Are Small Business Owners Protecting Themselves from Cyber Attack?

By The Manta Team - March 16, 2017

Are Small Business Owners Protecting Themselves from Cyber Attack?

Hackers are increasingly targeting small businesses, but few owners believe they are at risk of attack.

Small businesses are the newest targets for hackers, given their size, lack of skilled staff and minimal funds devoted to data defense. How vulnerable are small business owners are to cyberattacks? Manta conducted a poll to gauge the risk and determine how you can safeguard your company from cyberattack.

Cyber Security Hackers Small Business Data Breach

When asked if they felt their business was at risk of experiencing a data breach, an overwhelming 87% of small business owners said they do not feel at risk. However, another 12% revealed that their small business has experienced a cyberattack in the past.

Any data breach, regardless of how small, is a real threat to a small business, which is why prevention tactics are essential.

“We had it happen many years ago. It was extremely unfortunate because passwords were accessed,” said Holly Jo Anderson, CEO and
founder of Veritas Marketing, reflecting on a data breach her company suffered. “As a result, we now use a password encryption program called Password Safe.”

While Anderson is only one example of a small business owner who has experienced a cyberattack, her post-breach implementation of IT security controls shows that she understands how crucial it is to take action.

That said, only 69% of small business owners have controls in place to prevent hacks—meaning 1 in 3 small business owners have no safeguards in place.

Of the small business owners who have IT security controls in place, the most frequently cited tactic was antivirus software, which is used by 17% of respondents. Here is the full breakdown of precautions taken by small businesses for data defense:Cyber Security Small Business Protects from Hackers

  • Antivirus software: 17%
  • Firewalls: 16%
  • Anti-malware software: 14%
  • Spam filters: 14%
  • Regular vulnerability scans: 12%
  • Automated software updates: 11%
  • Data encryption: 10%
  • Outsourced security operations: 6%

For George Tartar, CEO and founder of Akruto, a cloud-sync software small business, antivirus software is at the center of his company’s security prevention plan.

“We have antivirus software on every device used to access the internet,” Tartar said. “Securing our business-related accounts with a two-factor authentication is our usual practice to not let anybody gain access to our business information.”

Owners were also asked about their electronic device policies to broaden the security picture. Most small business employers (70%) do not allow employees to use personal devices for work purposes, and 65% of owners do not offer a BYOD (bring your own device) policy to workers.

Tartar, however, defies this statistic and embraces the BYOD trend at his small business. “Our employees use their personal gadgets for work purposes. Mainly to work with social networks and some other marketing-related services,” he said.

Overall, with the growth in hackers targeting small businesses, owners should invest more heavily in cyber defense to prevent attacks, which can often be more crippling for a small business than a large corporation.

To learn more, watch Manta’s free video classes about “Data Security.”

Poll methodology: Manta surveyed 1,420 small business owners via onsite poll between March 3 and March 6, 2017. The margin of error is +/- 2.6 percentage points.