The Vital Importance of Having a Cybersecurity Plan For Your Business

Are you unsure if cybersecurity is a concern for your business? Cyberattacks have hit over 64% of companies across the globe. New attacks occur every 39 seconds.

Cybercriminals love all companies, big and small. Instead of hoping a cyber attack doesn’t occur, your business benefits more by having a cybersecurity plan for when it does. This lets you respond quickly and prevent or limit damages.

Why is cybersecurity such a high concern? What are the types of cyberattacks you should worry about? Read on for our comprehensive cybersecurity guide to answer these questions and more.

Why is Cybersecurity Important for Businesses?

Companies offer a rewarding opportunity for cybercriminals. The payoffs can be much higher compared to targeting individuals. Think of the difference between mugging someone and robbing a bank.

Everyone knows large corporations will eventually experience an attack. But small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are just as attractive to target.

At least 50% of SMBs have experienced a data breach. Many companies who experienced an attack also reported they believed their company was too small to be overly concerned with cybersecurity.

Your SMB may decide cybersecurity costs outweigh any potential cyberattack losses. Unfortunately, those losses can actually be devastating for smaller companies.

What are the Costs of Cyberattacks?

A cyberattack results in more than just monetary theft and loss. The outsized effects of customer and confidence loss can keep a company reeling long after the attack occurs.

Monetary Loss

Data breaches are on the rise, and their average costs are rising too. Associated costs reached a record $4.4 million average in 2022.

The direct costs of a cyberattack include:

  • Ransoms
  • Investigations
  • Data recovery
  • New security measures
  • Customer damages
  • Legal fees
  • Criminal and/or civil fines

SMBs may not pay as much as corporate conglomerates like T-Mobile and Target, but they aren’t off the hook for high costs either. Data breaches average between $120,000 to $1.24 million for small to medium companies.

Smaller companies can also have more difficulties absorbing these unexpected cyberattack expenses. It’s more cost-effective to add cybersecurity services to your ongoing budget. This also helps protect your company from a critical hit to its survivability.

Customer Loss

It’s also important to consider the indirect costs of a successful cyber attack. This includes customer dissatisfaction, which can range from simply losing customers to class-action lawsuits.

Cybercriminals hit particular pay dirt when they can steal your customers’ Personally Identifiable Information (PII). This information is used to commit identity theft or even sold on the dark web to other cybercriminals.

You may face hefty legal fees and fines if your customers can prove you didn’t adequately protect their PII data. Settlements and punitive fines for customer data breaches include:

  • Equifax: $425 million
  • T-Mobile: $350 million
  • Captial One: $190 million
  • Amazon: $887 million
  • Home Depot: $200 million
  • Yahoo: $85 million

SMBs generally don’t have millions of customers, so their settlements won’t reach quite that high. Cybercrime still costs them around $2.2 million a year, however.

Reputation Loss

Cyberattacks hit hard. Smaller companies are proportionally more vulnerable. Over 60% of SMBs shut down within 6 months of a cyberattack, according to data from the U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance.

Customer loss and reputation loss add up fast. Not only will you lose current and potential customers, but you’ll also lose contracts with other vendors and industry partners. The decreased confidence in your business will be difficult to earn back.

Stock Value Loss

Shareholders can also lose confidence in your company’s ability to safeguard information. Research has shown data breaches drop share value drops by at least 3.5%.

This dip in stock value is long-lasting compared to other consequences. Affected companies continue to underperform on the Nasdaq for up to three years on average after an attack, according to current research.

Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

Cybercriminals are looking for the weakest link in your system. This can be your network, your third-party partnerships, or even your own employees.

Cyberattacks can slip into a security crack as small as slightly outdated software. These weak areas are known as cyber vulnerabilities.


Your network is an information expressway with countless access points. Weaknesses can be found in the hardware, software, and your company’s access and usage processes.

Network vulnerabilities include:

  • Outdated software
  • Outdated OS and software patches
  • Physically unsecured servers
  • Unsecured WiFi
  • Unsecured e-mail
  • Weak or misconfigured firewalls
  • Remote access devices

If a network vulnerability goes unchecked for too long, it can open up even wider holes in your system. For example, unsecured e-mail may allow cybercriminals to gather login information and then use that info to install malware on your network.


Unfortunately, employees represent a significant cyber vulnerability. Human error causes 90% of cyberattacks, according to the ISMA (International Security Management Association).

This includes:

  • Falling for phishing scams
  • Opening infected malware or virus files
  • Failing to secure passwords
  • Using easy-to-guess passwords
  • Not following established security protocols
  • Using personal access devices on the network
  • Leaving physical hardware and data storage unsecured

Most employee security slip-ups are accidental. But some can be a deliberate skirting of security rules or even a deliberate insider threat working with cybercriminals. It’s critical for you to be prepared for every scenario.


Your business may work with partner organizations and third-party vendors. Like employees, this is an unfortunate cyber vulnerability that’s more difficult to control.

Target’s notorious 2013 data breach occurred because of a third-party vendor. An employee at a contracted HVAC company fell for a phishing scam that ultimately opened a hole in Target’s own system.

Despite this, Target still had to pay damages for the 70 million stolen customer records and 40 million stolen credit/debit card data. The estimated fallout from lost business, damages, and settlements was nearly $300 million.

Companies must address outsourced vulnerabilities as well as in-house weak spots. Even a top-notch cybersecurity infrastructure can fail without factoring this in.

Types of Cyberattacks

You’ve heard of several different types of cyberattacks. But what do they mean, exactly? What is a DoS attack, and what is the difference between spoofing and phishing?

