May 18 2015

The Cybersecurity Threat Small Businesses Face

Cloud adoption ushers in security concerns, which are pushing more SMBs to adopt Security as a Service, complex passwords and other IT protection measures.

Company size is no safeguard against hackers.

According to a 2015 Endurance International Group survey released during National Small Business Week, 31 percent of small businesses have experienced a cyberattack or an attempted cyberattack.

What’s more, Intuit predicts cloud adoption among small businesses will grow from 37 percent to 78 percent by 2020, creating a much larger pool of companies that are vulnerable to risk.

While those figures should make security issues top of mind, the Endurance survey found that only 43 percent of small businesses invested in cybersecurity protections in the past year. A significantly smaller percentage of small business owners entrusted managed security service providers with the task of protecting their companies.

CircleID contributor John Fakhoury explains why small business owners aren’t willing to hand over the reins — and why that’s a problem:

When it comes to security, many small businesses aggressively guard their IT. Often, security is the final piece of technology kept in-house because it offers a measure of "control." However, as noted by Health Data Management, existing processes and legacy systems often create a fragmented security landscape with no formal oversight; effectively giving the illusion of security without conferring any actual protection. Security-as-a-service alternatives, meanwhile, can be tailor-made to address your needs, protect your assets and keep you fully informed.

Kaspersky Small Office Security (KSOS) from Kaspersky Lab is one such hosted security platform. It customizes enterprise-grade technologies to meet the needs of businesses with fewer than 25 employees.

According to eWEEK, KSOS features a cloud-based management console, enhanced protection for Windows and Mac computers, financial data security and cloud-based password management, all designed to make cybersecurity easier on small businesses.

Offering more ways to bolster data protection, Entrepreneur contributor Brian Honigman recommends that companies encrypt emails; stay up to date on malware, spyware and firewall software programs; and prioritize staff awareness:

Train employees on the importance of using smarter passwords, which are crucial to upgrading cybersecurity. Although longer, complex and difficult passwords may seem like a hassle to your employees, you should still create a company policy to mandate them.

Employees should also change those passwords every three months and be able to recognize suspicious emails, in case phishing scams or malicious emails make it past filters, according to Honigman.

While no business will ever be 100 percent secure from hackers, these sorts of measures should give small businesses greater protection in an increasingly dangerous world.