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10 SMB Cybersecurity Statistics That Every Business Owner Needs to See

June 24, 2021

These SMB Cybersecurity Statistics Show How SMB Risk is Growing

Cybercriminals are gunning for businesses of every size. In 2020, 80% of firms saw an increase in cyberattacks. In today’s booming dark web markets, the data that your business has including user records, financial information and identity documents are a powerful lure for bad actors who want to make a quick buck and reuse it to facilitate even more cybercrime. But today’s risk atmosphere is especially dangerous for small and medium businesses (SMB). A record-breaking overall cybercrime rate combined with skyrocketing incident recovery costs and the challenges of securing a dynamic workforce have formed a perfect storm of risk. These SMB cybersecurity statistics illustrate just how dangerous this storm can be – and how you can protect your business effectively without breaking the bank.

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10 SMB Cybersecurity Statistics That Every Business Needs to Know

In a rapidly evolving threat landscape, it’s important to keep a few facts in mind when considering the best solutions to secure business systems and data. Here are 10 SMB cybersecurity statistics that every business needs to know.

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Major SMB Cybersecurity Challenges

Insider Threats

For companies with a small staff, one insider threat is a major risk. The majority of insider threats are non-malicious, accidental flubs that can’t be helped. But unfortunately, not everyone on your team really has your best interests at heart. Altogether, insider threat data breach risk rose about 40% in 2020, tripling in the last three years – and malicious insider actions are responsible for almost 25% of confirmed breaches. This can hit SMBs disproportionately hard. With fewer hands on board, more people have a larger scope of work, and that means that more people have access to sensitive data and systems. Those outsize risks come with equally outsize consequences.  According to IBM and the Ponemon Institute’s The Cost of Insider Threats Global Report 2020, the average cost of an insider threat to small organizations (500 employees or less) was $7.68 million.

Human Error

The once and future king of business cybersecurity disasters will never change: human error. Inevitably, in any process that involves human beings, they will make mistakes. Even security-savvy employees can be careless when they are stressed, distracted or tired. Over 50% of respondents in a staffing survey admitted that they were more error-prone while stressed and 40% said they made more mistakes when they were tired or distracted. They might even just be having a bad day. Those possibilities lend themselves to causing a data breach. Almost 40% of the IT professionals polled in a 2021 UK security surveyed cited human error as the culprit for a could data breach or leak in their organization.  The rise of remote work has only deepened the problem – 55% of workers admitted that they were frequently off-balance when working from home, and 43% of those workers reported that their mistakes had caused a security incident for their employers.

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Ransomware is the monster under the bed for cybersecurity teams. A favored tool of cybercriminals, ransomware is employed by nation-state threat actors as well as small-time gangs. This versatile weapon can be used to disrupt infrastructure like we recently saw with Colonial Pipeline as well as stop factory production, encrypt systems and steal data. An estimated 61% of organizations worldwide experienced a damaging ransomware incident in 2020, a 20% increase over the same period in 2019. A successful ransomware attack is inevitably an expensive, disruptive disaster, and the pace is not slowing down. Ransomware losses in 2021 are already up more than 300% over the same period last year, beating 2020’s record-setting pace.


Most of today’s nastiest cybersecurity incidents all start with a phishing email. In fact, 90% of incidents that end in a data breach start with a phishing email. A huge increase in the volume of email trafficked since March 2020 has created a wealth of opportunity for cybercriminals to perpetrate phishing schemes, and they haven’t been idle. Phishing attacks can quickly turn into dangerous and expensive disasters like business email compromise (BEC), brand impersonation, credential compromise, ransomware and other malware.  While many companies do engage in phishing resistance training, they often fail to refresh it often enough. Experts recommend that employees take 11 courses per year for maximum efficacy. Haphazard training often reflects a poor cybersecurity culture that enables bad behavior like sloppy email hygiene by employees. In a 2020 survey of 1,000 employees, a disturbing fact stands out: 96% of employees are aware of digital threats like phishing, but 45% click emails they consider to be suspicious anyway.

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Face Facts: 60% of Companies That Experience a Cyberattack Go Out of Business

As is clearly illustrated by our 10 SMB cybersecurity statistics above, today’s SMBs are facing new threats around every corner. Creating a healthy cybersecurity culture is essential for defending businesses from cybercrime. By making cybersecurity a priority and training everyone to recognize threats, you’re making every employee feel like they’re part of the security team too. This is especially important in a tumultuous threat landscape. in the last 12 months, the epic changes that businesses have faced serve as a strong illustration of why building a strong cybersecurity culture staffed by security-savvy employees can be a game-changer for SMBs in every sector. Maintaining agility, building cyber resilience and empowering staffers to pivot quickly in the face of new challenges should be every organization’s goal in 2021.

At the center of building that culture is phishing resistance training. The majority of today’s nastiest, most devastating cybercrimes are phishing-based, and get staffers on board to fight back strengthens an organization’s cyber resilience dramatically. If just one employee spots and stops a phishing email because they’re invested in maintaining a strong defense, that can save a company millions of dollars as well as uncountable headaches in recovering from a cyberattack.

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Secure identity and access management is also crucial for keeping systems and data safe. By adopting an access control solution that includes multifactor authentication (MFA), businesses can add strong protection against intrusion by hackers and credential thieves. An estimated 99% of password-based cybercrime can be stopped in its tracks just by adding MFA to your security plan. The other half of guarding against credential compromise is making sure that unpleasant password-based cybercrimes aren’t heading your way from the dark web. Using a real-time, always-on monitoring solution is a smart way to keep an eye on potential new dangers.

Now that you’ve reviewed some essential SMB cybersecurity statistics, let us help you gain an edge against sophisticated cybercrime and strengthen your overall security with the ID Agent digital risk protection platform

  • Passly includes an array of secure identity and access management tools cited by experts as key security moves that add immediate protection against the results of social engineering. Essentials like multifactor authentication make phished passwords useless and single sign-on to make access control easy and avoid credential sharing. 
  • Dark Web ID enables you to get a clear picture of your company’s credential compromise threats from dark web sources. Our 24/7/365 always-on monitoring alerts businesses to credentials appearing on the dark web that may have been stolen or phished to mitigate the risk of bad actors using a stolen password to gain access to your systems and data.
  • BullPhish ID improves your staff’s security awareness and increases phishing resistance and equips them to sniff out complex social engineering threats. Fully customizable content means that businesses can run simulations based on the real threats that they receive every day.    
  • Don’t just take our word for it: Watch these 10-minute demonstration videos:

Why wait until there’s trouble? Now that you’ve seen a snapshot of the danger that every organization is in through our list of 10 troubling SMB cybersecurity statistics, it’s time to take the next step.  Contact the experts at ID Agent today to learn more about how our solutions can protect your business from cybercrime. 

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