Business professionals know that, when it comes to making a profit, it's best to go where the money is. Whether that's finding the highest saturation of potential consumers or driving better advertising campaigns to bring traffic to a different location, a vast array of options exist in the corporate toolkit to assist with conversion and revenue.
Similarly, hackers know where the weakest links are and how to find them in a company. Small businesses tend to have weaker data security measures, so these entities are increasingly on the receiving end of attacks. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are not getting the message, apparently, because while the number of entites that are concerned about the risk of a breach is rising, there's no indication their protection strategies are improving to match the fear. Natural disasters pose a similar risk, but offsite storage and multiple backups are not being pursued as actively as they could be.
Preparing for eventualities
One of the big things a company might miss out on is the fact that not every outage is going to come from a hack or attack. Natural disasters are a leading cause of power and data loss, according to the Telegraph, but corporations may not take that into consideration when creating data protection solutions.
Wildfires in Colorado and tsunamis in Japan may seem like completely different events, but for the businesses in those areas, the lack of operations could stretch longer than it takes to rebuild or reopen the doors. Without server security and backup protections, client information and business records will be lost completely.
These outages aren't just devastating to the individual organizations alone. Retail Times reported that, when these businesses are part of a chain of suppliers, they can negatively impact sources at both the shipping and receiving end of the process.
Zurich's Weakest Link study found that nearly 90 percent of businesses had suffered some sort of choke in the supply line due to natural disasters and failed data protection practices that kept one or more links in the chain from successfully delivering goods and services. Both regular retail and big-box wholesale stores suffered from these outages, resulting in a loss between $5 million and $300 million by industry.
The range of financial damage is sprawling due to the reach of a single organization failing to secure information, thus being unable to process or receive any orders and shutting down the flow of goods. Increasing business continuity efforts could save businesses from loss in the event of a natural disaster, but while SMBs recognize the danger, they may still not take the initiative to protect themselves.
Finding a solution
A study by Hiscox stated that 40 percent of SMBs are lacking an Internet security suite that they feel comfortable with. A similar number are worried specifically about data breaches and phishing attacks, but one out of 10 don't know what kind of [protective measures are even in place at their organizations.
"Most small business owners simply do not believe they are at risk," said Lynn LaGram of The Hartford in an interview with the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel Online. "The reality is that small businesses are often more vulnerable – making them easier targets."