Cybersecurity for Small Businesses: How to Protect Your Future


Cybersecurity is of paramount importance for small businesses today. With the rise of cyber threats and the potential risks they pose to sensitive data and operations, implementing robust security measures is crucial.

But how are small businesses able to navigate the complex world of cybersecurity? In this post we talk about understanding the significance of a business VPN and cybersecurity solutions, we explore the benefits of SWG and the emergence of the cybersecurity experience platform.

Let’s dive in and ensure your business stays secure in the digital realm.

The Importance of Cybersecurity for Small Businesses 

The importance of cybersecurity for small businesses cannot be overstated. In today’s digital world, small businesses face a multitude of cyber threats that can have devastating consequences if not properly addressed.

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), conducting a thorough risk assessment is crucial for understanding vulnerabilities and potential areas of weakness. Identifying critical assets and the potential impact of cyber threats helps businesses prioritize their security measures effectively. 

Additionally, Kaspersky, a leading cybersecurity resource, highlights the various risks small businesses face, including malware, phishing attacks, ransomware, and data breaches. These threats can lead to financial losses, reputational damage, and even business closure.

Therefore, small businesses must recognize the necessity of investing in cybersecurity solutions to protect their operations, safeguard sensitive data, and maintain customer trust.

Are Small Businesses Really at Risk?

Common cyberattacks, such as social engineering attacks and denial-of-service attacks, pose significant risks to SMBs. Implementing strong passwords, up-to-date antivirus software, and cybersecurity best practices are essential steps to protect against cyber threats.

Small business owners need to be aware of the risks they face and take proactive measures to enhance their cybersecurity. Failure to prioritize cybersecurity can leave vulnerabilities open for hackers to exploit, potentially leading to devastating consequences.

While cybercrime is evolving, so are cybersecurity solutions. By following best practices and staying vigilant, small businesses can better protect their digital assets and navigate the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape.

Small Business Cybersecurity Stats You Need to Know

Despite the belief that hackers only go after larger companies, small businesses are seen as easier targets due to weaker security measures and a lack of financial preparedness. 

Here are some alarming statistics for small business cybersecurity in 2023:

  1. 46% of all cyber breaches impact businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees (Verizon)
  2. 61% of SMBs were the target of a cyberattack in 2021 (Verizon)
  3. Malware is the most common type of cyberattack against small businesses, accounting for 18% of attacks (Quickbooks).
  4. 82% of ransomware attacks in 2021 targeted companies with fewer than 1,000 employees (Coveware).
  5. 37% of companies hit by ransomware had fewer than 100 employees (Coveware).
  6. Small businesses receive malicious emails at a rate of one in 323 (Broadcom).
  7. Employees of small businesses experience 350% more social engineering attacks than those at larger enterprises (Barracuda).
  8. 87% of small businesses have customer data that could be compromised in an attack (
  9. 27% of small businesses with no cybersecurity protections collect customers’ credit card information (

The cost of cyberattacks for small businesses is also significant:

  1. 55% of people in the U.S. would be less likely to continue doing business with breached companies (CNBC).
  2. 95% of cybersecurity incidents at SMBs cost between $826 and $653,587 (Verizon).
  3. 50% of SMBs report that it took 24 hours or longer to recover from an attack (Cision).
  4. 51% of small businesses said their website was down for 8-24 hours following an attack (UpCity).
  5. In 2020, there were over 700,000 attacks against small businesses, resulting in $2.8 billion in damages (SBA).
  6. Nearly 40% of small businesses reported losing crucial data due to an attack (Cision).
  7. 51% of small businesses that fall victim to ransomware end up paying the ransom (CNBC).
  8. 75% of SMBs could not continue operating if hit with ransomware (CNBC).
  9. Only 17% of small businesses have cyber insurance (AdvisorSmith).
  10. 48% of companies with insurance did not purchase it until after an attack (AdvisorSmith).
  11. 64% of all small businesses are not familiar with cyber insurance (AdvisorSmith).

Small businesses also face challenges in cybersecurity preparedness:

  1. 47% of businesses with fewer than 50 employees have no cybersecurity budget (CRII).
  2. 51% of small businesses have no cybersecurity measures in place at all (
  3. 36% of small businesses are “not at all concerned” about cyberattacks (
  4. 59% of small business owners with no cybersecurity measures believe their business is too small to be attacked (
  5. Only 17% of small businesses encrypt data (AdvisorSmith).
  6. 20% of small businesses have implemented multi-factor authentication (AdvisorSmith).
  7. One-third of small businesses with 50 or fewer employees rely on free, consumer-grade cybersecurity solutions (Cision).
  8. 76% of small businesses that increased cybersecurity spending cited rising fear of new threats (CVII).

