As a small business owner, you may assume it is unlikely you would be a cybercriminal target, thinking they would target larger organizations. Unfortunately, that way of thinking is inaccurate and small businesses are just as (if not more) likely to be targets of cyberattacks.
Threats to small businesses have been increasing.
In 2020, Twitter, Zoom and Nintendo all fell prey to hackers; if it is easy for global corporations to be threatened by cyberattacks, just think how easy it is for your data to be leaked. Small businesses often lack the resources to set up the necessary technical protective barriers, providing easy access to steal intellectual property and other sensitive information. In recent years, threats to small businesses have been increasing. It is no surprise that the events of 2020 made it easier for hackers to go about their business. The FBI reported a 300% increase in cybercrimes since the pandemic began in early 2020 due, in large part, to the shift of workplace (i.e. working from home or remotely).
Why does it matter?
Losing business data can damage a company’s reputation and competitive advantage which is extremely harmful in today’s cyber-world. Not to mention, the loss of consumer data will deeply affect your customer relationships, as they assume their information is secure. Data breaches and leaks are not taken lightly, especially in the eyes of your clientele. Providing any form of cybersecurity, whether it is through your company’s internal IT department or a third-party MSP, will help your clients feel more comfortable with you having their sensitive information. When that trust is broken, it’s hard to rebuild your once valued reputation unless serious cybersecurity changes are made.
Internal vs. Outsourced IT Services
Determining what IT service your small business should use depends on the specific needs of your individual organization.
Outsourcing enables organizations to replace or expand their internal IT capabilities without feeling the pressures of a large investment or committing to hiring a full team of IT professionals. With an MSP, it's more cost effective since you do not pay for high salary technical employees, instead paying for the services you require. Additionally, hiring an MSP allows you to cater to your specific needs. Consider the type of assistance you need, whether it's full IT management, security help or project based work, and go from there. You can easily upgrade and alter your services as you see fit depending on your business needs and budget.
Utilizing an internal IT team provides a comfortability level because the employee understands the individual needs of your organization. It also gives you full control over your technical resources. The internal IT team gives you guarantee that someone will be physically onsite rather than assisting remotely.
Again, choosing your type of IT provider depends on your individual business needs. There is no right or wrong answer when making this decision and many times utilizing both in a hybrid model provides the best of both worlds.
How to improve your cybersecurity right now:
- Use VPNs and strong password hygiene. Read our article for more information on password protection.
- Utilize multifactor authentication.
- Keep your infrastructure up to date.
- Train employees frequently using a security awareness program which includes identifying phishing attacks and general security best practices.
Taking precautions to ensure your small business is not threatened by cyberattacks is important not only for your organization, but for you, your reputation and your clients. As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”