When you hear the words “cyber-attack” most people will immediately associate it with large organisations such as Medibank, Telstra and Optus. So, it’s not surprising that with so many bigger targets, many small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) assume that they are safe from this crime. They believe that hackers won’t want to waste their time invading a small medical practice or accounting firm.

But the reality is that internet breaches affect companies of all statures. In fact, online intrusions of small and medium businesses and enterprises (SMBs, SMEs) in Australia are rising sharply. According to a Software Advice study, 4 in 10 of the country’s SMEs have been hacked since 2020. Data from Marsh Advantage Insurance showed that an incursion is reported in the nation every 10 minutes.

This trend is largely a result of complacency of small and medium business owners when it comes to cyber security. Such laxity is rooted in the following 5 myths, which we will dispel one-by-one.

“My business is too small to be a target. It won’t happen to me.”

No matter how big or small the business is, hackers don’t discriminate among their victims. Their goal, after all, is to break into as many systems as they can. Once they see a vulnerable target, they will strike it. A small but quick win is better than nothing at all. With this in mind, it’s important for businesses to acknowledge the reality that no one is immune to cyber-attacks.

“It’s too expensive. I don’t have the money.”

In September 2022, Marsh Advantage Insurance said that approximately 48% of Australian SMEs spend less than AUD $500 on cyber security services each year. But with so much at risk, why is cyber security not valued higher? The answer is that limited capital drives proprietors to prioritise keeping inventories stocked and paying shop rent over protection.

Scrimping on online safeguards, however, will cost them more in the long run. For instance:

Can your business afford to take the risk?

“I know a scam when I see one.”

Cyber-attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated, and it can be harder for individuals to distinguish a genuine email or website link from a scam. Content like emails, websites and applications may look legitimate and trustworthy, but if it’s not, it only takes one click for cyber criminals to gain access to workplace systems and sensitive information.

A phishing email, for instance, is designed to closely resemble one from a supplier or a customer. If the receiver does not recognise the email to be a scam and clicks a link, ransomware can be immediately released into their computer system and takes remote control over it. To reverse this, the cyber-criminal will generally demand a large sum of money.

Sadly, ransomware payments can drain SMEs’ finances to the point of bankruptcy. Owners might be forced to stop operations to recover stolen data and compensate customers. Additionally, they will have to deal with lawsuits, settlements, and penalties. The lack of profits and huge expenses can be devastating to an SMB.

“I have Antivirus Software — that’s all I need.”

Unfortunately, this is false. Many new viruses are created daily. Antivirus software engineers need to extensively study these before they can develop an effective program. By the time they come up with one, several new viruses have already been formed and let loose.

In addition, not all viruses infect personal computers. Some attack social media accounts and steal user information and antivirus software cannot stop these intrusions.

“They’ll never crack my complex password.”

Even the strongest passwords are no match against cyber criminals. For instance, some phishing scams involve emails disguised as those from genuine providers threatening cancellation of services if the customer does not provide personal information, including passcodes. It can be easy to mistake these as genuine and, before you know it, cyber criminals have stolen your data.

A keylogger attack is another way crooks obtain passwords. They install a keylogger program in victims’ computers, enabling them to monitor keystroke patterns. Using these structures, cyber criminals will learn your passwords without you even noticing. The best way to secure your sensitive information is to use Multi-Factor Authentication in addition to a password manager and complex password. As MFA requires two or three proofs of identity to grant access, and generally involves bio-metric security measures.

Can you afford to be complacent?

With cyber crime on the rise and so much to lose, the truth is that no business can afford not to have cyber security services. If your business was to suffer a cyber-attack, instead of dedicating your time and resources to growing your business, you may lose your assets, customers and corporate standing. Depending on your industry requirements, you may also face legal charges, fines and even possible imprisonment.

Investing in online protection, on the other hand, safeguards your valuable data from hackers. With peace of mind, you are able to focus on growing your business and instil customer trust that their data is secure. Your business may enjoy greater profits and continuity as a result.

Not sure how to get started?

Future IT Services have cyber security solutions to suit the needs of your business. We also offer a cyber awareness platform solution for SMBs to help educate your team on various aspects of internet security, including policy management and behavioural risks. Keep your business’ online defences as strong as possible and safe from hacks. Contact us and start protecting your business today.

Future IT Services provides small-to-medium sized businesses with excellent cyber security services and solutions. Click here to get in touch with us.