If you’re a small business owner, you may think that you’re less likely to be exploited by cyber attackers than big companies. However, that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, not only are the number of Cyber Attacks on Canadian small businesses on the rise, but small businesses are actually more vulnerable than bigger ones – 60% of small businesses fail within 6 months after a Cyber Attack.

Here are are 5 things you should watch out for when operating a small business in 2018.

1. Being small doesn’t make you a smaller target

This is by far one of the biggest misconceptions small business owners have when discussing Cybersecurity. We’ve heard this one too many times: “Why would hackers come after us? It’s not like we’re a big corporation”. The fact is, most hackers don’t care who they’re targeting. Unless they’re on some kind of mission, the vast majority of them go after the low-hanging fruit. And guess what? A lot of small businesses are pretty lax with their Information Security policies. Why? There isn’t really a specific reason that we know of – but our guess is that it’s probably because they either don’t have the time, or the budget to deal with the problem so they sweep it under the rug.

Don’t get trapped in the fallacy of thinking your business is safe because it is small. You should follow the same principles and standards as bigger companies do when it comes to protecting your customer’s data!

2. Our business uses the best <insert software> so we’re safe

Another big misconeption is that using an Antivirus and firewall is enough to protect you from Cyber Attacks. We’ve also heard things like “we use Mac so we’re safe” – again, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a number of factors that go into protecting networks which include pro-active Cybersecurity audits, having strong password policies, making sure your workers are educated and not storing company data on their personal devices to name a few.

A good Cybersecurity policy means being vigilant and pro-active at all times. It can mean added headache for business owners, but this is the cost of doing business in 2018.

3. Our business is in the cloud so we’re safe

Starting to sound like a broken record? Good! That’s because there is a common theme here that business owners consistently miss out on – and that is, when it comes to Cybersecurity, there is no magic pill. Being in the cloud doesn’t account for a hacker utlizing a compromised administrator account to go through and siphon off all your private customer information. It also doesn’t account for what happens if an employee goes rogue and deletes everything – you still need to have adequate backups stored in a separate data center, a separate cloud, or a separate somewhere.

Don’t let your data go up in a puff of smoke. Repeat after us: The cloud is not a backup. The cloud is not a backup. The cloud is not a backup!

4. That stuff only happens in the news

Here’s a news flash for you: The stuff hits the news because it’s happening to big companies – going back to point #1 of this article, you might think that you’re safe because you’re smaller – but the reality is, large companies tend to have lots of money, so think about this for a moment: if a large company throws a ton of money at the problem, and still gets hacked, in what way, shape or form does that present a lower risk for smaller companies with less money?

As a business owner it is your responsibility to make sure your customer’s data is protected. What’s worse, is that with new PIPA / PIPEDA laws  coming into place, small business owners are now responsible for reporting security breaches to the federal Government of Canada. They’re also at risk of paying upwards of a $100,000 fine for breaches of compliance – and let’s face it, that’s enough money to put most small businesses well, permanently out of business!

5. Cybersecurity is too expensive

This is a big one for a lot of small business owners – many of us are used to operating on a tight budget, and we all know what it’s like trying to prioritize our spending when cash flow is tight. But did you know that there are alternative IT solutions that are secure, fast and low-cost? Yes it is possible to have your Cybersecurity cake and eat it too – that’s why Perfect Leap offers a small business IT package starting at just $149 / month. If you’re interested in learning more, e-mail sales@perfectleap.com – we’d be happy to chat with you!

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