You may be reluctant to invest in cybersecurity consulting if you’re a small-to-medium enterprise. After all, you’ve not experienced any significant digital threats to your business so far, so why spend money on something you don’t need?
As an SME, you don’t expect to become a victim of cybercrime, but the reality is that thousands of businesses every year suffer at the hands of cybercriminals. A recent Statistica survey reported that 21% of UK businesses experienced a cybersecurity breach in the last 12 months, and 18% were attacked every month.
Like many things in business, investing in solid foundations reduces future risk and pays off in the long run. Here are five main reasons all SMEs should consider bringing in trained consultants from cyber security firms.
1. Business Longevity
You now know the prevalence of cybercrime in the UK, but that only offers a glimpse of the picture. The negative financial impact of a cyberattack can’t be overstated. Not only is there the immediate financial loss of having to shut down your online systems and shift your focus from “business as usual” to firefighting, but there are also longer-term financial implications.
If you are non-compliant with cybersecurity regulations, your insurers will not pay out, and you may also be subject to harsh penalties and fines from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Moving forward, you’re likely to be subject to stricter regulatory reviews and regular audits.
It’s perhaps not surprising then that some reports show that 60% of small firms go out of business within six months of a data breach. By enlisting the help of a cybersecurity consulting company, you can ensure your business doesn’t become a statistic.
2. SMEs Are Easy Targets
Although SMEs may not be as profitable as large corporations, they are considerably easier to attack because they typically have little to no security procedures in place. It’s no secret that smaller companies are less likely to invest in the robust security systems that more established companies prioritise, making them an easy target for cyber-criminals.
The common gaps in cybersecurity processes are shared among SMEs. They are typically the result of a lack of employee education — both about the severity of the danger and how to keep the business secure — and dependence on antiquated technology.
Cybercriminals exploit both technical and non-technical weaknesses in a business’s data security. Because online threats are continually evolving, it is critical for organisations of all kinds to ensure they are always ready to protect themselves from new and increasingly innovative attacks. Cyber security companies can identify weak points in your security processes, systems and business practices, creating a security roadmap to help you stay ahead of new threats.
3. Cutting Edge Tech Is Lucrative
Another reason that cyber-criminals target SMEs is that the information gathered can be sold to the highest bidder. This is particularly relevant for SMEs developing new technology or producing new research.
Whether in the pharmaceutical industry or a software startup, your intellectual property can command a high price, making you a prime target for hackers with the right contacts to sell your data.
If you’re working with highly classified information, cybersecurity consulting firms can help you create a robust defence with multiple layers of protection.
4. SMEs Are Just The Beginning
While there are significantly fewer professional cyber criminals than amateurs, they all have to start somewhere. With their lower security protection, SMEs make great target practice for hackers. And not only do SMEs provide the opportunity for cybercriminals to hone their skills, but they also provide an entry point to larger, more lucrative organisations.
Essentially, hackers can establish a backdoor by locating the weakest point in a software supply chain (SSC), allowing them to insert malicious code and attack various systems inside the SSC. The SolarWinds case is an excellent example of the potential consequences of a highly effective SSC attack.
SolarWinds is an IT management software firm based in the United States. A well-known group of Russian hackers exploited a vulnerability in their SSC, which they used to gain access to government agencies and corporations that used the software, including Microsoft, the Department of Homeland Security and the Treasury Department.
Although your SME is unlikely to be targeted by Russian intelligence operatives, being a small business without robust security defences may mean you can’t tender for larger, more profitable contracts. Any hacker who wants to reach businesses higher up your supply chain may use your business as an entry point, putting your larger clients at risk. With the support of cyber security firms, you can protect your business and your supply chain.
5. Ransomware Threats Are Rife
Ransomware is increasing, and an attack could stop your SME in its tracks. If ransomware attackers find a hole in your security system, they can infiltrate your systems, lock them down entirely and refuse to release control until a ransom is paid. Understandably, these attacks can be debilitating to an SME.
When asked why ransomware attacks are more prevalent than ever in the UK, Director of GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, disclosed, “I think that the reason [ransomware] is proliferating – we’ve seen twice as many attacks this year as last year in the UK – is because it works. It just pays. Criminals are making very good money from it and are often feeling that that’s largely uncontested.”
Cyber security consulting can play a valuable role in protecting SMEs against current and emerging cybersecurity threats. From identifying weaknesses in your existing security procedures to creating tailored solutions to meet your needs, cyber security firms like Loopli take the confusion out of digital protection.
Book a consultation with a Loopli expert today.