Why Do SMBs Neglect Cyber Security?

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In an increasingly digital and interconnected world, the importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated. While large corporations often invest heavily in safeguarding their digital assets, Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) face unique challenges when it comes to cybersecurity. Many SMBs, despite being vulnerable to cyber threats, often neglect crucial security measures.

This article explores the reasons behind this neglect, shedding light on the various factors that contribute to the inadequate attention to cybersecurity within the SMB sector. Understanding these challenges is the first step towards addressing them and ensuring that SMBs can protect themselves in an evolving landscape of cyber threats.

Here’s the shortlist…

Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) often neglect cybersecurity for several reasons:

  • Limited Resources: SMBs typically have smaller budgets and fewer IT staff compared to larger enterprises. This can make it challenging to allocate sufficient resources to cybersecurity efforts.
  • Lack of Awareness: Some SMB owners and managers may not fully understand the importance of cybersecurity or the potential risks they face. They may assume that cyberattacks only target large corporations.
  • Misconception of Not Being a Target: SMBs sometimes believe that cybercriminals are more interested in larger organizations with valuable data. However, cybercriminals often target SMBs precisely because they perceive them as easier and less protected targets.
  • Complexity and Technical Barriers: Cybersecurity can be complex, and SMBs may not have the technical expertise to implement and manage effective security measures. This can be intimidating and discouraging.
  • Cost Concerns: SMBs may worry that investing in cybersecurity tools and training is expensive. They may not realize that the cost of recovering from a cyberattack or data breach can be far greater.
  • Prioritization: SMBs often have limited resources and must prioritize various aspects of their business. Cybersecurity may not always be at the top of their list, especially if they are struggling with other operational challenges.
  • Overconfidence: Some SMBs may feel that their current security measures are adequate, leading to complacency. However, cyber threats are constantly evolving, and what worked in the past may not be sufficient today.
  • Lack of Policies and Procedures: SMBs may not have formal cybersecurity policies and procedures in place. This can lead to inconsistency in security practices and make it easier for threats to exploit vulnerabilities.
  • Vendor Dependence: Some SMBs rely heavily on third-party vendors for their IT infrastructure and may assume that these vendors handle all cybersecurity aspects. However, the responsibility for cybersecurity is often shared between the business and its vendors.
  • Limited Training and Education: Employees may not receive adequate training on cybersecurity best practices, making them susceptible to social engineering and other forms of attacks.
  • Compliance Focus: Some SMBs may focus on meeting regulatory compliance requirements rather than implementing a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. While compliance is important, it does not guarantee protection against all cyber threats.


To address these issues, SMBs should prioritize cybersecurity, seek education and training, allocate appropriate resources, and consider working with managed security service providers (MSSPs) if they lack in-house expertise. Recognizing the importance of cybersecurity and taking proactive steps to protect their digital assets is crucial for the long-term success and resilience of SMBs in today’s interconnected world.

Now, let’s dive a little deeper into some of these topics, and give you some examples of good and bad cybersecurity practices…

Why Small Businesses Need to Take Cybersecurity Seriously

In excerpts from an article by Wired, they wrote, “AS A SMALL business owner, it’s easy to read the seemingly never-ending headlines about cybersecurity breaches at enterprise companies and be lulled into thinking that you aren’t a target. After all, hackers are after the massive storehouses of customer data or proprietary information held by leading companies, right?

Not necessarily.

While the biggest headline-grabbing hacks involve large companies, cybercriminals don’t discriminate by size. As a matter of fact, even some of the biggest data breaches of the 21st century started out at small businesses. The cyberattack that hit a major retailer in 2014, exposing the personal data of more than 100 million accounts, was carried out via the network of an HVAC contractor that worked with the chain.

Two-thirds (67 percent) of companies with fewer than 1,000 employees have experienced a cyberattack, and 58 percent have experienced a breach. These statistics make it clear all businesses need a solid cybersecurity strategy. Be it ransomware, DDoS (distributed denial of service), phishing, or some other threat, there is no shortage of cyber threats targeted at small businesses.

So what makes you a target?

