We often hear about big corporations getting hacked and having sensitive data stolen. While most news coverage is on large companies, small businesses are frequently the target of cyberattacks.
Small businesses typically say cybersecurity is too complex and don’t know where to start when seeking protection. Many don’t know about resources like the Dell Small Business advisor program, which happens to be free and run by a trusted brand. Small Business Trends spoke with Erik Day, vice president and general manager for Dell Small Business, about what small businesses can do to keep their data safe.
Why Cybercriminals Target Small Businesses
Small Business Trends: Why should small businesses be concerned about cyberattacks?
Erik Day: The FBI has tracked more than 4,000 ransomware attacks occurring every day, yet small businesses don’t see themselves as targets and believe their security programs are good enough. In fact, 90 percent of small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. do not use data protection for company and customer information, and less than half of SMBs are securing company e-mail to prevent phishing scams, according to McAfee.
These numbers are concerning considering small businesses’ vulnerability to cyberattacks. Small businesses identify cybersecurity as too costly and are less likely to make an investment in the appropriate security tools and solutions.
Hackers know this is the case and take advantage of small companies’ relaxed approach. And unfortunately, the impact of an attack can be extremely harmful and disastrous for a small business — even more so than their big business counterparts. The National Cyber Security Alliance says 60 percent of small businesses will go out of business within six months of a cyberattack.
Small Business Trends: Wow, that’s a lot of fatalities. Do you have any simple tips for small businesses to prioritize security?
Erik Day: Taking a few critical and simple steps can make a great difference within a small business’ data security strategy.
Maintain secure access. Data should be protected at all times, at rest and in motion, and using methods such as password protection, multifactor authentication and other network access controls can help.
Proactively prevent threats. According to the Verizon Data Breach Digest 2017, 95 percent of security breaches occur at the endpoint, meaning at the user device. Small businesses need to prevent threats from reaching company and client information starting at the endpoints.
Use the appropriate software solutions! There are a multitude of options out there to block malware, viruses, spyware, ransomware and more.
Have a recovery plan. Small businesses often do not backup their data – 47 percent admitted they never back up their data, according to the FCC. That’s an incredible statistic given today’s climate
Every business needs to have a plan of action. Features such as cloud backup services automatically detect and backup new and changed files after the initial file upload, and acts as a second line of defense for your data against all types of malware.
It’s amazing to me that people will back up their personal cell phone data regularly in case they drop it and damage it beyond repair, but they don’t do the same for their business.
Why Do It Yourself if You Don’t Have to?
Small Business Trends: So it’s not just about attacks?
Erik Day: Be it a cyberattack or a natural disaster, businesses need to make sure their data is protected, secured and need a recovery plan in place to minimize downtime and avoid revenue loss. So many SMBs don’t have a recovery mechanism in place, meaning, when experiencing a cyberattack, a business could lose some or all data and thus time, and potentially, customers. Data loss – whether from natural disasters, an attack, hardware failure, bad employee, etc. – is up 400 percent since 2012 according to Iron Mountain. That’s a big deal especially when you consider that 60 percent of SMBs who experience data loss shut down within six months.
We often hear from our customers that it is overwhelming to know where to start. Working with a trusted IT advisor will help a small business understand and recognize what’s missing from their technology infrastructure, and how to develop a solid and reliable data backup and recovery plan.
We work closely with small businesses to guide them on cybersecurity and it’s free.
Over 66 percent of small business owners today are taking a “do-it yourself” approach to this when they don’t have to! This is all very alarming considering the importance of choosing quality and appropriate technology in today’s risky data environment. We know, and hear from our customers, that having a trusted partner can set them on the right path where they can get advised on safeguarding data, on costs, on preventing productivity inefficiencies, and more.
Small Business Trends: What do you expect to be the next major cybersecurity threat for small businesses in the coming years?
Erik Day: Cyberattacks will likely remain the number one cybersecurity threat for small businesses. I wish that wasn’t true. I hope the small business community will trend toward preventing cyberattacks before they happen, and that that trend will enable an improvement to the alarming statistics on SMBs and cybersecurity we currently see.
Unfortunately, cybersecurity threats are growing and ransomware, malware, viruses and beyond, are ever more prevalent. Hackers are not slowing down and neither should small businesses. It is time to be proactive. Get a data protection, data backup, and data recovery plan in place.
Small Business Trends: What’s the best way to contact Dell about cybersecurity?
Erik Day: Call Dell’s small business advisors at 1-877-BUY-DELL. We want to get to know your small business, be your partner, and prepare you for the cybersecurity road ahead.