Small Businesses and Cyberattack: More Vulnerable than You Think


When it comes to cybersecurity, the default mindset is that a small business is not a target for cybercriminals. After over a decade in the cybersecurity industry, some of the common phrases I have heard too often are:

“I’m too small. Who would target me?” 
“I don’t have anything they would want.” 
“I don’t think it’s worth the time and money investing in cybersecurity products. I’ll never be a target.” 

These may have been pretty accurate statements 10 years ago when attackers were almost exclusively targeting the enterprise world. The risk for attackers was significantly higher, but if successful, the reward was much bigger.

However, cybersecurity has always been a cat and mouse game. Businesses evolved, increasing their security posture, and making it more difficult for attackers to be successful. In response, attackers have upped their game. And as organizations continue to increase their cybersecurity, threat actors also continue to evolve. In the last few years, the cybersecurity landscape has changed drastically.

These changes started with the enterprise (business) world and enterprise cybersecurity teams. They evolved from using traditional antivirus to next-generation antivirus (NGAV). This gave them the ability to block and learn more about how the attackers were getting into systems, so they could increase cybersecurity and set up better protective measures.

Cybercriminals evolved as well. Instead of using their traditional techniques, exploits, and malware, they transitioned to more advanced methods, techniques and tools. 

The Gap in Small Business Cybersecurity
Small businesses typically do not have fully staffed cybersecurity teams and are probably running legacy software and antivirus. This makes them softer or easier targets. The rewards for cybercriminals may not be as high as when they attack a larger enterprise, but the work and effort levels are significantly lower. In the time it takes for cybercriminals to compromise one enterprise, they may be able to compromise dozens of smaller- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Challenges in implementing cybersecurity for small businesses
Despite the available data, many small businesses say that they don’t need advanced security because they aren’t going to be targeted. We now understand that this isn’t the case. It doesn’t matter what size your business is; everyone is a target. And attackers often go after the low-hanging fruit—those without advanced protection or dedicated cybersecurity staff, which is often the status of SMBs.  So, what can we do about this? As IT professionals and security practitioners, we prioritize cybersecurity and are here to help.

Cybersecurity solutions for small businesses
It’s typical to protect endpoints with EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) software. Additionally, it is ideal to have a 24/7 security operations center (SOC) to provide continuous monitoring so that they can prevent, detect, analyze, and respond to cybersecurity incidents. The key takeaway here is that SMBs can be lucrative targets for threat actors—even more so than enterprises—because SMBs aren’t often equipped with sufficient cybersecurity. In today’s tech landscape, cybersecurity is a valuable investment for SMBs that want to avoid becoming a victim of cyberattacks.

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