Just like any form of criminal activity, cyber crime continually evolves to fit the changing world around it, and criminals adapt so that they can continue to exploit weaknesses. Unlike other crime however, online crime is still a relatively new arena, and experts must constantly research and develop in order to counter the best efforts of the criminals. The stakes are just as high however, and cyber crime is one of the most lucrative criminal activities in the world, and therefore, as much as possible must be done to prevent it.
The technology available to stave off the attempts of cyber criminals to compromise Internet security gets better year on year. But, knowing that big businesses and tech savvy enterprises will invest in the best and most up to date online security money can buy, the criminals have shifted their focus. Instead of going for the big fish who lie protected behind security software, they have realised that they will have more success by targeting several small to medium businesses, who may not have such stringent security measures in place.
Only 43 percent of SMBs use spam filters online, and a shocking 6.3 percent take no precautionary measures at all. This is despite the fact that last year saw cyber crime rise by 46 percent, with the cost of such crime to the average targeted company in the US rising to $591,780. Further statistics on hacking and cyber crime can be viewed in Symantec’s report, split into a part 1 and part 2 in infographic form.
The reasoning behind this lack of security in SMBs is usually financial. But whilst this makes them the most vulnerable to attack, it also makes them the ones that will be hit hardest by any loss of revenue caused by such crime. In the UK alone last year, cyber criminals did £3.7 million worth of damage to SMBs, and many of these did not recover from the hit and had to cease trading.
Whilst Internet security may seem like a luxury cost to some smaller businesses, it is in fact an essential if you wish to stay afloat long term. As a key target it may only be a matter of time before your site is attacked, and the only way to ensure such an attack is fruitless is to employ online security, preferably in multiple layers. This will not only prevent cyber criminals accessing your information, or gaining entry to your systems, but it will also serve as a deterrent not to try in the first place. SMBs are being targeted as they are easy prey at present, but by putting barriers between your business and the criminals you make it harder for them.
Small to medium businesses have enough difficulties to face in the quest to make it big. By overlooking your Internet security you create another potential problem for your company, one that could cost you everything. Paying out on decent preventative measures could save you thousands in the long term and should be viewed as a necessity rather than a luxury for SMBs.