2. Financial and economic loss
Cybercriminals often see SMEs as an easy target, because these companies tend to focus on the operational growth of their business rather than how cybersecure that business is. Criminals direct their attacks primarily at your company’s employees. About 44% of these cyberattacks involve phishing. People are too often the weakest link and sometimes leave the door wide open to cybercriminals. Now that employees are increasingly working from home because of the corona crisis, attention can lapse in the “secure” home environment. For example, the number of phishing attacks during the first lockdown grew by no less than 667%. There was also an increase in so-called whale phishing, in which criminals send an email or WhatsApp message to board members for financial gain. If you fall into this trap, before you know it you’ve transferred money to criminals or given them access to crucial corporate information and systems, with serious financial losses as a result.
3. Service provision in a wider supply chain
The sectors in which your clients work, often combined with the applicable legislation, define the cybersecurity requirements. As an SME, you are often part of a wider supply chain. It is therefore important that you demonstrate to clients that your services operate in a cybersecure manner to ensure business continuity and deliveries. Think of TISAX, a de facto cyber standard in the automobile sector that guarantees a stable and secure supply chain, or the European legislation for the security of critical infrastructure against cyberattacks. You might not be a supplier of drinking water yourself, but if you ensure the maintenance of a water purification installation, you may also have to comply with the applicable cybersecurity legislation.
It is equally important that you don’t become a gateway for criminals to your clients. Cybercriminals often see SMEs as an easy target to gain access to larger companies for whom the SME works. Larger companies therefore focus heavily on the cybersecurity of their third parties and suppliers to protect themselves against attacks. SMEs that don’t meet these demands may well find themselves looking for a new contract.
4. Trust in the market and a strong reputation
Regardless of sectoral and regulatory aspects, businesses in general place higher demands on their suppliers in terms of cybersecurity. As an SME, if you are the victim of a major cyberattack it will undoubtedly have a negative impact on your reputation and weaken your position in the market. So by investing in cybersecurity, you not only make your business more robust against attacks, you also set yourself apart from the competition. It gives your clients confidence in the way you treat their data in terms of security and privacy. It also increases the quality and continuity of your service provision and therefore the reputation of your business in the market. Consequently, cybersecurity is an important factor in your success.