Very rarely can you go through a day without mentioning cybersecurity in the business field. Today’s hackers are becoming more sophisticated as they are coming up with new technologies to help infiltrate a company’s computer networks and servers. From stealing credit card information, performing identity theft, or simply holding the data as ransom hoping that the business pays large bucks for its release, businesses are feeling the urgent need to do something to address their network vulnerabilities.

While mega corporations are gaining the media spotlight whenever a breach occurs, it is actually the smaller businesses that are coming under increased fire from malware and spyware attacks. Unfortunately, small businesses are becoming the weak spot for cyberattacks. It was a HVAC company working for Target which lead to the recent hacking of POS stations in their stores, while a Florida hospital that is operated by the Advanced Care Hospitalists PL experienced a breach through a smaller hospital billing company.

Business Partnerships Becoming a Double Edge Sword for Cybersecurity

Due to larger companies investing heavily in network security technologies, hackers are looking for other access points into their data systems. They have turned to smaller businesses who have business partnerships with larger corporations as the ideal cover to create security breaches. Whenever a small business is contracted by a larger one, they are sharing large amounts of data and network access for that smaller business to perform its services.

In a State of SMB Cybersecurity report, about 14 million businesses had online security breaches from April 2016 up to April 2017, according to CNBC. Another startling fact is that only 2 percent of small business owners acknowledge that cybersecurity is a top priority for them, while 14% of small businesses would rate their existing cyber security methods as being highly effective to fight off cyber attacks and mitigate risks.

This immense gap of cybersecurity readiness has already caused significant damages to not only small businesses but also the large corporations that they work for on a short-term and long-term basis. Financial recovery from a cyberattack has risen since 2014, from $8,700 to over $20,000. In addition to the money that small businesses are shelling out for the attack itself, they are also paying exorbitant amounts to fines, lawsuits and compliance efforts after the security breach.

Problems Holding Back Small Business Cybersecurity Readiness

Yet even while knowing that cybersecurity breaches can occur to any size business, smaller operations still seem reluctant to take the necessary steps in safeguarding their network and online computer systems. The reasons for this lack of readiness has fallen into three specific categories:

  • Initial and continuing costs for adequate cybersecurity measures
  • The effort to develop and implement cybersecurity initiatives throughout their operations
  • Not fully understanding cybersecurity technologies or the reasons for implementation

Small business owners are more focused on bringing in profits and building their reputations with customers than they are toward protecting their data systems, or the data systems of partner companies. This circumstance has unfortunately created a dire predicament. About 60% of small businesses that have experienced a cyber-attack close their business doors for good within 6 months after that attack.

How Large Companies Can Step Up to Increase Small Business Cybersecurity

No business lives in a vacuum. Every one of them is connected in some fashion. Manufacturers, distributors, accounting, IT technicians, transportation and many other industries rely on each other for products and services so they can do business with other companies and with the general public. So finding a cybersecurity answer does not have to be left to smaller businesses. Large corporations can step up to the plate and offer solutions.

First, large corporations have to understand their small business partners’ existing cyber security measures, and what the main issues are that plague the business from reaching an adequate level of security protection. The five main security risks small businesses face are: employee negligence, not doing enough to successfully encrypt data, lack of security protocols for mobile devices, lack of automatic data backup and recovery procedures, and the failure to enforce existing data security policies.

Large corporations can help close the backdoors that lead to hacking activities by offering simple, modified cybersecurity solutions to smaller business partners. An enterprise security initiative can include education and training to smaller business employees regarding cybersecurity risks and strategies. Large corporations can also offer free VPN and private business-to-business computing systems that ensure secure connectivity between both companies as well as allow for more enhanced monitoring of data systems. In addition, large corporations can provide multi-factor authentication technologies as well as authorization technologies.

This cybersecurity collaboration can be the ideal workaround for large corporations to feel more secure when working with small businesses. It can also increase transparency regarding the internal cybersecurity protocols and technologies that small businesses already have in place. Lastly, this method will allow for small businesses to gain the knowledge and understanding of how to implement and maintain these technologies when it comes time to move on with their services to the next large corporate partnership.

I.S. Partners, LLC Providing Information Security Policies to Businesses

A small business owner may need some type of roadmap to get them started on the path to having comprehensive cybersecurity readiness. Here at I.S. partners, LLC, we are your internal audit, compliance and IT process improvement firm able to help you pinpoint gaps in your existing data security controls. We can also help you develop the IT security policies that you can use to stay in compliance and achieve your company’s computer network security goals. Contact our team members by sending us a message or calling us at 215-675-1400 to learn more on how we can make your database systems more secure.

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