Over the last few years, data breaches have begun to grab headlines not only across the U.S. but around the world, and they’re affecting major companies, government agencies, and more. This kind of thing may actually be a particular threat to small businesses, though, because while it may take very complicated hacking attacks to get into large organizations’ data, there are few such barriers for independent companies that can’t heavily invest in security infrastructure.
Recent polls suggest that in general, small businesses often have a lot to learn about how they can significantly improve their online security so that they can better protect the potentially sensitive data they store, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times. And with more cyber criminals turning their attentions to compromising small businesses – which are seen as easier prey than the bigger companies they might have gone after in the past – being able to get that data locked down is of the utmost importance.
“We are absolutely facing an epidemic of attacks on our nation’s infrastructure and attempts to gain access to information,” Jason Oxman, chief executive of the Electronic Transactions Association, told the newspaper. “But smaller merchants tend to be easier and more attractive targets for cyber criminals.”
What’s the damage?
Research from the National Small Business Association shows that 44 percent of member companies responding to the poll had been hit by at least one attack in the last year, the report said. On average, those incidents cost firms a little less than $8,700 each, and that’s a cost many companies simply can’t bear easily. For those getting hit by multiple attacks per year – which is certainly possible – the costs will likely be even greater, and those don’t include what companies have to pay to improve their security going forward.
As such, small business owners will have to make a thorough examination of their systems to make sure they’re as secure as possible, and also educate employees about potential threats they might face throughout the course of their daily work activities. Another way in which companies might be able to insulate themselves from the high cost of suffering a data breach is by looking at their small business insurance policies to see if they have tech insurance. If not, investing in this coverage could save them significantly over the course of the year.