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3 Deadly Risks That Could Prevent Small Business Growth

 Even the largest and strongest organizational giants can fall.

Yet another David and Goliath story emerged recently. Hackers successfully penetrated Equifax’s most sensitive company data, due to a flaw in one of their web building applications, but this time Goliath retired and walked away with a $90 million paycheck.

Despite the forced retirement of CEO Richard Smith, the Equifax breach affected nearly 143 million Americans, ranging from social security numbers to credit card information being stolen.

Who would have guessed that simply checking your credit score could lead to losing your entire personal identity?

No one. That’s the problem.

It’s gotten to the point where almost every website wants some form of information about you and we’ve become willing to give it up without a second thought. Let this be a lesson to us all that we should tread lightly when giving away information online.

It’s pretty obvious why Equifax was a target for such a hack. It would be very easy to ignore it and just think “Hackers would never choose me. I’ve got nothing of value.”

Wrong.

Your small business is a prime target for cybercriminals, and here’s why.

Picking on the ‘Little Guy’

Many companies, especially small businesses, undervalue the information they possess. Even if you don’t have thousands of people’s credit card information you can still be targeted for an attack. Why? Because it’s easy.

According to Hemu Nigam, founder of SSP Blue, "Hackers love small businesses [because] they don't have the resources to put in high-end cybersecurity protection and they may not be consciously aware they are a target."

In fact, out of the 28 million small businesses in the United States, half have been breached within the last year. Just because your business is small, doesn’t mean hackers can’t take advantage of what little you have.

You Might be a Stepping Stone

Another prominent reason your business might be susceptible to a cyberattack is because of your B2B relationships. If you work with much larger companies to facilitate your product or service, hackers use you to get to them.

When your company data is breached, so is the information to all of your vendors and business relationships. From this point, it is much easier for hackers to gain access to the larger company’s data. All it takes is a weak link in security before everything comes crashing down.

The Rise of ‘Ransomware’

The final, most prevalent form of hacking regarding small businesses is ransomware. This occurs when hackers breach your system and hold your computer’s “hostage” until they are paid off. Ransomware is normally done through phishing scams. If only one of your employees fall victim, everyone else is also in danger. You might be right that hackers aren’t specifically targeting you, but these scams target a lot of businesses just like yours all at once. They don’t necessarily care if you’re on the receiving end or not.

Hackers do this on a massive scale because statistically speaking, it works. They know that small businesses will pay the ransom to bring their ‘zombie computers’ back to life again. The first step in thwarting these kind of attacks is knowing that you are the target. Once you get past the idea that no one would ever break into your computers, the sooner you can devise a plan to fend off a cyberattack. The Goliaths aren’t the only ones who can fall.

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