If you own a small business, a mid-year survey of 400 fellow owners by the Cyber Readiness Institute (CRI) could be one of those good news/bad news scenarios. Nearly all (89%) of those polled had moved to a remote workforce model during COVID’s stay-at-home mandates. But firms with fewer than 10 employees (call them Group 1) appeared less concerned about cybersecurity threats than firms employing more than 10 (Group 2). CRI characterized the gap this way: “The smaller the business, the smaller the focus on cybersecurity.”
Pollsters based their conclusions on multiple data points, including how much time, money and human capital companies were invested in cyber-related precautions. For instance, less than half (45%) of owners in Group 1 increased their cybersecurity-related spending since stay-at-home orders began, compared with 80% in Group 2 who did invest in boosting cyber protections. One such protection is employee training, where, in the CRI survey, Group 2 owners invested twice as much as their Group 1 counterparts. It should be noted that CRI, like TeamLogic IT and most security experts, considers employee education an essential security precaution, regardless of business size.
During the current environment and well beyond “Small businesses remain a primary target for malicious actors looking for vulnerable targets,” cautions Kiersten Todt, CRI’s Executive Director. Besides differences in how small business owners perceive and prepare for cybersecurity threats, the Institute’s findings also point up some commonalities between the two different-sized groups. Password management and phishing attacks topped the list of security concerns for nearly half of all owners, and about the same number said that, in the post-COVID era, they will maintain at least a partial remote workforce. Finally, about one-quarter of all leaders surveyed reported that they plan to hire new cybersecurity staff or consultants before January 2021, which we agree would be a prudent step toward protecting any business. If you’d welcome some eye-opening security moments in the New Year, call TeamLogic IT today.