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Why Small Businesses Are a Target for Cyber Threats and How MSPs Can Help

Cyber Security

When you think about hacking and who is typically the target, it is often associated with large corporations. It’s not likely you’ve seen many movies involving a big heist going for the small mom and pop store. 

 

Of course, it’s much more entertaining to watch a movie where the goal is to take down one large entity. But, the reality of it is, in today’s world, small businesses are becoming just as much of a target as large corporations, if not even more. 

 

But why go for a business with smaller capital when you can go for the large companies with billions of dollars in revenue? Well, that’s an excellent question. And many small businesses feel the same way. But unfortunately, there are many reasons that small businesses are currently being targeted by cyber threats more than ever. 

 

As a managed service provider, we work with many small businesses that are completely unaware of the vulnerabilities currently in their IT infrastructure. We work with them by assessing their network to make the proper adjustments to make their environment more secure. Let’s look at why it is so important small businesses take the necessary cybersecurity precautions and how an MSP can help.  

Why small businesses are a target for cyber attacks

 

A recent study in Forbes magazine stated 2/3rds of small and medium-sized businesses experience cyber attacks. But why small companies? Why are hackers moving away from large corporations? A significant reason is that hackers see it as more accessible to infiltrate several small businesses than one highly secure large corporation. 

 

For example, when we talk about a hacker taking down a large corporation, the best way to describe it is by comparing it to catching a great white shark. The reward would be great, but it’s very rare and much harder to catch than, say, a catfish. 

 

For this reason, many hackers are going for the catfish, in this context, the small businesses. It is much more efficient for hackers to find small companies that aren’t implementing robust security protocols. They can breach dozens of small companies relatively quickly instead of spending all their time trying to get into a large, highly secure organization. Let’s dive into some reasons; small businesses are becoming a more prominent target today.

 

Hackers are persistent but lazy. 

If a hacker can find the easiest way to get into a company’s network, they will take advantage of it. Have you ever accidentally left your car door unlocked only to come back and see that things have been stolen. Thieves will often go from car door to car door, testing them until they find a winner. But they likely won’t spend much time on each one. 

 

If the car is too hard to get in,  they’ll move on to the next one in the lot, waiting to get lucky. Going from car to car is much faster and easier than robbing a house. This is similar to hackers; they will not spend time on one business very long before moving on if their network is too secure. 

 

The reason small businesses are the target is that their environments typically arent as secure as they should be. Many small businesses do not believe they require a highly secure environment, and this negligence can make them an easy target. 



Weak Cybersecurity  

Small businesses commonly have the misconception that their business doesnt have any information that a hacker wants. There is a lot of resistance from small-sized companies investing in cybersecurity because they don’t believe their data is important enough to warrant the investment. 

 

This is a very prominent misconception by small businesses, and it holds many back from understanding the underlying risks of not having cybersecurity. What is important to remember is that just because your information may not be necessary to a hacker, it is essential to you, and hackers know this. For example, say you owned a shop that sells bananas.

 

 Imagine that someone came in and stole your bananas. Many small businesses would think that will never happen; what would a hacker gain from a banana. But what the hacker knows is that you need the bananas to do business. 

 

They can either keep the bananas from you or threaten to destroy them with that knowledge. This can put a lot of downtime on your business to make money. You would lose money from the bananas you never sold and then need to order new bananas and wait for those to come in. Until then, you wouldn’t be able to start doing business again, which can cause significant financial losses. 

 

Hopefully, our banana store example is beginning to paint the picture. But the point is just because your business does believe their information would provide value to a hacker, it gives value to you, and a hacker will leverage that. 

 

They will either hold your business to ransomware, forcing you to pay a large sum to get the information back. If you don’t pay the sum, the hacker can either leak or destroy information putting your company at risk of sensitive information getting out or losing it entirely. Both scenarios can lead to downtime and financial loss while recovering from the breach. 

How Managed IT services can help small businesses stay safe from cyber-attacks

 

If your business is not taking the proper steps to keep your environment secure, this makes you an easy target for cyber attacks. Without good cybersecurity tools and processes in place, a hacker could get into your system and put you out of business unless you pay them. 

 

The goal of a managed service provider is to help clients create a secure environment so that they are not an “easy win” for hackers. There are several ways managed IT services help to keep your environment safe. Cyber security tools can help keep hackers from infiltrating your network. Some of those include: 

 

Cybersecurity training: 

When it comes to cybersecurity, one of the most important things you can do is train your employees on threat detection best practices. So many cyber attacks occur simply due to human error. A simple accidental click on a malicious file or phishing email can put your entire company at risk.

 

 A critical way to avoid this is by training employees on best cybersecurity practices. An MSP will develop standard training for employees to help them recognize and prevent cyber threats.  

 

Implement cybersecurity tools: 

Several different cybersecurity tools help your business stay proactive regarding cyber threats. Some of these tools include:

Firewalls:

A firewall is a security device that acts as a form of protection between your internal network and outside traffic. It monitors everything and everyone trying to gain access to your network to keep out suspicious or unrecognized sources. 

Endpoint detection and response:

Endpoint detection and response (EDR) is an integrated endpoint security solution that monitors your system for suspicious activity. The solution will monitor and collect information from your endpoints and look for potential cyber threats. If a threat is recognized, the system will automatically respond by either removing or containing the threat. 

 

Multi-factor Authentication:

Multi-factor authentication, MFA, is a method that requires two or more verification factors to gain access to a resource, device, or application. This will act as a second line of defense to malicious hackers trying to steal any sensitive information.

 

Proactive vulnerability and threat monitoring:

When you hire a managed service provider, they will continuously monitor your network to ensure that any threats or vulnerabilities are recognized before they become a risk to your network. Your business needs to have a proactive approach when it comes to cybersecurity. This helps you avoid having your network compromised, resulting in serious effects such as financial loss or stolen information. 

Ready to learn more about Managed IT services? 

Managed IT services are a support team that can maintain the latest cybersecurity tools and threat detection processes for your business. Today, hackers are becoming more strategic in accessing businesses’ networks. With small businesses becoming more of a target, your business must constantly innovate your cybersecurity techniques and processes to stay ahead of hackers. 

 

As a managed service provider, we often work with small businesses to create a secure environment. The most important way to mitigate cyber attacks is to be proactive with the latest threat detection tools. If your business is interested in learning more about managed IT services and what they offer, check out this article: What is Fully Managed IT? (How it Works and Why You Need It).