All LinkedIn Articles are posted by Victor J. Quinones, Jr., CEO, Chairman, and Co-Founder at Virtual-Q. Original article posted here.
When a large organization gets hit with a ransomware attack—like Colonial Pipeline a few months back—the costs are significant, with ransoms typically in the millions of dollars. Usually, the ransom is paid, systems get back up and running, and the expense is considered just a cost of doing business.
It may seem based on everything we hear about cyberattacks in the media that this is an isolated problem, or at least focused only on big business. But what about small and medium-sized businesses? It may surprise you to learn that the vast majority of cyberattacks are directed at SMBs, and the costs can be dire.
For SMBs, a cyberattack could actually mean losing the company entirely. In fact, 60% of small companies close within six months of being hacked. With the average cost of data breaches now at $3.62 million, that closure rate isn’t a surprise. Massive organizations can usually afford it, but small businesses don’t stand a chance.
Cyberattacks end businesses, but why? It’s because planning specifically for a cyberattack is virtually impossible. It’s not like hackers work on a normal schedule. Of course, there are strategies that can be put in place to prevent negative outcomes—which Virtual-Q’s expert team can provide—but the timing and conditions are unpredictable. In the case of a ransomware attack, aside from the cost of the ransom itself, there are a variety of other factors that can sink a business.
Goods aren’t being sold, employees aren’t being productive, and goals aren’t being met. So many SMBs operate on thin margins without flexible credit, meaning that even one day of downtime is extraordinarily expensive.
From proprietary internal data to confidential customer information, data loss can cause massive disruption to operations throughout the organization.
Set aside the raw dollar costs of losing customer data for a moment. When customers lose trust in an organization, this loss of reputation has a ripple effect. It doesn’t just hurt business with existing customers—it can prevent future growth too.
What Can Be Done?
The cybersecurity picture can look quite grim for small businesses, but it doesn’t have to. By taking the right precautions, organizations can be insulated from the worst effects of cyber attacks.
Policy and Training
By writing cyber best practices into organization-wide policy, businesses can give employees formal direction on how to stay safe with technology. From there, training employees about cybersecurity—like how to avoid phishing attacks, for example—creates a layer of defense around the organization.
Being able to detect breaches right when they happen is critical to minimizing damage. By partnering with an IT provider like Virtual Q, businesses can keep track of their systems and respond rapidly when a breach is detected.
A robust backup and disaster recovery solution is crucial in the event of a cyberattack. This doesn’t mitigate all of the costs, but it can significantly reduce downtime and be a key factor in keeping the business alive.
Assess Your Vulnerabilities
Do you currently have specific strategies in place to mitigate cyber risk? Reach out to Virtual Q today so we can assess vulnerabilities and keep your organization secure.
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