Small and medium-sized businesses don’t have the deep pockets that enterprise organizations do. So why are they such a target for hackers? There are a few key reasons:

  • Your valuable data: Hackers know that even small companies traffic in data that’s easy to offload for a profit on the Dark Web—medical records, credit card information, Social Security numbers, bank account credentials, and proprietary business information. Cybercriminals are always trying to come up with new ways to steal this data. They either use it themselves to get into bank accounts and make fraudulent purchases or sell it to other criminals who will use it.
  • Your computing power: Sometimes cyber hackers are interested only in using a company’s computers and conscripting them into an army of bots to perpetrate massive DDoS attacks. DDoS works by artificially generating enormous amounts of web traffic to disrupt service to a company or group of companies. The hijacked bots help generate disruptive traffic.
  • Your links to the big fish: Today’s businesses are digitally connected to each other to complete transactions, manage supply chains, and share information. Since larger companies presumably (although not necessarily) are tougher to penetrate, hackers target smaller partners as a way to get into the systems of large companies.
  • Your cash, pure and simple: When you think about it, cyber hackers target small businesses—or any other company—primarily for profit. Sure, some attacks are about disruption, as is the case with DDoS, but usually, the motive is to make money. This explains why ransomware is such a popular method of attack. It often succeeds, generating revenue for attackers. And as long as an attack method proves lucrative, hackers will keep using it.

What are the threats?

Enterprise organizations have entire teams devoted to handling cybersecurity. At many small businesses, those efforts, if undertaken at all, are handled by someone who likely wears many other hats in the day-to-day operation of the business. That makes small businesses particularly vulnerable to hackers. After all, a cybercriminal only needs to be right once. In order to stave off a successful attack, you need to be right 100 percent of the time.

To achieve peace of mind in the modern threat landscape, small business owners need to have a solid security strategy in place. That kind of preparedness starts with a solid understanding of the current threats:

  • Phishing: Often providing a gateway for ransomware or other infections, phishing typically works by goading users into clicking an email attachment or URL containing a virus. Phishing has become more and more sophisticated, and it can be incredibly difficult to spot a fake message as hackers target specific individuals with messages they can’t resist.
  • Ransomware: Hackers use a wide range of methods to target businesses, ransomware being one of the most common. Ransomware locks up computers and encrypts data, holding it hostage. For owners to regain access to their data, they have to pay ransom to a hacker who then releases a decryption key.
  • Malvertising: Short for “malware advertising,” this consists of delivering malware to a network after a user clicks on an apparently legitimate ad. Identifying malvertising isn’t easy because of the way it’s disguised, but some advanced malware detection systems are getting better at it.
  • Clickjacking: Similar to malvertising, this practice involves hiding hyperlinks to compromised webpages in legitimate website links. Users are then asked to reveal personal data that hackers steal for nefarious purposes.
  • Drive-by downloads: This dirty trick downloads malware into networks, often without users realizing what is happening. Sometimes users have to respond to a pop-up window for the download to occur, but other times all you have to do is unwittingly visit a compromised website.
  • Software vulnerabilities: Hackers exploit vulnerabilities in popular web platforms like WordPress, tools like Java, and file formats, such as HTML, PDF, and CSV to deliver malware. Falling behind on updates can leave systems particularly vulnerable.

Any organization that neglects cybersecurity is taking a huge risk. And as businesses grow more and more interconnected, those risks extend to customers, partners, and suppliers.”

Why your business can’t afford to ignore cybersecurity

In an article by Snoop, they wrote, “In today’s technologically advanced world, where businesses rely heavily on digital systems and data, the importance of cyber security cannot be overstated. Cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and prevalent, posing significant risks to businesses of all sizes and industries. Ignoring cyber security is akin to leaving the front door of a business-wide open, inviting malicious actors to wreak havoc. Here are four key reasons why a business simply cannot afford to ignore cyber security.

First and foremost, the financial impact of a cyber attack can be devastating. A single breach can lead to significant financial losses through theft of sensitive data, disruption of operations, legal liabilities, regulatory fines, and damage to a company’s reputation. The cost of recovering from a cyber attack can be astronomical, often exceeding the initial investment required for implementing robust security measures. By investing in cyber security, businesses can mitigate these risks and protect their financial stability.

Secondly, cyber attacks can severely damage a business’s reputation. Customers and clients place a high value on the security of their personal information. If a company fails to safeguard this data and suffers a breach, trust in the organization can be shattered. The negative publicity and loss of customer confidence can have long-term consequences, leading to decreased sales, customer churn, and difficulty in attracting new clients. Prioritizing cyber security demonstrates a commitment to protecting sensitive information, enhancing brand reputation, and fostering customer trust.

Thirdly, compliance with data protection and privacy regulations is a legal and ethical imperative. Governments around the world are enacting stricter regulations to ensure the proper handling and safeguarding of data. Non-compliance can result in hefty fines and penalties, along with legal battles that can drain a business’s resources. By implementing robust cyber security measures, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to regulatory compliance and avoid the legal and financial ramifications of non-compliance.