These statistics highlight the importance of small businesses prioritizing cybersecurity and implementing robust measures to protect themselves from cyberattacks. Taking steps such as investing in cybersecurity tools, educating employees, and obtaining cyber insurance can significantly reduce the risk and potential damage caused by cyber threats.

Common Threats in Cybersecurity for Small Businesses

Understanding common threats is crucial for small business owners to protect their sensitive data, financial resources, and reputation. Below is a list of some of the most commonplace threats to SMBs:

1. Malware

Malware is malicious software designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to computer systems. It can infiltrate small business networks through infected email attachments, compromised websites, or malicious downloads. Once installed, malware can execute various harmful activities, such as stealing sensitive information, disabling security measures, or encrypting data for ransom.

2. Viruses

Viruses are a specific type of malware.  They spread by attaching themselves to legitimate files or programs. When infected files are opened or executed, viruses can replicate and spread throughout the network, causing damage to files, corrupting data, or even rendering systems inoperable. Small businesses should employ robust antivirus software to detect and remove viruses, along with educating employees about safe browsing habits.

3. Ransomware

Ransomware is also a type of malware.  It encrypts a business’s critical data, rendering it inaccessible until a ransom is paid to the attacker. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to ransomware due to their limited resources and cybersecurity infrastructure. Regular data backups, strong security measures, and employee training on phishing and suspicious email attachments are essential to mitigate the risk of ransomware attacks.

4. Spyware

Spyware is designed to gather information about a user’s activities without their knowledge or consent. It can monitor keystrokes, track online behavior, capture login credentials, or record sensitive data. Small businesses should implement robust antivirus software and regularly scan their systems for spyware to protect against data breaches and unauthorized access to confidential information.

5. Phishing

Phishing usually involves cybercriminals tricking individuals into revealing sensitive or private information or performing actions that compromise security. Small businesses are often targeted through phishing emails that appear legitimate but contain malicious links or attachments.

It is crucial for employees to exercise caution, verify sender authenticity, and refrain from clicking on suspicious links or providing sensitive information without proper verification.

6. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)

APTs are sophisticated and prolonged cyber-attacks in which attackers gain unauthorized access to a small business network, remaining undetected for an extended period. These threats are often aimed at stealing valuable intellectual property, financial information, or customer data.

Protecting against APTs requires implementing advanced security measures, conducting regular network assessments, and staying vigilant for any suspicious network activity.

7. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks

DDoS attacks aim to overwhelm a small business’s network or website with a flood of incoming traffic, rendering it inaccessible to legitimate users. These attacks will disrupt business operations, impact customer trust, and potentially result in financial losses.

Small businesses should consider using DDoS mitigation services, implementing network monitoring tools, and creating incident response plans to minimize the impact of DDoS attacks.

8. Insider Attacks

Inside attacks occur when authorized individuals within a small business misuse their access privileges to compromise the security of the organization. These attacks can result from disgruntled employees, negligent behavior, or compromised user accounts.

Implementing strong access controls, conducting background checks, and monitoring user activities can help detect and prevent insider attacks.

9. Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks

MitM attacks involve intercepting and altering communications between two specific parties without their knowledge. Attackers can eavesdrop on sensitive information, modify data, or inject malicious content into the communication flow. Small businesses should employ encryption protocols, use secure communication channels, and educate employees about the risks of unsecured public networks to mitigate the risk of MitM attacks.

10. Password Attacks

Password attacks aim to gain unauthorized access to small business systems or accounts by exploiting weak or stolen passwords. Techniques such as brute-force attacks, dictionary attacks, or password-cracking tools are used to guess or decrypt passwords.

To enhance password security, small businesses should enforce strong password policies, implement multi-factor authentication, and educate employees about creating and protecting robust passwords.

11. SQL Injection Attacks

SQL injection attacks target web applications that rely on SQL databases. Attackers exploit vulnerabilities in the application’s input fields to inject malicious SQL commands, gaining unauthorized access to databases or manipulating the application’s behavior.

Regularly updating and patching software, conducting security audits, and implementing secure coding practices are essential to prevent SQL injection attacks.

