Posted on July 23, 2020 at 9:31 AM
As people have become more aware about the importance of cybersecurity, more small businesses and even independent entrepreneurs are taking the necessary steps to protect themselves online. This is something we touched on recently a post asking ‘What Types of SSL Certificate Should Small Business Websites Buy?’ Just as we pointed out in that post, any online business or ecommerce platform needs to secure its data. Even the smaller ones.
For plenty of internet-savvy business owners, this is a perfectly logical assertion. For those who might wonder why, specifically, they should invest in protecting their data, we have a few reasons to consider.
1 – Small Businesses Are Most Vulnerable
First, we’ll turn to statistics. When Entrepreneur wrote about data security, the piece made it clear that small businesses “suffer the most.” This is not a measure of the volume of attacks or data breaches involving small businesses, but rather a comment on how damaging an attack can be.
As of 2019, that article asserted, the average cost of a cyber attack was $200,000 (USD). That can be factored in as a cost of doing business for a company of a certain (very large) size. For a small business or independent operator though, $200,000 can be a crippling cost. For this reason alone, it’s essential today for small businesses to do what they can to protect their data in advance.
2 – Hackers Target Small Businesses
While the main reason that small businesses are vulnerable is that they can’t often manage the cost of a real attack, it’s also true that hackers have taken to targeting SMEs more often. In the past, smaller companies didn’t make for popular targets simply because they weren’t on hackers’ radar. But Inc.’s examination of hacking targets pointed out that this changed over the course of the last decade. Now, hackers often target small businesses precisely because they’re less likely to be protected by robust cybersecurity. This doesn’t mean large businesses aren’t attacked. But the assumption now appears to be that larger companies will have tighter protection, whereas smaller companies might be unprotected.
3 – Small Business Data Drives Marketing
When we hear about data breaches or cyber hacks, it’s often personal and financial information that comes to mind. These are valid areas of concern, and this information needs to be protected. But internal company data is also particularly important for small business marketing efforts these days.
In Ayima Kickstart’s rundown of digital marketing for startups specifically, the main idea conveyed is that modern marketing depends on strategy. A business needs to optimise its content, understand its target audience, and develop specific strategies. These are simple necessities for growth in the modern online economy, and in the end it all depends on data. Without data, a company cannot conduct the analysis and gather the understanding relevant to these efforts. And without proper security, a company can’t depend upon that data.
4 – Customers Expect Security
As our final point, we’ll also mention that customers today expect data security. If a company for whatever reason doesn’t handle any customer data directly, this might not be a concern. More and more though, companies are storing information relating to their customers (be it personal, financial, location-related, or otherwise). It is therefore these companies’ responsibility to protect that data on behalf of their customers. Doing so will help companies to avoid potentially disastrous damage to their reputations in the event of an attempted hack. And for that matter, advertising strong data security might just help to attract a few more customers as well.
For these reasons, in addition to the basic need for protection, small businesses need to strive to protect their data online.