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Small Business Cybersecurity: Do SMB Owners Underestimate Risk?

Risk management and mitigation to reduce exposure for financial investment, projects, engineering, businesses. Concept with manager’s hand turning knob to low level. Reduction strategy.

It seems that America's small business owners have a lot more on their minds other than getting hacked. Indeed, only a scant five percent believe cybersecurity is currently the biggest risk to their company, a new study found.

The CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Index for Q2 2022 asked 2,027 small business owners their views on the business climate and the health of their own company. Cybersecurity is a significant part of that. Of course, the responses may be of keen interest to small businesses-centric managed security service providers mainly because they point to areas of strength, preparedness, weaknesses and needs and thus opportunities for engagement.

The latest survey is the first amid the war in Ukraine. Also, U.S. cyber officials have correspondingly warned of a potential increase in cyber attacks on U.S. targets. However, small business owners are not convinced of the cybersecurity danger. Of five top risks to their businesses, cybersecurity ranked last, behind:

  • labor shortage (13%)
  • COVID-19 (13%)
  • supply chain disruptions (19%); and
  • inflation (38%).

Still, small businesses seem to know cyberattacks are a real risk. The anecdotal evidence: Nearly half (47%) are concerned they will be hacked in the next 12 months -- though roughly six in 10 are not concerned at all about that perceived threat.

Also of note:

  • 62 percent of small business owners are confident they could quickly remediate a cyber attack on their business, while 36 percent are not confident they could rapidly fix a breach.
  • 34% of small business owners have a ransomware response plan in place, but 41% do not.

A significant number of small business owners in the survey have taken measures to protect their companies from cyber attackers. Nearly 50% have installed an antivirus solution, 48% have strengthened passwords and 47 percent have backed up files on an external hard drive. On the other hand, only 15 percent have taken cybersecurity training and 15 percent have done nothing to protect their businesses.

D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.