12. Zero-Day Attacks

Zero-day attacks specifically target vulnerabilities in software or systems unknown to the software developers or vendors. Attackers exploit these vulnerabilities before a patch or fix is available, making them difficult to detect and defend against.

Small businesses should stay informed about security updates, employ intrusion detection systems, and maintain strong network security measures to minimize the risk of zero-day attacks.

By understanding these common threats and implementing appropriate cybersecurity measures, small businesses can significantly reduce their vulnerability and protect themselves against potential cyberattacks.

The Different Roles in Cybersecurity Protection

In the realm of cybersecurity protection, various roles play a crucial part in safeguarding organizations against ever-evolving threats. By understanding the significance of each role, organizations can better navigate the complex landscape of cybersecurity and fortify their defenses. Here are the top three roles responsible for safeguarding against cyber-attacks:


The CEO plays a crucial role in establishing a culture of security within the organization. He or she should communicate and emphasize the importance of cybersecurity to the entire organization, set security objectives aligned with business goals, select and support the Security Program Manager.

They’re also in charge of reviewing and approving the Incident Response Plan (IRP), participating in tabletop exercise drills (TTXs), and supporting the IT leaders in implementing security measures.

The Security Program Manager

The Security Program Manager is responsible for driving the elements of the security program. He or she should ensure that all staff receive formal security training, develop and maintain the Incident Response Plan (IRP), host tabletop exercises (TTXs) to simulate attack scenarios, and ensure compliance with multi-factor authentication (MFA).

IT Lead

The IT Lead and staff have several important tasks to protect the organization’s cybersecurity. These include mandating and verifying MFA usage, ensuring patching of software and systems, performing and testing backups, removing administrator privileges from user laptops, and enabling disk encryption for laptops.

Cyber Attack Prevention Best Practices

By implementing best practices, businesses can significantly reduce their vulnerability to cyber threats. Below is a list of the top 16 preventive measures to strengthen defenses against attacks:

1. Employee Training

By fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness, organizations can empower their workforce to recognize and mitigate potential threats effectively.

2. Cyber-Attack Protection for Data, Computers, and Networks

Employing robust security measures, such as anti-malware software, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems, ensures comprehensive protection for critical data, computers, and networks. Regular security audits and vulnerability assessments are also essential.

3. Firewall Security for All Internet Connections

Implementing firewalls as a first line of defense helps safeguard networks from unauthorized access and malicious activities. It acts as a barrier between internal systems and external threats, effectively filtering incoming and outgoing network traffic.

4. Mobile Device Policy

Establishing a comprehensive mobile device policy that includes secure configurations, encryption, strong authentication, and regular updates helps mitigate risks associated with mobile devices. This policy should also cover the secure use of personal devices in a professional setting.

5. Data Backups

Organizations should implement robust backup strategies, including off-site storage and periodic testing of data restoration procedures.

6. Physical Access Control

Limiting physical access to sensitive areas, such as server rooms or data centers, helps prevent unauthorized tampering or theft of critical infrastructure. Implementing access controls, surveillance systems, and visitor management protocols enhances physical security.

7. Wi-Fi Network Security

Securing Wi-Fi networks with strong encryption (such as WPA2 or WPA3), unique and complex passwords, and regularly updating router firmware reduces the risk of unauthorized access and potential data breaches.

8. Use Secure Payment Methods

Using encrypted transactions and reputable payment processors for example, helps protect sensitive customer information from being compromised during financial transactions.

9. Limit Employee Access to Information

Implementing the principle of least privilege ensures that employees have access only to the information necessary for their roles. This reduces the risk of unauthorized access and minimizes the potential damage caused by insider threats.

10. Strong Passwords

Enforcing strong password policies, including complex passwords, regular password changes, and multi-factor authentication, adds an additional layer of protection against unauthorized access to accounts and systems.

11. Secure Authentication Methods

Implementing secure authentication methods, such as biometric authentication or hardware tokens, strengthens user identity verification and reduces the risk of unauthorized access.

12. Cloud Service Provider (CSP) Account Monitoring

Organizations utilizing cloud services should regularly monitor their CSP accounts, review access privileges, and implement proper configurations to ensure the security of cloud-hosted data and applications.

13. Risk Assessment Planning

Conducting regular risk assessments helps identify potential vulnerabilities, threats, and weaknesses in an organization’s security posture. This enables proactive mitigation strategies and resource allocation based on identified risks.

