If you run or are responsible for the IT systems for a small business, you need to start taking cyber security more seriously. Every year we see unprecedented numbers of cyber-attacks, and hackers becoming more sophisticated than ever before. So if your current cyber-defences do not extend beyond anti-virus software and a firewall, you can be putting yourself at risk.
However, with so many dangers that we need to contend with, what is the best way to prepare your business for cyber-attacks to ensure that you are thoroughly prepared and safe? It is vital that you should invest in the service known as a penetration testing.
If you have never heard of penetration testing, it is a form of ethical hacking. During a penetration test, a cybersecurity professional will use the same techniques employed by a criminal hacker in an attempt to break down the defences of your business. If they are able to do so, they will provide you with details of how they managed to do it. Whereas in the event of a cyber-attack you could have data were stolen, or money was taken, the penetration test gives you the chance to rectify the issue before any criminals or hackers can do it to you.
There are four key reasons that small businesses need penetration more than others, so here we look at why it is vital for you to invest in skilled cybersecurity professionals to carry out penetration testing for you.
1. Small businesses are disproportionately targeted by cybercriminals
It is, unfortunately, the case that small businesses are more vulnerable to hackers and as such, they are disproportionately targeted. Statistics show that more than 43 percent of cyber-attacks are against small businesses. Moreover, there are a variety of reasons why this is the case. Your small businesses likely hold data that is just as valuable as any large business, and as a smaller business, you are less likely to have the option to spend significant money on cybersecurity. Given that this means that you are more likely to be targeted, it puts you in a position where penetration testing is vital.
2. It will save you money in the long-term
One of the primary reasons that small businesses do not have appropriate cybersecurity is they feel that it is too expensive to invest in. There is no doubt that putting money into cybersecurity services takes that cash away from the business, but it is vital that you should think of it as an investment rather than an expense.
Penetration tests are relatively inexpensive compared to the value that you will get from them – the idea is that they will save you money in the long term. If your business suffers any hack or attack it is likely to cost you a significant sum; the actual cost of paying a ransom or re-securing your security system is one thing, but the more relevant figure is the cost of losing the trust of your customers.
Additionally, penetration testing will guide you on how you allocate your cyber-security budget to make the best use of your money.
3. You need to be prepared for GDPR
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new piece of EU legislation that is designed to give more rights to customers of businesses. In effect, businesses are required to protect better the data they store. On the surface, it might appear that the GDPR is covered by merely changing your system and providing customers with more rights over their data that you have stored. However, it is true that cybersecurity and the new GDPR rules are interlinked.
It is the case that under the new regulations, businesses can be fined much more heavily for losing customer data. So having penetration testing carried out can ensure that you are better prepared for cyber-attacks and won’t be fined. You might assume that as a small business that you do not have to comply with the GDPR but this is something that will affect all businesses no matter how big or small.
4. Small businesses are likely to be ended by a cyber attack
There is a simple and sad fact that every small business owner needs to understand – your company likely won’t survive just one cyber-attack. More than 60 percent of small businesses that are hacked go out of business within six months. That is a genuinely stark figure, and it shows exactly how seriously you need to take your cyber defences.
If your business is not prepared for a cyber-attack when it occurs it will be more than just an inconvenience; it will likely lead to the end of the company that you have spent significant time and money creating. You need to do everything that you can to stop this from happening, and penetration testing is one of the most effective ways to ensure you are ready for any attack.