Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have had a rough go of it since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when many have been tasked with maintaining a strong cybersecurity posture while struggling to keep the doors open. Many have found ways to adapt to the constantly changing circumstances over the last year, but to some it has come at the cost of relaxed cybersecurity standards. In the modern era, this isn’t something that most businesses can afford to take a chance on, but many feel that they must take the risk.
It is also easy to understand why it’s so important to get this right. Even disregarding the immense reputational damage that data breaches cause, they are also incredibly financially expensive, even for small businesses. According to IBM in their 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach is somewhere in the ballpark of $3.5 million; but for organizations with less than 500 employees, that number only falls to $2.35 million. So, while SMBs already have a vastly inferior ability to respond to data breaches, the financial costs are also disproportionately high. This leaves SMBs in a tricky position where they have the most to lose (when the breach cost is adjusted to their organization size), and they also have the lowest capacity for preventing it from happening.
SMBs are juicy targets for cybercriminals for a variety of reasons, but one of the biggest is due to their lack of cybersecurity resources. Without the resources to build out an extensive cybersecurity program staffed by a dedicated security team; criminals see an opportunity to prey on an easy target, whether that be true or not. Organizations with fewer cybersecurity resources are less likely to be prepared to proactively head off cybersecurity threats, to rapidly detect them, or respond to them effectively when security incidents occur. That is why it’s important for SMBs to focus on implementing a strong cybersecurity baseline, with implementations of good “bang for the buck” controls that get you most of the way there.
While you might not be able to keep out APTs or state actors with a small cybersecurity budget, there’s a lot that can be done on a limited budget to drastically reduce risk and to protect your assets. There are many tools and settings that can be implemented for little to no cost that drastically increase your cybersecurity resilience, such as implementing multi-factor authentication, enforcing long complex passwords, conducting anti-phishing training, practicing the principle of least-privilege, and so much more. Many of these security controls are likely included in the software and operating systems already licensed to the business, requiring only configuration and maintenance going forward.
For SMBs with strapped cybersecurity budgets, it’s all about maximizing organizational efficiencies and prioritizing security objectives that give the best “return on investment” of cybersecurity performance. There are tools out there that can help track and manage performance improvement efforts, providing executive-level insights into measuring the cybersecurity performance of your organization. CnSight utilizes Cybersecurity Performance Indicators (CPIs) that track important metrics that align with organizational goals to measure progress on affecting cybersecurity performance goals.
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