Small business owners faced a record-breaking number of cyberattacks in 2023 but continued to report high levels of confidence in their ability to defend themselves against scammers, hackers and other bad actors.
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s (ITRC) recently published Business Impact Report, 73% of 551 surveyed small business owners encountered a cyberattack this year, the highest percentage in the report’s three-year lifespan and a 3% increase from 2022. These incidents resulted in a variety of consequences for respondents, including revenue losses (42%), erosion of trust among customers (32%) and more employee turnover (32%). However, 85% of the survey’s participants still said they were prepared to react to a cybercrime.
While this last data point indicates that small business owners are less prepared to handle digital threats than they believe, it also underlines the lack of resources available to the sector. A separate study published in 2018 by SCORE found that 43% of cyberattacks aimed at U.S. companies were directed towards small businesses. Speaking to Axios this April, Sohail Iqbal, chief information security officer at Veracode, explained that small businesses were “the neglected and underreported arena” in regard to cybercrime. “Financially motivated adversaries find SMBs a soft target due to the insufficient security controls and shortage of skilled resources at their disposal,” he added.
To improve their readiness against cyberattacks, small business owners should improve their understanding of digital security and, if possible, invest in an IT partnership. For those who do not require full-time support, freelancers with verifiable experience can be a perfect, budget-friendly alternative. The Federal Communications Commission also has a variety of tips and resources on its website to help small business owners protect themselves from digital threats, which you can read here.