14. Regular Software Updates

Keeping software, operating systems, and applications up to date with the latest security patches and bug fixes is crucial in preventing known vulnerabilities from being exploited by attackers.

15. Data Encryption

Encrypting sensitive data both in transit and at rest provides an additional layer of protection against unauthorized access or interception. Robust encryption algorithms and secure key management should be implemented.

16. Third-Party Security

Establishing and enforcing strict security requirements for third-party vendors or partners helps mitigate the risks associated with sharing data, systems, or services. Regular audits and due diligence ensure compliance with security standards.

By implementing these best practices, organizations can significantly enhance their cyber-attack prevention strategies and minimize the potential impact of security incidents.

Secure Your Small Business Data with Perimeter 81

In our increasingly digitized, interconnected workplace, small businesses face a growing threat landscape when it comes to cybersecurity. However, by prioritizing the implementation of robust security measures, fostering a culture of awareness, and staying vigilant, small businesses can effectively protect their valuable assets from cyber-attacks.

From employee training to strong passwords, regular software updates, and secure authentication methods, each best practice plays a crucial role in fortifying defenses and mitigating risks.

By investing in cybersecurity and adopting these preventive measures, small businesses can safeguard their operations, customer trust, and long-term success in the digital age. Unlock Perimeter81’s VPN and Cloud Security services, and schedule a demo today.


What do small businesses need in cybersecurity? 
Small businesses need a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy to protect their digital assets and sensitive information. This includes measures such as:

– Robust firewall and network security to defend against unauthorized access.
– Regular software updates and patch management to address vulnerabilities.
– Employee training and awareness programs to promote a culture of security.
– Secure authentication methods, strong passwords, and access controls to prevent unauthorized entry.
– Data encryption to safeguard sensitive information.
– Backup and recovery solutions to ensure data availability in case of incidents.
– Regular security assessments and audits to identify vulnerabilities and gaps.
How much does cybersecurity cost for small businesses?
The cost of cybersecurity for small businesses can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the business, the complexity of the IT infrastructure, the industry, and the desired level of security.

While some security measures can be implemented at a relatively low cost, such as employee training and secure authentication methods, others, like advanced network security systems or hiring dedicated cybersecurity professionals, may require a more significant investment.

It is important for small businesses to consider the potential financial and reputational damage caused by cyber-attacks and allocate an appropriate budget to implement necessary security measures.
What are the best cybersecurity practices for small to medium-sized businesses?
Some of the best cybersecurity practices for small to medium-sized businesses include:

Employee training: Educate employees about potential threats, phishing scams, and safe online practices.
Network security: Implement firewall protection, secure Wi-Fi networks, and regularly update security protocols.
Data protection: Back up important data regularly and store it securely. Apply encryption to sensitive information.
Access control: Limit employee access to confidential data and systems based on job roles and responsibilities.
Strong passwords: Enforce password policies that require complex and unique passwords, regularly updated.
Regular software updates: Keep all software, including operating systems and applications, up to date with the latest security patches.
Secure authentication: Implement two-factor authentication or biometric authentication methods to enhance login security.
Third-party security: Evaluate the security practices of vendors and partners and ensure they meet your cybersecurity standards.
Incident response plan: Develop a plan to respond to and recover from cybersecurity incidents effectively.
How to write an effective cybersecurity plan for your small business?
Writing an effective cybersecurity plan for your small business involves the following steps:

1. Assess your risks: Identify potential threats and vulnerabilities specific to your business, such as weak passwords, outdated software, or lack of employee training.
2. Set security goals: Define clear objectives for your cybersecurity plan, considering the protection of sensitive data, prevention of unauthorized access, and resilience against cyber threats.
3. Develop policies and procedures: Create guidelines and protocols for secure practices, including password management, data backups, incident reporting, and employee responsibilities.
4. Implement security measures: Deploy appropriate security technologies and solutions, such as firewalls, antivirus software, encryption tools, and access controls.
5. Educate employees: Conduct regular training sessions to raise awareness about cybersecurity risks, best practices, and how to respond to incidents.
6. Test and update: Regularly assess the effectiveness of your cybersecurity measures through penetration testing and security audits. Update your plan and policies as new threats emerge or your business evolves.
7. Incident response and recovery: Establish procedures for responding to and recovering from security incidents, including communication protocols, data restoration processes, and involvement of relevant authorities if necessary.

By following these steps and customizing them to your specific business needs, you can develop an effective cybersecurity plan that helps protect your small business from cyber threats.