In today’s market, two types of companies exist: the ones that know they’ve been hacked and the ones that don’t know about it. Basically, that is what cyber security is all about. There is no company, no industry, no sector, or country that is fully protected against cyber-attacks.
Each and every company, whether it’s a tech company, a small business, or a startup, has weaknesses that hackers exploit for their own gain. Everybody knows that hackers have the same if not much greater resources at their disposal as compared to security professionals. This makes the threat even more real.
The top reason why firms get hacked isn’t because of the dangers lurking outside, it’s actually the weaknesses and ignorance inside. The reason businesses get hacked is because both the business managers and leaders didn’t know that a threat exists or they were indifferent to it. This is the same false sense of security or ignorance that is found in startups and small businesses. Talk to them about cyber security and the usual response is either, “We are too small to interest any hacker”, or “Why would a hacker come to us? We are not a financial services company.”
If the above argument were to be held as true, then technically speaking startups like Zomato shouldn’t have been hacked in the first place. It doesn’t end here. In a majority of companies, there exists a natural laziness where cyber security is concerned. Especially startups and small businesses take it a little too lightly which leads to a dangerous trend.
There are a number of reasons why startups and small businesses are more sought after targets than big businesses:
First of all, these firms carry loads of information that is worth its weight in gold. This may include customer information including, but not limited to, their credit and debit card details, social security numbers, purchases and trends. For hackers looking to conduct financial fraud, this is a treasure trove.
These companies also carry innovative and creative ideas for products and services that hackers might be interested in.
Hackers also target small businesses and startups because they usually do business with big businesses as third party vendors and they can provide entry points into the big business networks. The famous credit card breach at Target in 2013 happened because of vulnerabilities in the system of third party vendors. These soft points or weaknesses were used to access the Target network. The consequence of this was the theft of credit card details worth approximately $40 million.
Another reason for increased attacks is the increasing use of mobile apps, web apps, and big data. Small businesses and startups usually provide services or products through these apps as it helps them connect to their customer quicker. Protecting them becomes a higher priority as the hackers can get to them through various channels.
Since small businesses and startups are working on a tight budget, cyber security is not at the top of their priorities list. Big businesses have security budgets that helps them hire the best cyber security professionals and keep up-to-date with the latest trends and security updates. Hackers take advantage of this situation and target the smaller fish in the pond.
Every company, big or small, should build a security policy based on best practices as well as its experience which includes strong passwords, internet and email guidelines, document security solutions, among others.