Many small businesses (SMBs) assume that because they're relatively small, they're unlikely to be targets of cybersecurity attacks. While this may be the impression created by the extensive media coverage of attacks on large corporations, small businesses are, in fact, not only susceptible but a favorite target of bad actors. In fact, according to Verizon's 2019 Data Breach Investigation Report, 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses.
As a small business owner, it is not only your responsibility, but it’s in your best interest, to protect your private data. Ignoring this growing risk can be detrimental to your company. Rather, you should take every precaution you can to prevent such attacks. Here's what you need to know about data loss and why you should invest in protecting your small business from it.
Risks have never been greater
While it's important to take preventative measures to ensure your business' data isn't compromised in the first place, bad actors are always inventing new ways of infiltrating and compromising business networks and data stores. Due to this, business owners and IT teams will constantly be chasing the evolution of cyber attack technologies. It is inevitable the bad guys will get access to your data, encrypting it and holding it for ransom, corrupting it, or even wiping it out completely.
In the past, many SMBs chose not to invest in data loss protection software simply because the threat against smaller businesses was much less severe. Today, malware and data theft monetization strategies have made it easier to attack smaller companies. Additionally, because of limited resources and budgets, many SMBs simply don't have the defenses in place to protect them from the threat of cyber attacks. In other words, hackers no longer discriminate between large and small businesses.
Recognizing these threats is the first step to preventing your small business from data loss and ensuring when an incident occurs that you are able to quickly recover any lost or compromised data.
Consequences of data loss
While there are many obvious risks to a data loss incident, such as third parties gaining access to your customers' credit card numbers or your private company information, some consequences are more severe and long-term, especially when companies are unable to recover data. Here are a few consequences to consider:
1. Loss of revenue
Most cyber attackers share one main goal: making money. The term ransomware itself, refers to the fact that your own data will be held hostage by the hackers until you pay a ransom. If you're not protecting your data by keeping at least one backup, you may have to pay up in order to access your own customer lists, client files, and financial information. In some cases, even when you pay the ransom, your files can’t be decrypted and are lost forever. And the longer you go without access to your important data, like customer lists, client work files, and financial information, the more actual business revenue you will likely lose.
2. Distrust from customers
Customers and clients typically invest in those they trust. If your company experiences a cyber attack and your customers are negatively affected by it, you'll have to work that much harder to build trust with current and future customers. Some businesses never fully recover, and many go out of business entirely. Recovering data quickly and with minimal impact to customers is key to maintaining customer trust and confidence in your business.
3. Internal theft
Many SMBs overlook their own employees when evaluating malicious attackers. Because their business is on the smaller side, they assume they can trust the limited staff they employ. However, this isn't always the case. The fact is, not every employee leaves happy. And when an unhappy employee decides to delete a host of key business critical data and files, it can be even more disastrous than an anonymous cyber attacker. This is why it's crucial to have a backup plan in place to recover that data.
The word "lawsuit" alone is enough to make a business owner's stomach churn. Unfortunately, in the case of lost customer or product data, you might be faced with one (or multiple) lawsuits. It's your responsibility not only to keep customer data safe, but to be able to restore the information in the event of data loss. Additionally, backup and recovery protocols are often required to stay in compliance with national and industry regulations.
Four reasons why SMBs should use data loss protection tools
Security should be at the forefront of your priorities, and it doesn't have to break the bank. Still unsure whether you should invest in data loss protection? Here are four reasons to do so:
1. Protect sensitive data
Your business doesn't have to be a well-known corporation to have sensitive data worth protecting, like intellectual property and customer information. In fact, many attackers actually focus on smaller businesses because of their size, assuming they'll be easy targets. Deploying backup & recovery software will help to protect your important business data and allow you to get back up and running while you address the source and root cause of the data loss incident. Businesses that are unable to recover their data can experience days or even weeks of downtime due to lost or corrupted data. Many businesses ultimately never get their data back and end up shutting their doors entirely.
2. Comply with national and industry regulations
Regardless of size, all businesses must comply with national and industry regulations. Data loss protection technologies – such as cloud-based backup & recovery software - aid compliance by allowing your business to quickly recover confidential information.
3. Reduce threats to mobility
Many small business owners can't afford an office space or company equipment for each employee, committing to a remote work and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) arrangement. While this is a convenient money-saving tactic, especially for startups, it can also be risky. An increased risk of lost or stolen laptops can also mean an increased risk to the data that lives on them. To combat these risks, SMBs should use data loss protection solutions that regularly back up data and can recover it in the event of a lost or stolen device.
4. Protect valuable data during mergers and acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions are more common than many people think. With each merger and acquisition comes a risk of losing data as divergent systems are consolidated, as well as the risk of malfeasance or data deletion by disgruntled former employees. Furthermore, data loss is one of the biggest reasons why mergers and acquisitions fail. If you plan to grow your business through a merger or acquisition, you should be sure to invest in data loss protection.
Data loss protection for your business
So, you now likely understand the importance of data loss protection for organizations of all sorts and sizes. But which is the right tool for your business?
We recommend CrashPlan for Small Business for Small Business, easy-to-use, unlimited and automatic data loss protection, specifically for small businesses. For just $10 a month per computer, CrashPlan offers enterprise-grade data loss protection at small business prices. The software offers cloud-based backup and makes protecting files on your devices, including your file server and external hard drives, fast and easy.
Beyond data loss protection, CrashPlan offers unlimited backup, automatic and continuous protection, flexible scheduling, version retention configuration, military-grade AES-256 at-rest file encryption, customized deleted file retention, and CPU usage settings, and it is compatible with Mac, PC and Linux.
Additionally, CrashPlan has a dedicated support staff available by phone, chat and email, as well as online support documentation.
If you're on the fence about whether to invest in data loss protection, consider the impact a data loss incident might have on your business and its customers or clients. No matter how small your company might be, it's still on the radar for attackers across the board. Invest in a quality data loss protection program like CrashPlan so you can ensure compliance and protection with ease.