Cybersecurity is one of those topics that affects the majority of businesses in some form, but it’s something businesses are hesitant to talk about.
According to Mastercard, attacks on small businesses increased by 424% in 2020 and the issue is only growing as many invest further in digital systems.
A report from Fundera indicates:
• 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses
• Only 14% of small businesses rate their ability to mitigate cyber risks and attacks as highly effective
• 3 out of 4 small businesses say they don’t have the personnel to address IT security
• 54% of small businesses think they’re too small for a cyber attack
• Human error and system failure account for 52% of data security breaches
• Industry experts say a small business’s cyber security budget should be at least 3% of a company’s total spending
The business community is often reluctant to talk about it because as victims, there are feelings of shame and embarrassment as well as fears that their business might lose customers.
The truth is that business owners are required to be experts in everything from government legislation to marketing to construction projects and juggle all of those roles in any given day — yet they’re up against people who are dedicated to finding security breaches and exploiting them.
Typically, they’re after your data, whether to hold it ransom or steal it. Businesses and organizations that deal with large amounts of customer data, specifically in the government, retail and tech sectors, deal with the vast majority of attacks.
Even at a personal level, Statistics Canada found 42% of Canadians experienced some type of cyber security incident in the first few months of the pandemic.
Cyber security is a fundamental business issue right now. We’ve come to appreciate just how vulnerable our supply chain network is. An outbreak in a factory, a war on another continent, or a protest at a border crossing are all capable of grinding business down to a crawl. When you look at the statistics of just how prevalent cyber security incidents are and see how many businesses and organizations are involved in moving the goods and providing the services we rely on, there’s little doubt that someone in that network is either dealing with a cyber security incident or struggling with the fallout from one.
We’re encouraged to see our governments investing in helping our businesses thrive online through programs like Digital Main Street and the Canada Digital Adoption Program. Those investments are needed to move our economy ahead. But as our businesses move into new, uncharted waters, they need confidence that they’re going to be reasonable safe.
Cyber Security has been a common theme for chamber advocacy, including the Canadian and Ontario chambers of commerce who have been working hard to put this on the agenda for budget allocations and election platforms.