Small Businesses Unprepared for Cyberattacks

Most U.S. small businesses are woefully unprepared for cyberattacks, a new survey finds.

The survey, from insurer Nationwide, found that most small-business owners (78 percent) still don’t have a cyberattack response plan, even though more than half (54 percent) were victim to at least one type of cyberattack.

A full 60 percent of those who did experience a cyberattack said it took longer than a month to recover.

By contrast, of those who have not encountered a cyberattack, more than half (57 percent) think their company could recover within a month.

And yet, business owners seem to be even less concerned about their unpreparedness than they were last year.

Nationwide said that 45 percent of small-business owners who do not have a cyberattack response plan in place said they don’t feel their company will be affected by a cyberattack.

Only 40 percent were this confident last year.

As they say, “denial is not a river in Egypt.” Indeed, for small business owners denial could lead to a very costly event.

On the plus side, the majority (68 percent) of business owners are at least somewhat concerned about a potential cyberattack affecting their business.

They (rightly) worry about these common attacks:

  1. Computer virus (37 percent)
  2. Phishing (20 percent)
  3. Trojan horse (15 percent)
  4. Hacking (11 percent)
  5. Unauthorized access to customer information (7 percent)
  6. Unauthorized access to company information (7 percent)
  7. Issues due to unpatched software (6 percent)
  8. Data breach (6 percent)
  9. Ransomware (4 percent)

So, what can business owners do?

One of the most effective defenses is 100% free: change passwords often, use hard-to-crack passwords (no birthdays or pet names) and don’t leave passwords written down on post-it notes, or taped under drawers.

There are also a ton of free (or cheap) anti-virus and anti-malware programs available. Maintaining your cybersecurity using off-the-shelf products takes very little time.

But for many business owners, the big issue in protecting their systems is time – or rather a lack thereof. For these busy souls, the answer is to hire someone. Usually, a trained professional can upgrade security to a basic level in just a few hours.

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