Wednesday, March 15, 2023
We hear the stories all the time, but most people think “that would never happen to me” or “I’m not important enough to be hacked”. Cybersecurity threats are very real for any business – but small businesses are increasingly big targets for cybercriminals. Verizon‘s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report shows that 46% of data breaches impacted small and midsize businesses (defined as businesses employing less than 1,000 individuals). So even the small businesses need to be aware of their cyber risk!
What makes a small business a target? They have valuable data! Do you take payment via credit card? Do you allow for bank payments? Do you have business information for partners, suppliers, buyers, etc.? Small businesses collect a lot of very valuable data without even thinking about it. As businesses increase their digital footprint, pivot to more online sales, or store more customer or business data, this threat will continue to grow.
Small businesses are highly vulnerable to cybersecurity threats, as they often lack the resources and expertise to implement robust security measures. But the repercussions for cybersecurity threats are large:
- Disruption of Operations: A cyberattack can disrupt the operations of a small business, leading to downtime and loss of productivity. This can have a severe impact on revenue and can cause delays in fulfilling orders.
- Damage to Reputation and Customer Following: A data breach can easily damage the reputation of a small business. Customers may lose trust in the business and may choose to take their business elsewhere. Small businesses can also lose access to their social media platforms making ruining their digital profile and losing their earned customer following.
- Legal Liability: Small businesses can face legal action if they are found to be responsible for a data breach. They can be held liable for damages resulting from the breach, including compensation for the affected parties, regulatory fines, and legal fees.
- Compliance Issues: Small businesses that handle sensitive data are required to comply with certain federal regulations. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in penalties and fines.
Cybersecurity threats can have a significant impact on small businesses. It is essential for small business owners to take proactive steps to protect their businesses from cyberattacks.
Understanding your small business’ cyber vulnerability and mitigating cyber threats are not easy tasks. But putting in the effort now to protect your business is worth it! The Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s (IEDC) Small Business Development Center program offers a no-cost, ready-to-implement toolkit to provide Hoosier small businesses with easy to understand and ready to use resources that can help avoid or reduce the impact of cyber incidents. The IEDC engaged the Global Cyber Alliance to create a unique toolkit for Indiana small businesses interested in understanding the basics of cyber hygiene and mitigating cyber risks as well as finding organizations to help with training and cybersecurity implementation.
The Indiana Small Business Development Center also offers no-cost business advising, training, referrals, and a library of cultivated tools and resources to help a business succeed, from startup through to sale or retirement. You can find more information on the cybersecurity resources available through the Indiana SBDC program here or visit any of the 10 regional offices located throughout the state.