A number of people assume that only big businesses are susceptible to cybercrime. Since, headlines are created only when the world’s largest organizations are exposed to data pilferage and hacking, most small and medium-sized businesses do not consider data security to be a priority. Recent incidents reveal that when enterprise-sized data infringements are indeed staggeringly severe and unreservedly deserving of investigation, the customers have a right to know.

Regardless, the most concerning the change that small businesses must be made aware of, is the intentional and calculated shift in strategy on the part of cybercriminals.

According to the Information Security Breaches Survey conducted in the UK, the government has seen that over 70% of small businesses suffered some form of a data security breach. The continued rise from the previous years’ figures reveals that small and medium-sized decisions are continuously and systematically targeted.

The Internet Security Threat Report brought out by Symantec conducted a study in 2011 and discovered that more than 52% of spear-phishing attacks were concentrated on organizations with less than 2000 staff; 30% targeted medium businesses and 15% targeted companies with less than 200 staff.

In 2016, the same study revealed that 20% targeted and medium businesses while 35% were targeted at large businesses, but over 45% of spear-phishing attacks were focused on small businesses. The research report reveals that in the last five years there has been a marked increase in attacks on organizations with less than 200 employees.

Naturally, it is important to question why the attacks on small businesses are on the rise. Unfortunately, it is not a very easy question to answer, mainly because important information on cyber terrorism rationale is not easy to deduce.

As large organizations are transforming their digital enterprise setup, it is possible that hackers are finding it increasingly difficult to crack their systems, which is why small organizations are the next target and since so many there are so many, it is easy to concentrate on a variety of small and medium-sized businesses with outdated or almost negligible data security.

The types of threats that small and medium-sized businesses face today are coming in from all directions. From mobile devices and IoT exposures to online attacks, social media and email fraudulent rackets, today’s mobile manpower is under greater scrutiny than ever before.

Two types of attacks are seen to be on the rise–Ransomware and Business Email Compromise. One of the biggest threats facing businesses of all sizes is ransomware, with over 100 new ransomware groups detected in the last one year.

A number of large organizations experienced crypto-ransomware, wherein the data of the organization was locked away with strong encryption to be released only when demands of the cybercriminals were met.

On the other hand, business email compromise is a financial fraud where fake emails from senior management of organizations are sent to finance account teams requesting transfers of large amounts of money.

In such cases, small and medium-sized businesses are most often targeted as it requires relatively minuscule skill and proficiency. Unfortunately, the financial impacts of any data breach in small businesses as well as for large enterprises are just as severe.

In any modern data security solution, it is critical to understand that user experience is in itself a security feature. In a business’s cyber defense system, humans are generally the weakest link. Education and encouraging employees to practice data security measures are a vital way of protecting company assets.

Eventually, if disaster does strike, a dedicated incident response team must be set in place for the company to recover. In today’s times, it is when and not if, an organization will be targeted. Hence, it is important to set in place a robust data security strategy to safeguard against data threats.