Small Business Owners Increasingly Concerned About Data Breaches

Another South Carolina Data Breach Highlights Risk for Small Business

Experts have repeatedly warned that criminals may be focusing their efforts to cause data breaches on small businesses these days, as a result of the fact that many such companies usually do not have a significant security apparatus in place. For these reasons, it seems that many owners are growing increasingly concerned about this and other cybersecurity threats they may now face.

Today, more than half of all small business owners say that security issues are among the biggest challenges facing their companies, with about the same proportion also citing the costs associated with making necessary upgrades to the technologies those enterprises use, according to a new survey from the National Small Business Association. Moreover, a combined 94 percent say that cybersecurity is an either very or somewhat important concern for their businesses, compared with just 6 percent who say it is not an issue at all. Interestingly, though, 30 percent say that they have low or no understanding of their security issues may be.

Further, 21 percent of companies say that they now pay a third party to handle their online security, while one in three rely on their own staff, and close to two in five owners do it themselves, the report said. Another 6 percent don’t have anyone in charge of their online security.

“There was a drop in the number of small-business owners who pay an outside firm to handle their IT, which is likely driven by two factors: the economic challenges small businesses have faced in the last several years; and improved IT platforms and the growing reliance on – and therefore need to understand – these technology tools and platforms,” wrote David Ickert and Todd McCracken, the NSBA chairman and chief executive officer, respectively, in their introduction to the report. “These significant changes in utilization are at the root of why there was such a notable increase in the number of small business owners who report they allow employees to telecommute – up from 44 percent three years ago to 60 percent today.”

Specific concerns about attacks
About nine out of every 10 businesses are in some way concerned about being hit by an attack of some kind, and 98 percent say they think it’s either very or somewhat important to adequately protect their sensitive data and systems, the report said. Further, 44 percent say they’ve already been victimized by some sort of attack, be it a virus, malware, or something similar. Of those, nearly three in five said they had some sort of service interruption as a result, and 35 percent indicated that someone used their email accounts or websites to send bogus information. Only 5 percent said they suffered a data breach.

However, the average cost associated with remediating the damage done by any sort of attack came to $8,699.48, the report said. Of those companies who also say their bank accounts were hacked, they lost an average of $6,927.50 as a result. It should be noted, though, that 78 percent of companies which were hit with attacks say they were able to resolve the associated issue within three days or less.

Owners who are worried about incurring that kind of cost in the event that they are victimized by a cyber attack may want to invest in a tech insurance policy to help them cover such expenses. This type of small business insurance can come in particularly handy in the wake of a data breach because of the even higher costs – which can stretch into the hundreds of thousands of dollars – usually associated with these incidents.