Hacking a Small Business, IT Security, Small Business IT Security, Threats, RisksWhen it comes to hacking, small businesses are the worst hit, this has been attributed to lack of a cyber attack response plan even when the attacks happen repeatedly. A survey conducted in June 2016 by Harris Poll on behalf of Nationwide found that eighty percent of the small Businesses have not put in place measures to prevent cyber attacks despite the fact that fifty percent have been victims of hacking more than once in the last year. The survey noted that fifty percent of all the businesses in America had at one time in the last one year been hit by phishing, Trojans, hacking, or unauthorized access to sensitive data. Of those who took action after being hit by cyber attacks, only forty percent took immediate action to prevent further attacks. The majority of them took more than thirty days to recover from the attack, an indication that serious attacks can put the business down especially when all its systems have been affected.

Hacking is a serious problem in the cyber world, it affects almost everyone and spares no one. Recently there has been a rise in the number of small and mid-size businesses that have been hit by cyber attacks. Some have reported losing huge sums of money and disruption of services to the extent of halting their entire system. Given the level of preparedness of small businesses, it means that the risk is bigger than most have imagined. One of the reasons given as to why small businesses do not give the problem of hacking serious thought is that they have a false sense of security. There is a notion that they are too small to attract the attention of hackers and cyber criminals, but given the turn of events, no one is safe , even individuals are at great threat. Small businesses have information that cyber criminals would like to have and they will stop at nothing, they will strike and most likely when a business is not prepared and the damage they will cause will be immense.

The fact that small businesses accept online payments such as through credit cards or PayPal, collect customer information, operate business websites and carry out transactions online puts them at risk of hacking as cyber criminals would like to have access to such information. Without a proper cyber attack plan, a business which handles the above transactions is at a great risk of losing data to criminals. They will have a field day mining all the data and using it for criminal activities. When a business’s data is compromised, the business may lose money, customers, and trust among the various stakeholders and above all exposing itself to further attacks.

Improving cyber security should be a top priority for any small or mid-size business owner. There is a need to invest in systems which are hack-free and also carry out proactive maintenance to ensure that the system cannot be infiltrated or accessed by unauthorized persons. The need for a cyber attack response plan cannot be overemphasized; it is a top priority for the government too. The recent passage of the cyber security act of 2016, specifically for small businesses, shows the seriousness of the authorities to protect entities from attacks which have in the past paralyzed the activities of government institutions and corporations too. The law has given small businesses full support to protect their sensitive information from hackers. Small businesses need to utilize the support and get systems which will safeguard their data. They need to involve IT specialists in order to ensure that the systems are in place and have strong mechanisms to prevent infiltration. With such measures the future of small businesses will be brighter.