Lastly, the interconnected nature of today’s business landscape means that a cyber attack on one organization can have ripple effects across the supply chain. Small and medium-sized businesses, which often lack the resources and expertise to tackle complex cyber threats, can become easy targets for attackers seeking to gain access to larger organizations. By ignoring cyber security, a business not only puts itself at risk but also jeopardizes the security and stability of its partners and stakeholders.

Cyber security is an essential investment for any business, regardless of its size or industry. The financial, reputational, legal, and interconnected risks associated with cyber-attacks are too significant to be ignored. By prioritizing cyber security, businesses can protect their assets, maintain customer trust, comply with regulations, and contribute to a secure and resilient digital ecosystem. Ignoring cyber security is a gamble no business can afford to take.”

The hidden costs of neglecting cybersecurity for small businesses

In excerpts from an article by Help Net Security, they interviewed, Raffaele Mautone, CEO of Judy Security, about the cybersecurity problems that small businesses face and the need for prioritization to save businesses from potential fines and damage to their brand reputation. He also discusses trends and steps small businesses can take to protect themselves, even with an insufficient cybersecurity budget.


While it’s understandable that small business owners may have concerns about the expenses associated with investing in cybersecurity solutions, it’s been proven the benefits far outweigh the costs. Cyber threats pose significant risks, including financial losses, damage to reputation, and legal liabilities.

Prioritizing cybersecurity can protect against these threats, enhance customer trust, and ensure compliance with regulations, saving a business from potential fines and brand reputation damage. Moreover, it minimizes the costly downtime associated with cyberattacks, supporting business continuity. While the initial investment may appear substantial, it’s more cost-effective than dealing with the aftermath of an attack, and it can also lead to lower insurance premiums.

Conducting thorough research to identify all-in-one solutions that encompass essential cybersecurity tools is crucial. By doing so, small businesses can reduce the costs associated with implementing multiple-point products and alleviate resource constraints. Implementing an all-in-one solution empowers small businesses to streamline the allocation of their cybersecurity budget, giving them a competitive advantage in our increasingly digital world.


To enhance cybersecurity within small businesses where employees often wear multiple hats and are therefore more susceptible to cyber threats, it is crucial to implement comprehensive cyber DNA training programs. These programs should be ongoing and cover various aspects of cybersecurity.

They should educate employees about recognizing and responding to threats, specifically identifying phishing emails and suspicious links, which are common avenues for cyberattacks. Stressing the importance of strong, unique passwords and the implementation of multi-factor authentication for accounts is vital.

Additionally, employees should be well-versed in proper data handling, including encryption and secure file-sharing practices, and should be educated on device security, including keeping devices updated with security patches and using secure networks. Establishing clear incident reporting procedures is essential so that employees know how to promptly report security incidents or potential threats.

Regular updates and reminders about evolving cyber threats and best practices should also be part of the training program to foster a culture of cybersecurity awareness. Through these measures, small businesses can significantly reduce their vulnerability to cyberattacks and protect their sensitive data and operations.


The most crucial advice for small businesses yet to prioritize cybersecurity is to find the right partner who can make it affordable and easy to implement. Rather than navigating the complicated and often fragmented landscape of cybersecurity solutions, opting for all-in-one cybersecurity solutions can be a game-changer.

This approach not only simplifies the process but also enhances efficiency. Furthermore, all-in-one solutions are often designed with user-friendliness in mind, making them accessible even to those with limited technical expertise. Choosing the right partner can not only protect against cyber threats but also contribute to the long-term sustainability and growth of your business.”

Tips And Best Practices For Small-Business Owners

In snippets from an article by Forbes, they wrote, “The impact of cybercrime on small businesses can be devastating. According to IBM’s 2022 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach is $4.35 million—and that number more than doubles if you’re based in the United States.

With so much at stake, no organization can afford to neglect preventative cybersecurity measures, least of all small businesses. Consider these best practices to improve your cybersecurity posture and protect your company from cybercrime.

1. Conduct regular employee training. Small businesses can provide regular training to their employees on how to identify and respond to potential cyberattacks, as well as how to follow secure password and email policies. Our team just recently completed our latest security training; these trainings can vary in style and substance because the landscape of cybersecurity is always shifting, but connecting with your team members on this will always be important. They need to know they’re an essential part of your network security plan.