Each different cyberattack type requires its own solution. This can include increased employee training, tighter network security, and/or advanced IT support.


Malware (malicious software) is one of the worst cyberattack methods. This refers to any software or program designed for harmful actions on an unauthorized network.

This includes disrupting operations, disabling devices, or stealing data. The longer malware goes undetected, the greater the damage it does.


Ransomware is a form of malware, except this type relies on eventual detection. This software locks up devices, device data, and/or device access. Those affected must pay a “ransom” to regain their service.

Ransomware is especially common from overseas culprits. Russia has many ransomware gangs that specifically target U.S. businesses and industries.


Phishing refers to cyberattacks that trick human targets into “taking the bait,” such as fake e-mails or fake websites. There are many types of phishing, including:

  • Vishing (voice phishing)
  • Smishing (SMS phishing)
  • Calendar phishing
  • Clone phishing
  • Spear phishing
  • Whaling

These techniques allow cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access or insert malware into a system. They can also gain sensitive info like login credentials.


Spoofing is an attack type often used in phishing schemes. The cybercriminal masquerades as a legitimate user or organization. This results in the identity theft of the actual trusted source, along with attacks on the unaware targets.


Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks are becoming more popular. This attack seeks to disrupt service on a company’s network.

Imagine if you use a highway regularly to commute, but that highway is suddenly flooded with thousands of fake cars. Traffic jams and frustration would be inevitable.

DDoS attacks are similar. Thousands of bots flood a service until it’s essentially too overwhelmed to function. Google, Amazon, and Netflix have all been victims of coordinated DDoS attacks.

Man-in-the-Middle (MITM)

MITM attacks refer to cybercriminals inserting themselves into legitimate conversations or transfers. This attack works well with phishing and spoofing.

For example, real estate MITMs have become popular with the recent hot housing market. A cybercriminal inserts their own fraudulent e-mail during the home buying process, allowing them to take control of PII and even wire money transfers.

SQL Injections

An SQL injection is more technical than other cyberattack forms. This technique allows cybercriminals to disrupt application queries to a database. It looks for specific software vulnerabilities to be successful.

Cross-site Scripting (XSS)

XSS is another form of hostile injection, but this attack uses malicious code on websites. There are three types of XSS attacks:

  • Stored
  • Reflected
  • DOM-based

Some XSS attacks can work just by opening a website without the need for interaction. Both British Airways and eBay have fallen prey to XSS cyberattacks, resulting in notorious data breaches.

Password Theft

Stealing login credentials is one of the oldest and surest forms of cyberattacks, which is why many companies are moving away from passwords.

Password theft can occur using spoofing, phishing, and data breaches. Simple passwords can also be cracked using scripts and bots. 

Insider Threats

Some cyberattacks are from internal sources vs. external agents. CISA defines insider threats as someone using authorized access for harmful actions, whether it’s deliberate or accidental.

Employees can commit insider threats in many ways, including:

  • Stealing data
  • Selling sensitive information
  • Committing identity theft of customers
  • Downloading malware
  • Releasing trade secrets
  • Giving away login credentials

Employees may be actively malicious or simply negligent, but the end result is still the same. Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and Tesla have all been the victims of insider threats.

Making a Cybersecurity Plan

Now that you’re ready to implement a cybersecurity plan, what are the basic steps? Cybersecurity sounds relatively straightforward on the surface:

  • Identify cyber vulnerabilities
  • Implement cybersecurity solutions
  • Regularly test your cybersecurity services

The details are more sticky, however. What specific cyber vulnerabilities does your company have? What cybersecurity policies and services would work best to counter them?

Even these simple questions can be daunting if you’re starting cybersecurity from scratch. SMBs may also struggle with small or non-existent internal IT departments. 

Luckily, this is where the experts come in. You can still implement solutions using trusted cybersecurity vendors who have the resources and experience needed to safeguard your system.

Cybersecurity Solutions

Cybersecurity solution is an umbrella term for the wide deployment of services used to protect and mitigate cyberattacks. Cybersecurity services include:

  • Training
  • Staff augments
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Vulnerability scanning
  • VoIP and Cloud management
  • Managed Detection & Response (MDR)
  • Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR)
  • Data and system backups
  • Disaster recovery
  • Active monitoring

Cybersecurity solutions can augment gaps in your own IT department and infrastructure. Or they can add an extra layer of protection through redundancy.

Some services, like disaster recovery, benefit from both internal and external redundancy. For example, you may back up all your data on your own servers and also contract a third-party backup server in case your own physical servers are affected as well.

Choosing the Right Cybersecurity Company

Outsourced cybersecurity solutions have many benefits. These include:

  • Lower costs
  • Flexible pricing
  • Scalability
  • Improved monitoring
  • Increased resources
  • More experience
  • Greater expertise

A reputable company that offers cybersecurity solutions will have adaptable services tailored to your individual needs. They should also understand your industry and its unique cybersecurity environment.

Some sketchy companies will try to strong-arm SMBs into services they don’t need or want. They may also stretch out the implementation process unnecessarily. Look for cybersecurity companies that offer flexibility and process transparency.

The Best Cybersecurity Plan You Need at the Flexible Prices You Want

Cyberattacks are costly for companies. Even small companies can fall victim to cybercriminals, and with much more devasting results.

These attacks come in many forms, and cybercriminals are highly adaptable. An effective cybersecurity plan must find all your cyber vulnerabilities and implement solutions to keep you safe.

You can ease your cybersecurity concerns by contracting industry experts like EMPIST. Our team has over 20 years of experience delivering award-winning solutions for all your company needs. Contact us today to learn more!


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