SMB Security: Why Would Someone Want to Attack my Small Business?

Worried businessman sits at computer in office, worrying about how to improve his SMB security.

You know what they say about assumptions… they’re bad for business. And one of the worst assumptions is that small businesses are immune from cyberattacks, thus rendering SMB security unnecessary. It’s a common enough belief: after all, wouldn’t a hacker prefer to go after a big business? Larger companies have more money and files to exploit—which also means they tend to spend more on their cybersecurity, unlike smaller businesses who don’t fear attacks, and for that reason don’t… oh. 

See what we said about assumptions? This one could land your business in hot water! Cybercriminals attack companies of all sizes, and in recent years, their attacks on SMBs have steadily increased. So today, we’re debunking a dangerous assumption and showing you why your SMB isn’t as safe as you think it is.  

Here are 3 reasons why SMB security is important (and why SMBs are a prime target for cyberattacks): 

1. Compared to Bigger Businesses, SMBs are Less Protected 

There’s no reason why an SMB should have less protections than a bigger business. However, because of the aforementioned “we won’t get hit” assumption, many SMBs don’t put in the time or money to protect themselves. In the cybercriminal world, opportunity is all about easy access—if a criminal learns of a heavily protected company that’s worth billions and an unprotected company worth millions, he’ll target the millions. 

Don’t let baseless conjecture steer your company’s cybersecurity policies. A company without cybersecurity culture is waiting to get hacked. And a hacked SMB, more times than not, won’t stay in business much longer.  

2. SMBs are More Likely to Pay 

We’ve already talked about why paying ransomware isn’t a good idea, but if a company doesn’t have good cybersecurity posture, there’s a chance they don’t have backups or cloud hosting, either. And if they don’t have backups or cloud hosting, paying a hacker might be the only way to get their files back. Thus, an SMB might be attacked simply because the hacker knows they’ll pay up. Like with the earlier billion versus million example, it makes more sense for a hacker to go after a sure thing. And if they know you’re going to pay, there’s a good chance you’re going to get attacked.   

3. Lack of SMB Security Creates a Stepping Stone Toward a Larger Company 

Ok, so we keep saying that a hacker will attack an unsecured business over a secure business nine times out of ten. However, since hackers are all about opportunity, they probably won’t stop with one business; if they can get money from both companies, what’s stopping them?  

Pretend you’re in front of two doors. Behind Door One is $1000, and behind Door 2 is $10000. Door One is unlocked and wide open, but Door 2 is surrounded by chains, snakes, and creepy spiders. Do you enter the first room, or the second one? If you’re a hacker, chances are you’ll enter the first room, crack through the dividing wall, and make off with money from both rooms. In a similar vein, an unprotected SMB can serve as an entryway to a larger company. For instance, say an SMB works with a high-profile vendor; if a hacker infiltrates this SMB, they’ll have easier access to that vendor, too. Thus, a hacker might attack your SMB in order to attack another company. In this situation, not only is your company in trouble, but your partner’s in trouble, too.  

It would be great if SMBs weren’t a cyberattack target—unfortunately, that’s just not the case. And acting like you’re not at risk is a surefire way to be more at risk. If you want to protect your SMB, you should treat it like any other company that needs protecting. Instill a culture of cybersecurity, train your employees, and never assume you’re safe from attack. Instead of assuming, start assessing: where is your cybersecurity posture lacking? And what can you do to make it stronger? 

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