Many people believe that digital security is an expensive luxury item that only large enterprises can afford. They think that as a small enterprise they don’t have anything of value that anyone would want to steal. Or they might believe that they are too small and unimportant to be targeted by cybercriminals.
Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Hackers are criminals, and they steal what they can from easy targets, those lacking strong digital security. Therefore, unless you’re putting effort into protecting yourself, you could become the next news story about a breach. Or, even worse, a cautionary tale about a business that shut down because it couldn’t afford the ransom or the recovery costs to stay afloat. In fact, it is estimated that 60% of small businesses go out of business 6 months after a cyber attack.
As for the argument of not having anything of value to steal, you have to remember that, in our information age, data has become gold. The Internet has become the Wild West, with the bad guys plundering whatever they can. Evidently, there is someone out there willing to buy your employees’ personal information, your client lists, and payment data. Hence, you need to remember that today, all information has a dollar sign attached to it.
So, how much is this information worth?
According to Comparitech, personal information from typical Canadian citizens sells for just $15.00 on average per record. And this includes social security numbers, credit card numbers, banking information, etc. More sensitive information, including current login credentials, for a PayPal account for example, will sell for hundreds of dollars or more.
As you can see, digital security is just as important for a small business as it is for a large enterprise. But what about the cost? How can a small business fit cyber security into its budget? Protecting yourself and your company can take a lot of different approaches. Some of them are free and rely on open source tools, your knowledge, and your time. Sometimes, a one-time cost to purchase hardware or software is necessary. Other businesses may choose to have a regular service in place which will have regular ongoing costs. Whichever you choose, make sure you choose something. Ensure you know what it is, and make sure it’s sufficient to protect the basics: your users, network, and data. And remember, you don’t have to choose just one. Many companies have one, two or even all three approaches in their organization.