Cyberattacks Can Be the Biggest Let-Down for Small Business Owners

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Small-business owners now view cyberattacks with equal concern as they do supply chain disruptions or pandemics.

This heightened awareness has spurred many small-business owners to invest in new cybersecurity tools and consultants, as revealed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s first-quarter small-business index, exclusively shared with Axios.

Small businesses have historically been lucrative targets for ransomware, business email compromises, and phishing attacks, given their vulnerability and lack of resources compared to larger corporations.

In the Chamber’s recent index, 60% of small-business owners expressed concern about cybersecurity threats.

The index, conducted in partnership with MetLife, surveyed 755 small-business owners between Jan. 26 and Feb. 12.

Thomas Sullivan, vice president of small-business policy at the Chamber, noted a significant shift in awareness, stating, “In 2018, if I had said ‘phishing tests,’ people would think they’d be going to a Bass Pro Shop.

Now, small-business owners know exactly what I’m talking about, and that is huge progress.”

The heightened concern is directly linked to increased awareness, driven by recent stories of small-business owners facing cyber scams, phishing attacks, and ransomware.

According to the Chamber’s survey, professional services organizations (71%) and organizations with 20 to 500 employees (74%) exhibited the highest levels of concern regarding cybersecurity threats.

Furthermore, 48% of small-business owners reported providing cybersecurity awareness and protection training to their staff in the past year.

While cybersecurity threats rank high among concerns, supply chain disruptions also weigh heavily on small-business owners, with 58% expressing concern. Approximately 27% of owners believe they are just one disaster away from closure.

To bolster their cybersecurity preparedness, some small businesses are turning to university-based cybersecurity clinics, similar to law school clinics, which engage students to advise local businesses on cybersecurity best practices.

The heightened concern is directly linked to increased awareness, driven by recent stories of small-business owners facing cyber scams, phishing attacks, and ransomware. (Credits: TNS)

Additionally, the Chamber offers an online platform featuring stories of small-business owners addressing various challenges, including cyber preparedness.

Despite concerns, small-business owners exhibit confidence in responding to cyberattacks, with 73% feeling “somewhat” prepared, compared to 67% for supply chain disruptions.

Sullivan attributes this to a growing recognition among owners that proactive measures can mitigate cyber risks.

“Small-business owners get very frustrated when there are things that affect their business that they can’t control — or that they perceive they can’t control,” he concluded.

Nate O'Hara
Nate O'Hara
Nathan is a seasoned commerce writer with a passion for unraveling the intricacies of the business world and distilling them into engaging narratives. During his academic journey, he delved deep into subjects like economics, marketing, and entrepreneurship, honing his analytical skills and developing a keen understanding of market dynamics.

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