5 Ways Malware Will Close Your Small Business
Small business owners have been protecting their business on hope for far too long. Most believe that their business is too small to attract the attention of a hacker. Very few employ a full-time IT department to handle common IT issues, and virtually none have a full-time IT person who focuses solely on securing business data. As a result, more and more small businesses are becoming victims of cybercrime. Even a tiny breach could mean the business must close down forever.
Malware is a common technique used by hackers to infiltrate a small business network and steal information or do damage to the computer systems. A computer can become infected by malware in many ways, and the malware can come in many shapes and sizes, each damaging the business in different ways. For this reason, it is not possible for the standard anti-virus program to be expected to protect the computer from malware. Anti-virus software protects against viruses, and viruses and malware are two entirely different threats.
Once a business is hit with a cyber attack, chances of them losing everything is great. Customers must be informed their information has been stolen. Employees must be told their personal, medical and financial information was accessed. Even vendors must be warned that some secret information could be in the wrong hands. When this happens, businesses have more to deal with than just cleaning a bad application off of their computer. They have five major issues that could force them to close the business.
Malware can cause a loss of most or all customers
Once a business must tell their customers that the customer’s personal information is in the hands of a hacker, the customer losses all faith in doing business anymore. The customers can become so fearful of a new attack, they will never go back to that business again. The small business will also be responsible to pay for some type of credit monitoring service to help the customer fix any future attacks they are susceptible too due to the businesses negligence.
When a small business has a sharp decline in income, it is difficult to weather the storm. Small businesses do not have a large cushion to fall back on like larger enterprises. Losing most customers at once becomes a fatal blow and small businesses are forced to close their doors forever.
Malware can cause a loss of most or all employees
Small businesses must also inform their past and current staff of employees that their private records, including medical records and financial information, could be on the black market because it was not protected. Businesses must pay the expenses for locating and informing all the victims. Employees will lose faith that their employer can protect them and find employment elsewhere. Many will also sue the business for extra damages. The business must then pay a credit monitoring service for the employees as well as the customers.
The business owner is now forced to pay the expense of finding, hiring and training a new workforce. Meanwhile, there are very few customers left and no income to help with the expenses. If the business was prepared enough to continue operations with the loss of most of the customers, the loss of the workforce as well can be too much to overcome. With no way to pay for damages and rebuild, the business is forced to close.
Malware can cause strained or severed relationships with vendors
Small businesses thrive on healthy, personal relationships with vendors who offer the small business special discounts based on that relationship. When a small business is breached because of malware, sensitive information the vendor would not want public could be stolen. The business owner will be responsible for damages and monitoring for further damages. Becuase of the strain, the relationship may not be as strong as it was in the past and the business may lose special discounted pricing which will cut profits even more. This loss of profits added to the issues already choking the business is a major reason why small businesses close after being hacked.,
Malware can steal company secrets and release them to the public or sell them to the competition
People love doing business with small, local businesses because there is normally a unique benefit that larger corporations or chain stores do not provide. Some small businesses are successful because of innovative secrets that make them unique. When an attacker infiltrates a small business network, they can steal this sensitive data and release the information to the public by publishing it on the World Wide Web. They can also sell this information to the competition. When this happens, the edge the small business had to rebuild and gain more customers is ripped away. Without this edge, small businesses struggle to rebuild.
Malware can destroy a small business reputation
A solid reputation is one of the most critical pieces of any small business. When a business suffers from a cyber attack, people become too fearful to continue to do business with them. New or potential customers will quickly find a different supplier so that they will not also become victimized. It becomes hopeless for a small business to replace the lost customers and find new customers once trust is broken. With no way to gather new customers, small businesses can no longer stay open.
Malware is a serious threat to small businesses. It is so easy to become infected and impossible to fix once a breach has occurred. Businesses must take action immediately to protect against hackers. Many do not employ a full-time IT staff but can hire security specialists to help harden their systems. This issue cannot be fixed after it is too late. Only careful preplanning can prevent a thriving small business from closing.