Cyber attacks: the risk your small business can't afford

Cyber attacks: the risk your small business can't afford

Andrew Zangre by Andrew Zangre on

As we’ve all learned, often the hard way, amazing tech has introduced not-so-amazing risks: viruses, hacks, and leaks, to name a few. A data breach or cyber attack can happen at any moment, to individuals or businesses of any size – and attackers do not discriminate.

Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) may have the “it won’t happen to us” mentality. Smaller teams and tighter resources can lead to the indefinite delay of a security strategy, skipping over cyber insurance, and even a lack of awareness or response when attacks do happen.

But as it turns out, SMBs are now targeted by 70 percent of cyber attacks, making them especially vulnerable. At the same time, a majority of small business owners say they aren’t concerned about a potential attack in the next 12 months.

To our friends in the SMB community, we want to offer a friendly nudge: You should prepare for anything, because an attack is something your growing business simply can’t afford. And improving your defenses can be as simple as managing your passwords better. (No, really!)

Small business, big risks

A data breach can cost your business an average of $4.24 million, according to IBM’s 2021 Cost of a Data Breach Report.

That’s a sizable hole to climb out of – and most SMBs simply aren’t able. Approximately 60 percent of hacked small and medium businesses go out of business within 6 months of the incident, with more folding at some point after or just never getting back to full health.

Beyond the bottom line, cyber attacks pose a litany of risks for businesses and those involved with them:

  • Computers and databases with years of hard work and invaluable data can be instantly wiped clean.
  • Employees and even customers are susceptible to fraud, identity theft, and blackmail if personal details are exposed.
  • News of a breach – with or without customer data involved – can do irreparable damage to brand image and trust.

We understand the struggles of a growing business, and how difficult it can be to get buy-in toward an initiative like cybersecurity, let alone know where to start in doing it right. But for today’s businesses, the smallest incident can mean serious problems. So, like wearing a seatbelt or locking your doors, implementing security measures for your business is necessary to keep you, and your customers, safe.

Playing catch-up

The very definition of “work” was turned on its head in 2020, and hasn’t stopped changing. Remote work and hybrid work have businesses adjusting (and readjusting) their processes, policies, and org structures in real time.

The mad scramble to keep employees engaged and productive caused 46 percent of SMBs to relax their security protocols during the pandemic. Employees and employers alike took productivity shortcuts at the sacrifice of online safety, even when aware of the risks. It’s been music to the cybercriminals' ears, with 2020 being a record year for stolen records.

With so many smaller businesses just trying to stay afloat financially, and often operating at a loss, it’s understandable that tough choices need to be made. But too many growing companies are not giving security the attention it demands, or any at all – whether they don’t think it’s a priority, simply feel they aren’t at risk, or have tunnel vision toward productivity.

But productivity and security don’t have to be mutually exclusive; on the contrary, improved security can actually boost productivity. As a smaller business, revamping your approach is far easier than for an enterprise, and there are cost-effective measures you can take to minimize your chances of a cyber attack. Now is the time to safeguard your data – the peace of mind will be worth more than you can measure.

The easiest security measure is also the most effective

Even the most seasoned IT pros can only do so much. The largest cause of data breaches, for any size business, is the “human element”; that is, employees using weak passwords, sharing data on unprotected channels, and so on.

The right tools – with the right guidance – can make a major difference, and cultivate safer habits across your workforce. 1Password puts power in your employees’ hands to level-up their password game and be upstanding members in your culture of security. It also helps them share passwords and other sensitive data in the safest way possible. It’s the easiest, most cost-effective choice you can make to reduce your risk of a breach. It’s also the most secure; just ask the experts.

What if a breach does happen, or your employees are using a site that’s been compromised? 1Password will notify you so you can update those accounts ASAP, and render stolen information useless to whoever may have accessed it. Your IT team and employees can stay alert as well as protected, dousing security fires before they get out of control.

1Password doesn’t just make life easier for IT, it also improves speed and collaboration across your organization. A majority of workers are frustrated with remembering long passwords for all their accounts, and 66 percent of employees reuse passwords even when knowing the risks. With 1Password, employees not only make safer choices, but get precious time back in their workday and with fewer frustrations.

As you do expand your business, 1Password is a reliable foundation on which to build. No need to reconfigure or upgrade, just keep adding seats when new employees join. And by making 1Password part of your onboarding, you’ll ensure it gets used and helps nurture mindful habits across your workforce.

Introducing Small Talk: Secure and Scale Your Business

Your safety matters to your employees, your customers, and your company’s future. It also matters to us! We want to help keep you and your team safe, as well as optimize your business for the future.

We’re excited to introduce our new content series called Small Talk: Secure and Scale Your Business. In this series geared toward small and medium-size businesses, we’ll discuss different topics that are relevant to the unique challenges and experiences of a growing business, through blogs, shareable reports, webinars, and more. Your security and growth are more intertwined than you might realize – we’re here to help connect the dots.

1Password can help you improve your cybersecurity, productivity, collaboration, and resilience. A free trial of 1Password can be an ideal starting point in your company’s next chapter. See why more than 100,000 businesses keep 1Password as a supporting character in their security and growth journey.

Follow the 1Password blog, as well as our Twitter, to keep up with the Small Talk series, and then share whatever nuggets you find most relevant with your team. We’d love to hear your thoughts as well, and about what topics would be helpful in securing and scaling your business. Connect with us on Twitter or LinkedIn with any thoughts or questions, or just with a story about your business that may be valuable for someone out there. We hope this will strike up productive conversations and help your business thrive. Thanks for reading and we look forward to what’s coming!

Senior Content Writer

Andrew Zangre - Senior Content Writer Andrew Zangre - Senior Content Writer

Tweet about this post

Continue Reading