The Equifax data breach shook everyone. Personal information such as names, birth dates, social security numbers, and addresses, as well as driver’s license numbers of some consumers, were stolen. About 143 million U.S. consumers were affected in what is one of the biggest data breach attacks in history.
Equifax revealed that there was unauthorized access between mid-May and July. Hackers exploited a vulnerability in a web app to access the files. It’s not difficult to imagine the gravity of the situation, for a lot of sensitive information from about 143 million U.S. citizens was stolen. The Equifax data breach, therefore, is a reminder for all businesses to focus on security against data breaches – even more so if your business is small.
Why Small Businesses are most at risk of an Equifax data breach
You might think that since your business is small, it doesn’t face the threat of a data breach attack. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. There are many reasons why small businesses are more susceptible to a data breach attack.
1. Everyone has Sensitive Data
The data your business has might not be massive, but it is sensitive. All business servers have information such as employee payroll details, social security numbers, emails, phone numbers, etc. This information, in the wrong hands, could turn anyone’s world upside down.
2. Lack of Proper Staff Training
Since you think you don’t face the prospect of a data breach, you don’t train your staff in identifying and preventing data breach attacks. This can be a fatal error. You might save some money by not training the team, but when the breach happens, you lose a lot more.
3. No Layered Approach
Most businesses today identify the need for a security system to protect themselves. However, they don’t go for a layered approach. Layered security systems prevent the breach from making its way all the way to your sensitive data. The threat is blocked by one of the layers, which might include firewalls, antivirus software, DNS-level network monitoring, etc.
4. Tunnels to Bigger Companies
Small businesses interact with larger companies and can have access to their servers. So, hackers can use small businesses to get to the larger companies. Just read about the Target data breach, and you’ll know how this can happen. Therefore, small businesses are as much at risk for data breach attacks as larger businesses.
5. How Small Businesses Suffer More Damage?
When a data breach attack hits your business, everything can go down in the blink of an eye. This is because data breach attacks involve a lot of expenditure in the aftermath. You spend money investigating the attack. If you find the culprit, there’s money involved in the legal process as well. Your reputation takes a much stronger hit since news travels quickly, and your partners and customers will have second thoughts about working with you again. The downtime a business faces once a data breach attack occurs costs a lot, because you can’t make money, and the expenses keep piling up.
A data breach can cost on average $7000 for small businesses and up to $32000 for medium-sized companies. As you can see, a lack of proper attention to online security, especially against data breaches, can cost your business dearly. Don’t make the mistake to think that your company will not be targeted in this fashion. The Equifax data breach is an excellent example that this can happen to anyone.
A well-planned, layered, security system and the use of the best practices is the right way to fight data breach attacks. You should always make sure that your IT Company has a reliable, layered process that secures your IT infrastructure. If they don’t, this should be reason enough to start looking for an IT team that does.
Envision Consulting is one of the companies that is a good fit for businesses of all sizes. We are experts at helping clients plan and implement cybersecurity best practices to minimize the risk of suffering a business-crippling breach.
For more information on our cybersecurity services, contact us today.