Top 5 reasons why start-ups & SMEs need cyber security awareness & training

When it comes to cybersecurity education and training, many small businesses and startups assume that cybersecurity training is important for only large enterprises and well-established firms. However, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Undoubtedly, large enterprises are exposed to a host of security threats – but then so are small businesses and startups. In today’s hostile cyberspace, no business is safe.

Just like a large organisation, your small business or startup is also at an increased risk of exposure to modern cybersecurity threats. In fact, as a startup or small business means that you are likely to be operating with limited resources that can make your business more vulnerable to cybersecurity risks as compared to a large organisation having a multitude of security defense mechanisms in place. Many large businesses understand the importance of cybersecurity education and awareness and that’s why they spend heavily on developing IT training programs, to train their employees so they can protect themselves and the business from ever-emerging security threats.

While large corporations see cybersecurity training as a necessity, many small businesses and startups can see it as an unwanted expense. Overlooking the importance of spending on cybersecurity education can expose your business to a host of internal and external threats and will lower the chances of your business achieving sustainable growth and reaching solid profitability. A small business can quickly become a target for skilled cyber criminals if you have untrained staff and a lack of security defenses. Below are some common reasons why your small businesses or startup may be at risk of exposure.

  • Lack of cybersecurity educated staff members
  • Lack of cybersecurity funding and expertise
  • Lack of security defenses to protect critical data and essential systems
  • Security defenses are not maintained and updated regularly
  • Lack of cybersecurity aware culture within the workplace
  • Lack of appropriate security policies and protocols
  • Poor risk management policy and procedures
  • Endpoints lack effective protections

Top 5 reasons why start-ups & SMEs need cybersecurity awareness & training

Cybercrimes are up by 600% while on average, over 2,200 cyberattacks happen each day, which translates to nearly 1 cyberattack every 39 seconds! Are your business defenses effective enough to cope with the hugely increased rate of cybersecurity threats? Do you have the required in-house expertise to minimise business security risks and ensure business continuity in the event of a cybersecurity incident? Asking such questions can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your cybersecurity defenses. Here are the top 5 reasons why cybersecurity awareness and training are important for your small business or startup.

1- Employees are often the weakest link

All the external factors and threats aside – your workplace staff can expose you to a legion of cyber threats, putting your valuable data at risk and also endangering your whole system infrastructure and threatening the very existence of your business. Unaware of the digital threats, your employees can fall victim to sophisticated phishing scams, download malware into the organisation and risks can snowball from there. Unaware of the clever tactics used by cyber criminals, an employee is bound to make poor choices and the potential for a fatal mistake while handling sensitive data is ripe. This situation is exactly why experts blame 95% of successful cybersecurity breaches to be the caused by the human component. Your employees will lack the capability to make well-informed choices when it comes to identifying potential threats and risks. When it comes to cyber security, the day-to-day habits and the split-second choices a team member makes may amount to a critical security decision.  Investing in cybersecurity education programs will help you educate your employees and result in reducing the chances of a cunning  security attack putting your business at risk.

2- Cybercriminals want your data

Regardless of the size and nature of your business or startup, it is likely that you will have sensitive information that cybercriminals will seek to compromise in order to gain a quick benefit. Cybercriminals can infect your systems with ransomware that encrypts all your files, then demand a ransom in exchange for returning you access to your own data, they can blackmail you, misuse your data, and destroy the good reputation that you are trading off. As a business, you may have information such as customer names, phone numbers, addresses, emails, financial information, etc.; these can make your business a prime target for hackers. Cybersecurity education includes secure data handling and management practices that will enable your employees to actively improve data security and also minimise the security threats to your most sensitive data.

3- A cyberattack will put your whole business at risk

Experts report that as high as 60% of small businesses and startups find that they are not able to recover from a cyberattack and go out of business following an attack. To be clear, a cyberattack can mean the very end of your business or startup, lights out! Cybercriminals use modern attack vectors and powerful tools and advanced techniques, causing massive business disruption and damage to accomplish their malicious goals. As a small business or startup with limited resources, compared to larger business with a well-funded cybersecurity team, you are most vulnerable to modern cybersecurity threats. A well informed and security aware workforce is able to habitually identify potential threats to business continuity and security, and take effective steps to exclude or contain these threats and spare your business the potentially disastrous impacts.

4- You are an easy target

Cybercriminals are prepared to spend many hours researching and finding suitable targets, to identify those that offer attractive gains with lower risk to themselves. Small businesses and startups will pop-up on the radar of cybercriminals and hacktivist groups as easy targets due to the lack of advanced security defenses. While many large enterprises with access to modern security defense mechanisms are able to successfully ward off the malicious attacks of many cybercriminals, smaller businesses and startups automatically become a target for attackers as there are less challenges for them to overcome. Having a workforce that make security-conscious decisions will be to your ongoing advantage.

5- It can result in legal complications

Cyberattack on your business can mean losing trust in the eyes of your customers and investors, loss of good reputation, and potential business opportunities will be lost. In addition to these financial losses, your business may lose valuable data of employees and customers that can cause you problematic legal complications. Employees and customers may take legal action to reclaim damages, you may be required by law to pay substantial fines and there may be other legal consequences for your business or yourself. A well trained workforce will not allow such attacks to happen in the first place, thus avoiding the drama and expense of legal complications.

Investing in cybersecurity education and training can be an prudent investment for your business. A properly trained workforce is more aware of cybersecurity risks and makes security-conscious decisions that can ensure safety, business continuity and enhanced security. Contact us today to assist your organisation with improving your cyber security maturity.

 

 

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