About 99.8% of all businesses in the USA are considered small businesses. The Census Bureau and the Small Business Administration define small businesses as private companies having fewer than 500 employees. Roughly about 50% of the US workforce in the US is employed by small businesses. While this is a significant chunk of the US economy, this is arguably the most fragile one. Only one-third of the newly formed small businesses will survive ten years or more.
Being a small business in the sea of thriving competition means that you have to be spotless in everything you do as chances your business won’t last long are high – only about half of all new small businesses make it past the 5-year mark. Small business owners wear many hats and are known to be the most optimistic businessmen in the world. Even though the risks are there and your business could cease to exist in a blink of an eye due to a cyber-security issue or a lawsuit, being a business owner is probably the only way for you to get a piece of the American dream. So many people jump on the train!
While optimism is an integral part of being a leader, leaders do not rely on luck, they are cautious and always prepared. It has been estimated that half of the small businesses that suffer a cyber-attack go out of business within six months as a result. And your business could be the next victim.
Here is a top five of the biggest threats to small firms in the US for 2018.
The first, and probably the most common problem seen in small businesses, is seeing them falling for phishing scams. Those types of scams are as old as the internet, and you can avoid becoming a victim by educating your employees about the dangers on the internet, and by restricting their rights accordingly. Make sure that even if they want to harm your company devices, they won’t be able to succeed.
No one is safe; ransomware attacks happen all the time and companies from all sizes fall victims every day. Ransomware attacks could be easily avoided if all company systems are kept up-to-date, and they have quality anti-virus software installed. Always make sure that you regularly make backups of your company’s files and be very careful with the data that you open on your computer – use your anti-virus software to confirm that they are not malicious. Make sure you run regular educational cyber security seminars with your employees who have access to company devices.
The cloud computing services are genuinely changing the ways how small businesses operate and are becoming an option of choice for small and medium-sized companies. Cloud storage services ease the lives of many business owners as they come with defense measures and timely security updates. While cloud storage might seem like a great idea you never know if your cloud storage provider is as secure as you want them to be, make sure that you are using reputable service providers.
Attacks affecting websites
Web-based attacks will continue to change small businesses in 2018. Very often small business websites do not have multiple layers of security and hackers make their way in so they can execute malicious activities right from your company website. This could have a disastrous effect on your branding as such websites get quickly penalized by search engines such as Google and Bing. Not changing your passwords or not updating your company website WordPress plugins may cost you a lot.
Compromised and stolen devices
Laptops, cell phones, tablets, computers, and Macs – they all contain company information that could be useful for cybercriminals. Make sure that you highlight to your employees that company information should only be stored and accessed by verified and adequately secured company devices. The information on stolen or compromised machines could be used against the interests of the company that you own or represent.
Small business will be a target in 2018!
However, cybersecurity should not be of concern if you have multiple layers of security on all your systems, backup up your company’s files often, and you regularly update your systems. Do not ignore those update-notifications – they are released by service providers to improve processes and security. Your chances of becoming a ransomware victim, or seeing your company website being taken over by hackers significantly decrease if you build a habit of updating your systems and have anti-virus software solutions capable of handling the cybersecurity needs of your company.