2. Implement multifactor authentication. A good password is important, but it’s not enough. Multifactor authentication provides an additional layer of security by requiring users to provide more than one form of identification to access systems or information. Small businesses can use this technology to reduce the risk of password attacks.

3. Use VPNs. No matter the size of your organization, you need a virtual private network to protect your company’s resources. There’s nothing that has a higher ROI, in my opinion, than setting up a strong VPN for your company. Implement a VPN that’s not only effective but easy to use, whether that means an intuitive UI for the admin managing everything or an accessible app for your team. A good network isn’t just powerful; it’s also usable.

4. Keep software up to date. This is another surprisingly simple measure that many small-business managers neglect. Don’t skip your security updates. Cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain access to systems or data. Regularly update your software and hardware to reduce the risk of exploitation.

5. Incident response planning. While it’s important to take preventive measures, small-business owners should also have an incident response plan in place in case a cyberattack does happen (and in this day and age, it almost certainly will eventually).

Each department at our company, from IT to marketing, owns an element of our incident response because each department will be affected differently and will have different tools available to minimize the damage. Your plan should outline the steps to take in the event of a breach, including who to contact, how to contain the breach, and how to communicate with customers and stakeholders.

By having an incident response plan, small businesses can minimize the damage caused by a cyberattack and potentially save their business from financial ruin.

In a world that is increasingly online, it’s crucial for small-business owners to prioritize cybersecurity—regardless of their financial resources. Even with the most limited budget, you can always do something. The more you can do, the better.”


The imperative for Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) to prioritize cybersecurity cannot be overstated. As our world becomes more digitally interconnected, these businesses face unique challenges that make them vulnerable to cyber threats. The reasons behind their neglect of cybersecurity are multifaceted, as outlined in the previous sections, but it is crucial to address these issues head-on.

First and foremost, cyberattacks do not discriminate by size. SMBs are often perceived as lucrative targets by cybercriminals due to their valuable data, computing power, and their interconnected relationships with larger organizations. Ignoring cybersecurity is akin to leaving the front door wide open for malicious actors to exploit vulnerabilities.

The financial impact of a cyberattack on SMBs can be devastating, leading to significant losses, legal liabilities, regulatory fines, and damage to reputation. Prioritizing cybersecurity investments can mitigate these risks and safeguard financial stability.

Moreover, reputation damage from a cyber breach can have long-lasting consequences, eroding customer trust, causing customer churn, and hindering new client acquisition. A robust cybersecurity strategy demonstrates a commitment to safeguarding sensitive information and enhancing brand reputation.

Compliance with data protection regulations is both a legal and ethical obligation, and non-compliance can result in hefty fines and legal battles that drain resources. SMBs must invest in cybersecurity to demonstrate regulatory compliance and avoid these consequences.

The interconnected nature of business relationships means that an attack on one organization can have ripple effects across the supply chain. By ignoring cybersecurity, SMBs not only put themselves at risk but also jeopardize the security and stability of their partners and stakeholders.

To address these challenges, SMBs should prioritize cybersecurity, conduct regular employee training, implement multifactor authentication, use virtual private networks (VPNs), keep software up to date, and develop robust incident response plans. Even with limited budgets, taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity is essential.

In today’s digital landscape, SMBs simply cannot afford to ignore cybersecurity. It is an essential investment for protecting assets, maintaining trust, ensuring compliance, and contributing to a secure and resilient digital ecosystem. Ignoring cybersecurity is a gamble that no business, regardless of its size, can afford to take.

At Adaptive Office Solutions, cybersecurity is our specialty. We keep cybercrimes at bay by using analysis, forensics, and reverse engineering to prevent malware attempts and patch vulnerability issues. By making an investment in multilayered cybersecurity, you can leverage our expertise to boost your defenses, mitigate risks, and protect your data with next-gen IT security solutions.

Every device connecting to the internet poses a cyber security threat, including that innocent-looking smartwatch you’re wearing. Adaptive’s wide range of experience and certifications fills the gaps in your business’s IT infrastructure and dramatically increases the effectiveness of your cybersecurity posture.

Using our proactive cybersecurity management, cutting-edge network security tools, and comprehensive business IT solutions, you can lower your costs through systems that are running at their prime, creating greater efficiency and preventing data loss and costly downtime. With Adaptive Office Solutions by your side, we’ll help you navigate the complexities of cybersecurity so you can achieve business success without worrying about online threats.

To schedule a Cyber Security Risk Review, call the Adaptive Office Solutions’ hotline at 506-624-9480 or email us at helpdesk@adaptiveoffice.ca