiple devices.
The point here is that even if no sensitive information was leaked, the notion that it could have been leaked may be enough to turn customers away from your business. Trust, as you know, is essential to a good business relationship.
Network security helps you maintain that trust.
YOU WANT TO PROTECT YOUR STAKEHOLDERS
Outside of your customers, there are plenty of people who have a stake in your network security.
Sharing sensitive information with a prospective investor? They’d rather not have that information exposed in a cybersecurity leak. The same thing goes for information from suppliers.
In the same way that you can lose the trust of your customers through leaks, you may lose the confidence of the stakeholders who help you run your business. Loans may become more expensive if your company has been the victim of too many security incidents.
To put it bluntly, insufficient network security can cost you a lot of money. Taking steps like setting up email security protocols and software, configuring your firewall, and purchasing managed detection and response tools can end up saving you more money than they cost.
We hope this brief piece has given you a better idea of why cybersecurity is so important. Basically, if you don’t have security protocols in place, you’re leaving your doors unlocked, and your windows open.
You wouldn’t let that happen at the physical location of your business. Don’t let it happen online.