Why Most Businesses Neglect Cybersecurity (and How You Can Do Better)

Every business needs to have cybersecurity standards in place, but most businesses neglect this, either underinvesting in a cybersecurity strategy or ignoring the concept altogether. It doesn’t take much to be better than average, but you still need to proactively invest time and money into your cybersecurity strategy if you want to stay protected.

Why is this so important and why do so many businesses neglect it?

The Value of Cybersecurity

Investing in cybersecurity, like any investment, is designed to give you a positive long-term payoff. If you spend more time and money on your cybersecurity strategy, your business can enjoy benefits like the following:

Protection from cyberthreats. The biggest and most obvious benefit here is protection from cyberthreats. Malicious actors and opportunists can target your business in many ways, such as attempting to seize control of your systems to access valuable data or using ransomware to lock down your systems – only releasing them in exchange for a ransom fee. If your defensive capabilities are robustly protective enough, you shouldn’t have to worry about these types of threats.

Compliance with laws and regulations. Some businesses must adhere to minimum security standards to comply with laws and regulations that apply to them. If you’re responsible for safeguarding the data of your customers, you’re responsible for complying with baseline cybersecurity efforts.

Much lower overall costs. Generally, businesses that invest proactively in their cybersecurity end up spending less money than their counterparts. That’s because data breaches and the fallout from other security events can be extremely costly and complicated. If you can prevent or mitigate even one such attack, you’ll end up saving money in the long run.

A managed service provider in NYC can help you plan and execute a better cybersecurity strategy. From identifying your current weaknesses to deploying better systems and standards, you can rest assured that you’re in expert hands.

Why Most Businesses Neglect Cybersecurity

If planning a cybersecurity strategy is this easy, why don’t more business owners do it?

There are several possible explanations, such as:

They don’t take cybersecurity seriously. One issue is that some business owners don’t take cybersecurity seriously. They may not fully understand the ramifications of a data breach, or they may come from an era in business when technology was a secondary consideration. If they don’t value proactive cybersecurity, they’re not going to invest in it.

They don’t understand the risks. If you believe that you’re not a target, or if you think that being hacked is no big deal, you’re probably not going to invest in a security strategy. The average cost of a data breach in the U.S. is now $9.44 million, making it much more expensive than the average person would expect. On top of that, cybersecurity risk profiles don’t exactly align with our intuitions; while you might expect that big businesses are the most common targets of cyberattacks, due to their potential value, the reality is that small businesses are more frequent targets. That’s because small business owners are more likely to neglect elements of cybersecurity, thus making them more vulnerable to a successful attack. Also, you don’t have to be prominent or in the public eye to be a target; anyone can hypothetically be targeted.

They underestimate their value as a target. It’s tempting to think of cyberattacks as something that happens to other people, or other businesses. But you might be surprised to learn just how valuable you are as a target. A malicious actor could easily make thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars by attacking you – and attacking you would be trivially easy if you don’t have decent cybersecurity defenses in place.

They think IT can handle it. Historically, businesses have treated cybersecurity as an IT issue; they made their technology department handle everything, believing that a firewall and a VPN are good enough to prevent most attacks. While it’s certainly important to devise a cybersecurity strategy with your IT team, it’s also important to recognize that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility by everyone within your organization. Everyone needs to be acting in line with best practices.

They’re living in the past. Some business owners neglect cybersecurity simply because they’re not up to speed with current best practices. For example, for many years, security experts pushed users to change their passwords frequently. The belief was that changing your password frequently enough would prevent unauthorized login successes from people who have acquired your past passwords. But in reality, forcing users to change their passwords regularly resulted in password fatigue; users were much more likely to choose simple, intuitive passwords and store those passwords lazily. In other words, this security practice ended up making security weaker, so it was abandoned. Cybersecurity recommendations are always evolving, so it’s important to remain up-to-date with the latest standards and protocols.

As you can see, none of these are good excuses to neglect cybersecurity. Different businesses have different risk frameworks and different priorities, so it’s impossible to make general recommendations for how much you should spend or exactly which cybersecurity fundamentals are going to be most important to you. 

But it’s clear that every business should be working with cybersecurity experts to better understand those nuances and put together a cohesive strategy for protection.

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