Small businesses are important for Canada. They make up almost all of the private businesses here and give jobs to most people working in private companies. They’ve also been creating most of the new jobs in recent years and add a big chunk to Canada’s money-making.

Every year, over 100,000 small businesses see the light of day. Although the path is difficult with higher interest rates and prices further added on with supply issues, this rate was maintained steadily. While we anticipate the obvious struggles, most businesses have historically not been fully prepared for cyberattacks until they face one.  

(https://ised-isde.canada.ca/site/sme-research-statistics/en/key-small-business-statistics/key-small-business-statistics-2022)  

Since the pandemic began, cybercrime has gone up drastically. Small and medium-sized businesses are just as likely to get attacked as big companies, or maybe even more, because they don’t have as much money to protect themselves. New businesses, especially those under five years, often get targeted and lose important financial info or credit card numbers.  

For most small businesses, it is not a matter if they’ll get attacked, but when. And what happens next? Sadly, many businesses only start thinking about security after they’ve been attacked, which is too late.  

A cyberattack doesn’t just mess up a business’s ability to work properly; it also causes customers to worry about trusting them. Most people in North America say if they can’t trust a company to keep their info safe, they won’t buy from them, even if they like their solution.  

In a survey by Mastercard, people said one of the most important things for them to trust a small business is knowing their data is safe. They also want businesses to take responsibility for a breach and be honest about past cyber problems.   

(https://www.mastercard.com/news/press/2023/september/new-mastercard-research-shows-canadian-small-business-owners-need-additional-support-to-effectively-prevent-recover-from-cyber-attacks/)  

Here are a few things that can mitigate or keep you from an imminent cyber-attack. However, these only go hand in hand with the right tools and usages.  

  1. Educate Employees: Make sure all employees understand the basics of cybersecurity, such as recognizing phishing emails, using strong passwords, and being cautious with company information online.  
  1. Install Security Software: Invest in antivirus and anti-malware software to protect against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Keep these programs updated regularly to ensure they can defend against the latest threats.  
  1. Update Software Regularly: Keep all software, including operating systems, web browsers, and business applications, updated with the latest security patches. Outdated software can contain vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit.  
  1. Secure Networks: Use firewalls and encryption to secure your business’s network and Wi-Fi connections. Limit access to sensitive data and implement strong authentication methods, such as two-factor authentication, for accessing important systems and accounts.  
  1. Backup Data: Regularly backup all important business data and store it securely, offline or in the cloud. This ensures that you can still access and restore your data even if your systems are compromised in a cyber-attack.  
  1. Implement Cybersecurity Policies: Develop clear cybersecurity policies and procedures for your business, covering areas such as acceptable internet use, data handling and storage, and incident response plans. Make sure all employees are aware of and adhere to these policies.  
  1. Monitor Systems for Suspicious Activity: Use security monitoring tools to monitor your business’s networks and systems for any signs of unusual or suspicious activity. Promptly investigate any potential security incidents.  
  1. Train Employees Regularly: Provide ongoing cybersecurity training to keep them informed about the latest threats and best practices for staying safe online. Regular training sessions can help reinforce good security habits and reduce the risk of human error leading to a cyber-attack.  
  1. Partner with Cybersecurity Experts: Consider working with cybersecurity experts or managed security service providers who can provide specialized expertise and support tailored to your business’s needs. They can help assess your security posture, identify vulnerabilities, and implement effective security measures.  
  1. Stay Informed and Adapt: Stay informed about the latest cybersecurity trends, threats, and best practices. Cybersecurity constantly evolves, so it’s important to regularly review and update your security measures to adapt to new challenges and effectively protect your business.  
  1. Application/Website security: Ensure your solutions are developed under standardized and improved security methods to tackle these growing threats. Solution companies like Allion, with good track records working with SMEs and many other industries, can help you easily achieve top-of-the-line secure solutions. 

Even if a business bounces back from an attack, it often has to raise its prices to cover the costs, making it hard to compete.  

But there’s some good news: more than half of businesses have done things to protect themselves, like using antivirus software or firewalls. But the bad news is, they often don’t keep up with it, leaving them open to new risks.  

(https://www.mastercard.com/news/press/2023/september/new-mastercard-research-shows-canadian-small-business-owners-need-additional-support-to-effectively-prevent-recover-from-cyber-attacks/)  

Businesses often struggle to afford the tools to stay safe from cyberattacks. Only a small number feel confident they know what to do after an attack, and even fewer think they could fully recover within six months.  

As a tech company invested in catering to businesses of all scales, we know that small businesses need a strong footing when securing themselves against cyberattacks. More often than not, cyberattacks leave businesses in a difficult place for recovery, and even if they do recover, it’s at an invaluable cost, both monetary and business reputational.   

We at Allion develop our data solutions to tackle these new-age security threats to offer absolute security against up-and-coming vulnerabilities. A well-tested, secure solution with a team always available to assist is a perfect blend of what meets the security demand in a time of rising levels of cyberattacks. As a business, you owe it to your customers to show that the information they trust you with is always secure.