Every year, many small businesses are hit with data breaches, but few hear about the incidents because they’re often so minor in comparison with the big ones that expose hundreds of thousands of people. However, that still creates major issues for those individual companies, including a huge financial burden, and as such entrepreneurs might need to do more to reduce the risk if their firms don’t even up being impacted.
New data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security shows that nearly 1 in every 3 data breaches in the U.S. end up hitting companies with fewer than 250 employees, according to a report from Gannett News Services. Few grab headlines in the way that recent incidents for Target, Sony, or the Home Depot do, but the cumulative impact can actually be quite massive.
Why is this the case?
One has to keep in mind that the kind of work that goes into breaching billion-dollar corporations is massive, the report said. These companies devote huge sums of money – the size most small businesses couldn’t even dream of – to protect their sensitive data, and still find themselves hacked. Smaller companies tend to have little to no such protections in place, and could therefore face big issues. However, experts note that even simple steps like educating employees about how to be aware of potential threats, or investing in simple anti-virus and firewall software for the office, could go a long way toward protecting companies. Often, that can be the case even for those with relatively thin budgets for security in the first place.
“The weakest link in any system is the fleshy substance between the monitor and chair. If you want to be secure, you have to educate your employees,” Jean Gourd, Louisiana Tech University’s program chair of computer science and assistant professor of computer science and cyber engineering, told the newspaper. “As long as employees are knowledgeable, that’s 80 percent the battle.”
The more owners can do to protect their companies from data breaches and the financial fallout that often accompanies them, the better off they’re likely to be going forward. Typically, that should include having a robust type of small business insurance known as tech insurance, which specifically helps to insulate from the cost of remediating a data breach. That could save tens of thousands of dollars or more when such an incident occurs.