Many people assume hackers are just a problem for major businesses. They’ve been lulled into a sense of safety by Hollywood, which presents all hackers as super-criminals who are attempting to take over major companies. In reality, these criminals are much more likely to go after smaller – and easier – targets when they need money. It’s common for hackers to target small businesses, and for good reason. There are at least four factors that make small businesses very attractive targets, especially when those businesses don’t take the proper precautions to keep themselves safe.
As you might expect, the primary reason that hackers target small businesses is because those businesses are the most vulnerable. Small businesses exist at an interesting intersection, one at which they make use of a significant amount of technology but without the professionals on hand to take care of real problems. Small businesses have a tendency to leave a number of vulnerabilities open in their systems, all of which can be taken advantage of by a moderately skilled hacker who has a bit of extra time on his or her hands. This vulnerability is the number one reason why hackers choose to go after small businesses.
Hackers also target small businesses because it is lucrative to do so, especially when they find someone who doesn’t know what is going on. As a business owner, you probably don’t have a lot of time to figure out what the hacker has done to your systems. In fact, it might actually be cheaper for you to pay him or her than to deal with the problem on your own. Businesses are always much better targets than individuals, and businesses that don’t have the proper support are always the most likely to pay to get back to work.
Small businesses rarely have the kind of help on hand they need to deal with a hacker. It’s incredibly important that any business that relies on any kind of network has a cybersecurity specialist on call, if not on staff. Good cyber security services will usually be able to undo the damage done by a hacker quickly, allowing you to get back to work and frustrating future attempts by those who would do you harm. Unfortunately, though, many businesses wait until it’s too late to have this kind of help. As such, small businesses will generally be seen as easy targets to those with malice in mind.
Finally, small businesses are an easy target because it’s just so efficient to extort them. Put away all of your Hollywood ideas of hacking – the person going after your business isn’t sitting in a secret lair constantly poking at your security. He or she has written a program and distributed it to dozens of businesses just like yours – and the entire process is automated. Even if only one out of ten businesses actually pays out, the hacker has still made a spectacular payday for the amount of effort he or she has expended.
Remember, there’s always a good chance that your business will be targeted by a hacker. Your business is just one of many that are visible, profitable, and looks like it’s easy to hit. Your best defense will always be to stay one step ahead. Secure your systems and always make sure you have someone to help you with your cybersecurity issues. If you can exhibit that your business is protected, most hackers will leave you alone. Remember, these are crimes of opportunity – and as long as you don’t present that opportunity, you’ll be a bit safer.