Why SMBs are most vulnerable to cyber attacks and how you can be better prepared

Any type or size of business or organisation can suffer a cyber attack, but the impact is often more severe for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) than for large companies. But why are SMBs most vulnerable to cyber attacks , how can cyber attacks be prevented, and how can SMBs avoid the more severe effects of cyber attacks?

6 minutes 6 minutes
Why SMBs are most vulnerable to cyber attacks and how you can be better prepared 
SMB cyber attack 
How can cyber attacks be prevented 
What is SMB cyber security 
When should a cyber attack be reported 
Who is vulnerable to cyber attacks 
Why SMB is dangerous 
Why are SMBs most vulnerable to cyber attacks 
why are SMBs most vulnerable to cybercrime
Table of Contents
Only 16% of SMBs feel very well prepared for a potential cyber attack whilst 92% of SMBs recognise the threat posed by cybercrime, and 43% experienced a cyber attack in the past two years.

The problem therefore doesn’t appear to be that the threat is unknown, but rather that there is a general lack of everything needed to defend against the threats: ample budgets, knowledgeable personnel, a suitable defence strategy, and IT security infrastructure.  

Lacking these elements makes SMBs an easier potential target than larger organisations which usually have better resources. In addition, cybercriminals also like to use SMBs to gain access to the larger organisations that they are trusted to work with. 

To make matters worse, it is not only preventing attacks that can be more difficult for SMBs, they may also find it more difficult to handle a successful attack due to their lack of resources: This includes reputation management, dealing with regulators (and the need to know if, when, and how to report an incident), along with how to effectively communicate issues with customers, partners, and suppliers etc. 

When you consider these points, it is easy to see how SMBs can have a hard time dealing with the consequences of cyber attacks such as lost customer trust, reputational damage, and financial losses.  

Security threats for SMBs 

A common approach used by cybercriminals in an SMB cyber attack is exploiting any vulnerabilities within your systems, such as software that lacks security updates. Cybercriminals then use these vulnerabilities to attack your IT systems using different methods and technologies. These include viruses that can covertly take control of your systems, spy on your sensitive data and activities, or enable the criminals to steal money or resources from you. Often associated with this is the demand for a ransom in order for you to get your data back or for your blocked IT systems to be operational again.  

A very common form of cyber attack is social engineering. Here, human characteristics such as trust or respect are exploited. Cybercriminals pose as respected or authoritative parties in order to obtain sensitive information through your employees. 

Careless internal practises can also easily put sensitive information into the hands of unauthorised people, such as the use of easily guessed passwords or notes/reminders used around the office which can easily be read or stolen.  

Prevention is better than a cure 

Whilst the array of potential cyberthreats can appear intimidating, understanding the basics of how cybercriminals behave, and your potential vulnerabilities is a good way to plan your defence efforts.  

First, put the cybersecurity topic at the top of your agenda and make cybersecurity a boardroom agenda item, because not only can the consequences of a cyber attack affect the whole organisation, but there are also serious penalties under NIS2 and GDPR. Therefore, it is important that the senior team is immediately informed of any such attack and oversees defences and mitigation. Also, have a plan in place for the worst-case scenario in case you become a victim of an attack.  

Crucially though, unless you are an expert in cybersecurity yourself and know how to implement measures such as patch management, password management policy or multi-factor authentication, you will need to find a trusted professional IT security partner to be by your side. They will take care of the right measures to prevent a successful attack. 


Patch management: Ensuring your business’s software is always up to date, with updates installed (known as ‘Patches’ because they seal any gaps in security or performance), as soon as they are available, to ensure protection against the latest known threats.  

Password management policy: Can define, for example, the minimum password length or forced reset of passwords at regular periods etc. 

Multi-factor authentication: Can include a combination of authentication methods such as a password/PIN, a code sent to a smartphone, and a fingerprint or facial recognition.  

Legal considerations 

As well as protecting your own organisation’s operations, you also need to be mindful of protecting your stored customers and partners data and to adhere to all relevant data and cyber security regulations such as NIS2 and GDPR.

Whilst GDPR has been in force since 2018 and is firmly in the collective consciousness, the EU’s updated Network and Information Security Directive (NIS2) came into force on January 16, 2023, and the new rules will be enshrined in all EU states' law by October 2024. Worryingly, just a third (34%) of organisations are prepared for it.

If personal data is lost or stolen and adequate safeguards are not in place, it can result in substantial fines and a loss of reputation and trust. 

Should you take out a cyber insurance policy? 

Undoubtedly the financial fallout from a cyber attack can be extremely expensive. Small businesses spend an average of $955,000 per attack on restoring normal operations, a cost few SMBs can absorb without seriously impacting the business.

Despite this, many SMBs still lack cyber insurance protection. In the UK for example, 56.2% of medium-sized businesses, 40.0% of small businesses and 16.8% of micro businesses had a cyber insurance policy in 2022

Given the constantly evolving threat landscape, having a cyber insurance policy is to be strongly encouraged, to help organisations cover the huge cost of a cyber attack (legal costs, crisis communications, compensation to affected third parties etc.).  

However, the impact of an attack on operations and reputation far exceeds what is covered by insurance. Therefore, it is imperative that a business has adequate safeguards to defend against and mitigate the impact of a cyber attack. In fact, it will be a challenge to obtain a suitable insurance policy without it, as insurers are understandably reluctant to underwrite a customer that doesn’t have suitable measures in place to prevent or at least dissuade a cyber attack. 

Put simply, cyber insurance is not an alternative to a robust security infrastructure and management but is rather a complementary safeguard should an attack get past defences and be successful in its aims. 

Get professional support from an expert security partner 

Whilst this advice will give you a better understanding of cybersecurity risks, many SMBs lack the resources to deliver their own security and will therefore need to find a suitable partner that understands their pain points, and needs, whilst delivering the professional advice and technical knowledge to ensure a suitable and affordable security solution is in place. 

Konica Minolta fully understands and has 20 years of experience in catering for the security needs of SMBs. We have an impressive pool of IT expertise, from cybersecurity and networking to fully managed print solutions, Intelligent Video solutions, and the latest highly secure cloud solutions for full backup peace of mind.  

Our team will help you to explore your security requirements to find the right solutions for your budget and needs, based upon informed decision making and full consideration of ROI. Because these needs will continue to evolve and grow with your business, this also includes ongoing evaluation and review to ensure your security matches this too. 

For further help and support with your business’s IT security needs, please visit our IT Security website.

Help with your cybersecurity requirements

For further help and support with your business' IT security needs, please download your free cybersecurity guide.
This may also be interesting for you:

1,000 days of GDPR: what have businesses learned?

GDPR compliance can be challenging. Streamline your efforts and reduce your...


How remote work is transforming cybersecurity

As organizations of all sizes extend their commitment to supporting remote...


Understanding the five key phases of a hacking attack to fortify your business IT

The term ‘Hacking’ has been in the public consciousness for decades and the...