When a hacker targets a government or a big corporation, it is easy to understand why. The bigger the fish, the larger the reward is a line of thinking that makes a lot of sense. Big businesses have lots of credit card information, an incredible amount of personal data, and much more “goodies” that hackers love to exploit. However, the vast majority of hacks don’t even look at big businesses, instead of looking to target the everyday small business owner.

Is That Really True?

According to Capstone IT Services provider (Florida), over half of data breach victims are small to medium businesses, many of whom are so badly impacted that they can’t recover – almost 70% of small businesses that get hacked then go out of business within 6 months. Despite all this, studies have found that only 14 percent of small businesses are even ready to defend themselves against cyber-attacks. The modern internet isn’t just limited to big businesses anymore, small business owners know that they need to get online – they just seemingly don’t take the precautions that any online business needs to.

Why are they so Attractive?

They’re very attractive in part because they have such a poor understanding of cyber security on the whole. Small businesses rarely allocate much to their cyber security, instead of using their IT budget to focus on growth via digital marketing and SEO. Hackers see small businesses as ripe to be exploited – the payoff is smaller than with big businesses, but the effort needed is dramatically less.

What Attacks Threaten Small Businesses?

Ransomware is a very common threat to small businesses. This form of attack involves a hacker gaining control of the business’ computer system (more often than not, the personal laptop of the business owner) and demanding a ransom to get files back. The average cost of a ransomware attack is about $2,500, but the highest ransom that a company has had to pay out was $930,000 in 2018.

Other threats to small businesses include DDOS attacks (which look to bring a website down and are especially easy to implement if the business doesn’t use cloud-based servers), phishing, and malware. Phishing is particularly deadly, costing US businesses $1.8 billion in 2019.

The Danger of Bad Education

IT literacy is crucial for anybody that has anything to do with computers and business. Insider threats are a0020 significant reason that hackers successfully target small businesses. Employees may, if they know what they’re doing, exploit a vulnerability themselves, but more often than not, inadequate training and IT literacy results in employees unintended opening the door to hackers.

A significant cause of this issue is not understanding security clearance. Clearance sounds like it’s from a spy thriller, but it’s an important part of cyber security. If your employee just needs to use a computer to fill out forms or spreadsheets, why give them access to the whole server? Unnecessary access to the computer system creates gaping holes in any company’s security; any small business that is cyber security literate will have safeguards in place to prevent this from happening.