There has been an upward trend in cyber attacks on small-to-medium size businesses (SMBs) for some years now. Slowly but surely, SMBs have found themselves on a roughly equal footing with their larger counterparts in terms of likelihood of experiencing an attack.
A new study from the Ponemon Institute indicates that attacks on SMBs have been sharply on the rise in the past year in particular regions of the world. While the overall number of attacks on global SMBs stayed roughly even from the previous year, attacks in specific regions (such as the United States) jumped as much as 21%.
The annual Ponemon survey of SMBs is important as it looks specifically for targeted attacks. One would expect SMB attack numbers to grow across the board as indiscriminate automated hacking tools become more prevalent, but the attacks logged in the survey are sophisticated and involve actions such as targeted email phishing of an employee or a focus on obtaining specific company data.
While roughly 2/3 of the world’s SMBs are now experiencing cyber attacks, 45% still feel that their cybersecurity posture is “ineffective.” 39% still do not have an incident response plan in place.
Ponemon’s annual SMB survey has been conducted since 2016 and is commissioned by Keeper Security. This year’s survey included 2,391 IT security professionals and decision makers from companies located in the United States, United Kingdom, and throughout Europe. The companies range from 100 to 1,000 employees in size and the data was collected in August and September.
New attacks appear to be focusing on SMBs in specific regions, with the United States getting the worst of it. The overall number of global SMB attacks stayed fairly steady, perhaps even decreasing slightly (moving down from 67% in 2018 to 66% in 2019). This comes after years of steady and significant growth, however; from 55% in the inaugural study in 2016 to 61% in 2017.