Most small business owners believe they are too small to be targeted for cyber-attacks, even though 87 percent collect sensitive data from customers
SEATTLE, March 28, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Digital.com, a leading independent review website for small business online tools, products, and services, has published findings from a new survey that examines cybersecurity concerns among small business owners. Research experts analyzed responses from 1,250 owners of businesses with 500 employees or less.
According to the study, 51 percent of small businesses do not have protection against cyber-attacks. Twenty-one percent of respondents from this group say they are in the process of developing cybersecurity measures, and 30 percent of business owners have no measures in place. Additionally, seven percent of business owners say they are unsure about their online security status.
The workplace model is also a key factor when it comes to cybersecurity. Forty-five percent of businesses with an in-person workforce do not practice cyber safety. In comparison, 27 percent of online-only businesses, and 21 percent of businesses with a hybrid work model have no internet security processes. Fifty-nine percent of business owners who fail to utilize safety methods say they are too small to be targeted for cybercrime. Respondents also cited other reasons for the lack of security measures, such as limited online business, high cost, and no dedicated cybersecurity staff.
Survey results indicate that the lax attitudes among small business owners could potentially put customers at risk for a data breach. Most of the companies surveyed collect personal information from customers, including names (72 percent), addresses (66 percent), and phone numbers (65 percent). Respondents also admit to collecting sensitive data that can leave consumers vulnerable to identity theft and fraud. Twenty-six percent of small businesses without digital security measures collect credit card information, 15 percent store personal bank account information, and 14 percent have customers’ Social Security numbers on file.
“Companies of all sizes should take cybersecurity seriously,” small business consultant Dennis Consorte says. “Customer data is valuable, and bad actors will stop at nothing to get it. In fact, they may target SMBs because they have less budget for protecting their customers’ information and are therefore softer targets.”
Twelve percent of the small businesses surveyed have been victims of cyberattacks. As a result, 90 percent of businesses experienced lost revenue, 24 percent suffered damage to the company’s reputation, and 16 percent faced a loss of customers. Despite the negative consequences, 8 percent of small businesses that experienced a security compromise made no changes to their practices. Some business owners implemented online safety measures like installing antivirus or antimalware programs, using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), hiring an IT staff or external cybersecurity firm, and training staff in cybersecurity best practices.
Digital.com created and paid for this study, which was administered via the online survey platform Pollfish. The survey was distributed to 1,250 small business owners across the U.S. from March 11 to March 14, 2022. Respondents were selected based on a screening question. To access the complete report, please visit https://digital.com/51-of-small-business-admit-to-leaving-customer-data-unsecure/.
Digital.com reviews and compares the best products, services, and software for running or growing a small business website or online shop. The platform collects twitter comments and uses sentiment analysis to score companies and their products. Digital.com was founded in 2015 and formerly known as Review Squirrel. To learn more, visit https://digital.com/.
Kristen Scatton, Digital.com, (800) 203-5102, [email protected]