15 Jul Why Security Testing Should Be a Priority for SMBs
Small and medium sized business are hot targets for cyber criminals. A growing number of SMBs are infected with ransomware, viruses, or harmed by data breaches.
Most SMB’s lack sufficient IT security and are too confident in thinking they’re not susceptible to cyber attacks.
A specialist can structure a security plan
SMB owners should consider Managed Security Services Providers (MSSPs) to address their IT vulnerabilities. It’s important to note an MSSP is not necessarily a Managed IT Solutions Provider (MSP).
An MSSP can offer high-level expertise on ways to improve your company’s cyber security weaknesses and better protect you from modern cyber attacks. An MSSP will start by performing security tests.
Security tests will challenge your company’s IT protection
Security tests assess your IT weaknesses related to employees and company processes. Testing will help determine specific IT security holes that can be patched in a more holistic security plan. A security test might include:
- Mock email phishing tests
- Employee security knowledge tests
- Mock ransomware tests
Why Security Testing Should be a Priority for SMBs:
1. Cyber criminals know SMB’s are easy prey
Half of US small businesses have been hacked in the past year. That’s 14 million companies. It’s gotten so bad the government has now intervened, calling it a “national crisis.”
It’s not a question of if your small business will face a cyber attack, but when.
Cyber criminals are targeting SMB’s more because they know they’re less protected. Their IT security protocols are often weaker (or non-existent) compared to large enterprises. The cyber criminal reels in a bigger catch by targeting the smaller fish.
Another part of the problem is small businesses are being sold inadequate IT security packages by their IT providers. The “affordable” and “lightweight” IT packages marketed towards SMB’s leave the business grossly under-protected.
Incorporating security testing into your IT security plan will help you prioritize how to improve your SMB’s security. An MSSP can help a business find a sufficient security package within their budget and make a security plan that will protect them against inevitable attacks.
2. A cyber attack can bankrupt your SMB
Over 70% of cyberattacks target small businesses and most occur in the first 6 months of operation. What’s worse is the most damage is done in a small business’s early stages. The US National Cyber Security Alliance found that 60% of SMBs need to close their doors 6 months after a cyber attack because of the recovery costs.
- The cost of recovery from a cyberattack for SMBs rises the longer it takes to detect the breach (averaging $86,500 as of 2016)
- The high costs of recovery can affect customer loyalty which usually leads to a loss in sales, as people begin to feel unprotected as your client.
If your MSSP assesses your cyber security defense, the solutions they offer may save your company thousands of dollars in recovery and repairs. But, considering the rate of attacks on young SMB’s, a security assessment may indirectly save your business from shutting down altogether.
3. Critical software security updates are hard to maintain
22% of SMBs say one of their biggest challenges is keeping technology and infrastructure updated. It’s difficult to keep track of which technology needs to be updated without proper inventory processes for hardware and software.
If your business lets technology updates slip through the cracks, you could be left with an even bigger problem: outdated, incompatible technology that opens security risks.
Updates are necessary to patch up security holes that malware sneaks through. System upgrades happen so frequently because new threats always arise.
Regular security testing will help you keep your business technology up to the latest version. This will ensure no cyber criminals can weasel in your system because of incompatible technology.
4. Previous employees can exploit accounts
About 89% of ex-employees retain access to at least one account from their previous employer. What does this mean for your company security?
For one, previous employees with a grudge could threaten your finances (24% of ex-employees from the survey above retained access to PayPal accounts).
Security testing ensures the necessary accounts are disabled and data is secure. The next step after security testing is developing a process to handle terminated employee data and accounts. Have your HR department maintain a checklist of IT fundamentals to safeguard your company information whenever onboarding or offboarding employees.
5. Cyber criminals can manipulate current employees
Current employees serve as a threat because of their overly confident outlook towards IT security threats.
Phishing and social engineering take advantage of the human factor and trick your employees into voluntarily giving up data when they think they are following through with a genuine request.
Employees might unwittingly give cyber criminals:
- Shared access to company files
- Employee W-2 information
- Money transfers from client accounts
Security testing will help challenge and track your employees’ ability to identify and handle malicious emails that can threaten your company data.
The growing role of MSSPs in the lives of SMBs
⅓ of US SMBs has no formal IT training process for their employees. As malicious attacks on SMBs rises, so does small to medium sized business’ demand for IT security services.
Small businesses need the expertise of MSSPs to assess their company’s cyber weaknesses so that they can build a defense against relentless cyber crime.
MSSPs will offer in-depth security solutions that align with your company goals and budget. They also will serve as your company’s IT security monitors, giving you round the clock monitoring and protection, as well as expert advice on-demand.
It seems MSSPs will play a pivotal role in your company’s IT security, so long as the cyber crime rate keeps escalating.