The average total cost of a data breach in the U.S. is $8.19 million, more than double the world average. Some of that cost lands squarely on the laps of small businesses, who are not safe from cyberattacks themselves.

According to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) calculations, small businesses account for almost one in three (43%) breaches. It seems that small businesses have not been on top of things when it comes to their respective network security measures. That is a cause for concern, since not only does this ruin the businesses themselves but also their employees’ livelihood and their customers’ and clients’ trust.

So why are small businesses being preyed on by cybercriminals when they don’t supposedly come with a huge payday?

Small businesses have limitations that make them especially vulnerable to cyberattacks, and cybercriminals are only too aware of these.

Here are 4 vulnerabilities you need to evaluate for and address accordingly:

1. They lack cybersecurity measures.

Small businesses are not eager to spend a chunk of their funds on cybersecurity costs because there is often not much to go around for other aspects of the business. For a lot of business owners, cybersecurity often involves relying on outdated authentication methods and poor to nonexistent authorization protocols, and then hoping to go unnoticed by cybercriminals.  

Or worse, lack of any form of reliable security measures is due to sheer neglect of the significance of network security. This means lack of endpoint security, lack of training for staff and employees, and so on. A recent survey by BullGuard found that 43% of small business owners do not have any cybersecurity defense plan in place –which means their most sensitive financial, customer, and business data are hugely at risk.

2. They lack resources and don’t have a professional cybersecurity team.

Small businesses, for all intents and purposes, don’t have a dedicated IT team because of the lack of dedicated budget for cybersecurity. That means very little to zero maintenance and monitoring for their security system.

For those businesses that do have some form of security in place, chances are it is run by a team of just a couple of people with limited cybersecurity experience.

3. They underestimate threats based solely on their size.

Small businesses tend to operate with a sense of false security owing to their size: that they don’t register in cybercriminals’ radars and therefore don’t need to get ambitious with their cybersecurity measures. BullGuard’s 2020 survey also found that 60% of SMB owners don’t think their businesses will be a target of cybercriminals.

This is a huge part of why cybercriminals target small businesses.

4. They pose a low risk and guarantee high reward.

Often, small businesses lack the tools, and therefore the capability, to detect a breach or an attack, let alone trace and go after the cybercriminal responsible. When money or information or both is stolen, often there’s nothing that can be done—no way to determine the identity of the perpetrator. This is a major encouragement for cybercriminals to continue targeting small businesses.

Not only that, small businesses often don’t report cybercrime to authorities, perhaps because they are almost certain no action will be taken. Data collected by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime indicates that only 10% of cybercrimes reported by small business owners are solved.

The Security Upgrade You Need

With cybercriminals getting savvier and circumstances like the pandemic making things highly unpredictable, it’s even more important for businesses, regardless of size, to beef up their security.

Upgrades to your security should include passwordless authentication—that is, in a setup that combines passwordless multifactor authentication (MFA) and passwordless single sign-on (SSO).

Multifactor authentication is an authentication scheme that requires multiple means of authentication by employing either three or all these factors: 

  • Knowledge (something you know): PIN, username and password, security question 
  • Possession (something you have): token, USB key, magic link, or smart card 
  • Inherence (something you are): biometrics—e.g., fingerprint, voice, palm veins, complex iris/retina patterns, behavior pattern, etc. 
  • Location (someplace you are): actual physical location determined through GPS tracking.

Single sign-on is an authentication strategy that enables users to execute a master sign-on for authenticating themselves at the start of their work shift. The SSO solution then logs them in to any of the relevant systems and applications they need to use to perform their tasks.

MFA and SSO provide a layered security that ticks both enhanced security and increased user convenience. When you go passwordless, you simplify things on your end while complicating things for cybercriminals.

Contact TraitWare today to learn more about how we do simplified enterprise-class passwordless authentication.