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Small and Medium Businesses Need to Improve Their Cybersecurity Post COVID-19 Lockdown

June 09, 2020 / Swati Lunge
SHARESHARESHARE

  • Given the sheer quantity of SMBs, their cybersecurity directly affects local resiliency in the face of cyber threats, SMBs must embrace their importance and scale up their cybersecurity appropriately.

  • Published research showing that one third of small and medium businesses (SMBs) use free, consumer-grade cybersecurity tools .

  • The government and major financial services players alike tout the digitization of SMBs. Increased use of information technology and digital assets offer companies new sources.


COVID-19 showed the world that widespread business failure affects communities. When businesses fail, business owners and workers can suffer heightened mental health issues and economic insecurity. Business failure increases the demand on local government for public assistance for unemployment benefits, small business loans, and more. Businesses that survive have fewer customers, and customers have fewer dollars to spend. As a result, more businesses fail. As more businesses fail, more people suffer. Alternatively, business success strengthens communities. Thriving businesses encouraging the creation of community identify and get involved in local events.


They contribute to their localities’ long-term economic growth by increasing the tax base, providing local jobs and products, building infrastructure, and encouraging competition. The government and major financial services players alike tout the digitization of SMBs. Increased use of information technology and digital assets offer companies new sources of revenue and growth, which companies desperately need in the midst of the current economic collapse. Even as digitization increases, 66 percent of small-business senior decision makers believe that cyber-attacks will not affect them. However, 67 percent of businesses suffered a cyber-attack in 2019.



Read more: CISA RELEASES FIRST OF ITS SERIES OF SIX CYBERSECURITY ESSENTIALS TOOLKITS

Finding online resources to boost cybersecurity is easy. Plenty of private companies publish lists of best practices. On its website, the Small Business Administration offers free access to planning tools, business assessments.

~ Business Administration


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, one in seven SMBs have experienced a cyber-attack. Due to their general absence of awareness regarding best cybersecurity practices and their indifference toward the problem, small businesses have insufficient personnel dedicated to protecting their networks and their digital assets. Their staff lack necessary technical skills, and they do not have the budgets required to acquire or purchase adequate protection. The result is a self-defeating cycle. A small business hit by a cyber-attack can fail, like the California-based Efficient Services Escrow Group, which closed and laid off all employees following a cyber heist.


When businesses fail, their employees lose their jobs and no longer have enough money to purchase goods and services from other small businesses. Those businesses lose money as a result, and their owners, stressed about their economic prospects and already apathetic toward the importance of prioritizing cybersecurity, spend less on network and digital asset protection. The lack of proper spending and prioritization leads to worse cybersecurity practices, which in turn open the door to more cyber-attacks and more business failure.


As SMBs prioritize their time and spending during the long process of reopening, they need to take advantage of these free tools and take their cybersecurity at least one step further.


Cyber resiliency is the ability to anticipate cyber-attacks or stresses on digital and cyber resources, withstand them, and recover from them. As cyber-attacks on SMBs systematically weaken local communities, they lose their ability to withstand and recover. This strains public resources. Taxes comprise the largest source of revenue for local governments, but when businesses fail, their tax dollars dry up. Local governments, already lacking requisite cybersecurity resources, lose their ability to secure themselves and their communities. Failure is not inevitable. SMBs can take steps to increase their cyber resilience and boost their chances of success. Owners should lead by example and pay attention to their employees’ online habits.


They can demonstrate good cyber hygiene and teach their employees to do the same. Owners should identify business-critical assets and data to prioritize their protection. They should be proactive, rather than reactive, when planning protection against cyber-attacks. Finding online resources to boost cybersecurity is easy. Plenty of private companies publish lists of best practices. On its website, the Small Business Administration offers free access to planning tools, business assessments, cyber hygiene vulnerability scanning, and best practices. As SMBs prioritize their time and spending during the long process of reopening, they need to take advantage of these free tools and take their cybersecurity at least one step further.


Read more: REDSCAN WARNS OF AN INFLUX OF CYBERATTACKS WHEN BUSINESSES RETURN TO THE OFFICE