According to the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration, there are 30.2 million small businesses in the United States, accounting for 99.9% of all businesses. Since small businesses account for such a large percentage of the total, any discussion of cybersecurity statistics should focus on them.
While the Small Business Administration describes small companies as those with less than 500 workers, the majority of them have even less, making them easy targets for cybercriminals. Since small businesses have less capital, they must treat cybersecurity differently than larger companies, using more creative and agile defence strategies.
Small Businesses Cybersecurity Plan
A small business cybersecurity strategy lays out the steps and precautions that must be taken to protect a company from malware, phishing, and ransomware attacks. Although most small businesses do not see the value in documenting such a plan, it is necessary to ensure enforcement within the organisation.
In the plan, focus on three primary objectives:
- Data protection
- Compliance maintenance
- supplier, and
- partner reassurance
With a simple cybersecurity strategy in place, a small business will become a more difficult target for attackers.
7 Cybersecurity Statistics That Small Businesses Need to Know in 2021
Over the last two decades, cybersecurity risks have evolved from isolated incidents to regular news. In their attempt to steal business data, cybercriminals seem to be getting more sophisticated and violent.
In order to keep their company secure in 2021, here are seven cybersecurity threats that every small business should be aware of.
95% of cybersecurity incidents are caused by human error. (Cybint)
In an environment free of human error, hackers will be unable to gain access to data. However, human error increases a company’s risk, such as using poor passwords, clicking on links in unsolicited emails, and using public Wi-Fi.
$133,000 – the average cost of a ransomware attack. (AtLeastSafe)
Ransomware attacks are on the rise, with criminals pursuing any company willing to pay a ransom, big or small. Many small businesses will struggle to pay a ransom, let alone come to terms with irrecoverable records, given the high cost per incident.
Security breaches have increased by 11% since 2018 and 67% since 2014. (Acknowledgement)
There is no indication that cyber-attacks will abate in 2021 or beyond. According to Accenture’s study, cyber attacks are on the increase at an exponential rate, a sobering statistic that small businesses can take as a wake-up call to defend themselves from impending threats.
43% of cybersecurity breach victims were small and medium businesses. (Verizon)
The majority of high-profile cyberattacks in the news include multibillion-dollar corporations such as Equifax, Uber, and Under Armour. However, as this figure demonstrates, SMEs cannot hope to remain unnoticed by attackers.
45% of breaches featured hacking, 22% involved phishing, and 17% involved malware. (Verizon)
Cybercriminals have access to a wide range of attack methods. As a result, small businesses must employ a variety of security measures to combat the most common attack techniques, such as malware, phishing, and ransomware. Although hacking may be more difficult to prevent, there are measures that can be taken to harden digital assets at a low cost.
94% of malware is delivered via email. (CSO Online)
Email is still the most common method of business communication, and attackers are well aware of this. Email security should be a top priority for small companies because it is, in most cases, the company’s most vulnerable asset. In this case, switching to cloud solutions like Google Workspace or Office 365 can be extremely beneficial.
Remote work has increased the average cost of a data breach by $137,000. (IBM)
Many companies adopted a remote working culture during the pandemic of 2020, which opened the floodgates to remote-working-related breaches. Remote working can be a costly venture for small companies if measures are not taken to protect remote staff, given the substantial increase in the cost of each breach.
How To Use These Statistics to Guard Against Cyber Attacks
Cybersecurity statistics serve as a basis for developing effective security protocols. Since most malware is distributed by email, a small business should devote more time and energy to protecting its email rather than its website.
Developing a systematic small business cybersecurity strategy that takes these statistics into account may be a good place to start when it comes to putting together a plan that works. Investing in such a plan as a small business could seem overkill, but it will not be when the plan thwarts a cybersecurity threat that could have put the company out of business.