If you are running a small business, you already know how busy you are. Entrepreneurship involves wearing many hats. You probably spend many hours planning your next moves so that you won’t be caught by surprise, whether it’s securing financing, writing a solid business plan or crafting a marketing campaign.
However, the element of surprise still has a place in your enterprise. One factor that catches many small-business owners off guard is cybersecurity. If you’re running a small business, you may think of cybersecurity as something only big companies need to worry about. After all, your customer base is much smaller than theirs, right? Unfortunately, small businesses are the most frequent targets of hackers. They often lack big corporations’ IT knowledge and expertise, and criminals know it.
No matter how small or large your company is, cybersecurity is essential. Here are five reasons you should make it a priority.
1. Your Company Stores Critical Information
You have records and data that you wouldn’t want the general public to get hold of, but without proper cyber attack prevention, a hacker could access it. You must protect financial records, business plans, stakeholder information and much more.
If someone steals your proprietary data, the criminal can use it to commit fraud or sell it to someone else.
2. You Have Personal Customer Information
It’s not only your data you need to protect. You also have a serious obligation to keep your customers’ personal information safe. You may have a lot of details from those who buy products or services from you, including:
- Credit card information
- Purchasing history
- Social Security numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- Medical records
If criminals gain access to customer information, they can sell it to others or use it to commit crimes against your patrons. They can access their bank accounts, use credit cards or commit identity theft.
3. Your Company Can Damage Its Reputation
Some of your most loyal customers might not hold a data breach against you. However, the chances are good that your company’s reputation will take a hit if it is the victim of a data breach. Consumers might not trust your company enough to do business with you, fearing that their data may be part of a subsequent breach.
Reports of a cyber attack can spread quickly. Whether the local news picks up the story, people share it on social media, or both, negative opinions of your business can get around fast. It can take a very long time to do damage control and restore your company’s reputation.
4. You Can Lose Money
A data breach can be financially devastating. There are several ways it can cause your company to lose lots of money. First, it can drive customers away. If they don’t feel they can trust your company with personal data, they may decide to take their business elsewhere.
The second way you can lose revenue through a data breach is by hackers stealing your assets. They can use ransomware to kidnap your information and make you pay them to give it back. They can also obtain your bank and credit card information.
Legal fees are the third way a cyber attack can cost you. You may have to compensate vendors or customers affected by the breach. You may need to pay for an investigation into the data compromise.
5. You May Face Downtime
Any hours you don’t spend on productivity can cause you to lose money. A cyber attack can take away time from your business. You may need to recover files, reach out to affected customers and vendors, and investigate how the data breach happened. These time-consuming tasks subtract from your ability to build your company.
Securing your company’s data can feel daunting. However, it is a crucial step. When you protect your files, you can rest assured that you have taken action to prevent an unwanted surprise from slowing down your company’s progress.