10 Reasons Hackers Target SMBs

Hackers targeting SMBs

If you’ve never been hacked yourself, you might assume that only large businesses or financial institutions are targets for hackers. After all, they’re the ones with lots of cash, and the ability to pay ransom. Right?

That’s only part of the picture. Contrary to common belief, SMBs are increasingly becoming prime targets for cybercriminals. This article covers ten reasons why your business might be more vulnerable to cyberattacks than you realize, with sources and statistics to back them up. Understanding these risks is the first step towards safeguarding your company’s future.

Reason 1: Less Sophisticated Security Measures

SMBs often lack advanced security systems compared to larger corporations, making them easier targets for cyberattacks. A staggering 51% of small businesses have no cybersecurity measures in place at all​​. This lack of sophistication in security measures makes SMBs more vulnerable to attacks. For instance, only 20% of small businesses have implemented multi-factor authentication, a basic security feature​​.

Reason 2: Limited Cybersecurity Knowledge and Training

Many SMBs suffer from a lack of in-depth cybersecurity knowledge and training among staff. The cybersecurity landscape is complex and ever-evolving, requiring continuous education and awareness. Unfortunately, SMBs often do not have dedicated IT support, much less cybersecurity expertise​​. This gap in knowledge and training leaves them susceptible to common cyber threats like phishing and social engineering attacks. In fact, employees of small businesses experience 350% more social engineering attacks than those at larger enterprises​​.

Reason 3: Valuable Data

Despite their size, SMBs possess valuable customer and business data, which is attractive to hackers. About 87% of small businesses have customer data that could be compromised in an attack​​. This data includes sensitive information like credit card details, social security numbers, and personal contact information. The potential for identity theft, financial fraud, and privacy violations makes SMBs lucrative targets for cybercriminals.

Reason 4: Weaker Network Security

Network security in SMBs often has significant gaps due to limited resources and expertise. Small businesses are more likely to have vulnerabilities in their network infrastructure, making them easy targets for hackers. A study by Positive Technologies found that cybercriminals could reliably penetrate 93% of organizations’ networks, with small and medium-sized businesses being particularly vulnerable due to weaker network security​​. This susceptibility stems from factors like inadequate firewall protection, unsecured Wi-Fi networks, and lack of network monitoring.

Reason 5: Lower Capacity for Recovery

SMBs generally have fewer resources for recovery after a cyberattack, which can lead to more severe long-term damage. In 2020, there were over 700,000 attacks against small businesses, totaling $2.8 billion in damages​​. The cost of cybersecurity incidents for SMBs can range between $826 and $653,587, significantly impacting businesses that often lack emergency funds or insurance to cover these expenses​​. This limited capacity for recovery not only affects their financial stability but also their ability to maintain customer trust and business continuity.

Reason 6: Overlooking Regular Updates and Patches

SMBs frequently overlook regular software updates and patches, leading to vulnerabilities in their systems. A report revealed that 57% of data breaches could have been prevented by installing an available patch​​. This oversight is often due to a lack of dedicated IT staff or the misconception that smaller businesses are not at risk. However, keeping software up to date is a crucial step in protecting against known vulnerabilities that hackers exploit.

Reason 7: Use of Outdated Technology

Many SMBs continue to use outdated technology, which can be easily exploited by hackers. Older systems often have unpatched security flaws and are no longer supported by vendors, leaving them open to cyberattacks. For example, a significant percentage of small businesses rely on free, consumer-grade cybersecurity solutions, which are not sufficient to protect against sophisticated cyber threats​​. The use of outdated technology not only exposes SMBs to cyber risks but also hinders their ability to compete in an increasingly digital marketplace.

Reason 8: Lack of Regular Security Audits

Many SMBs neglect the importance of regular security audits, increasing their risk of cyberattacks. Security audits are critical for identifying and addressing vulnerabilities, but they are often overlooked by small businesses. A study by Cybersecurity Magazine revealed that 83% of small and medium-sized businesses are not prepared to recover from the financial damages of a cyberattack, partly due to the absence of regular security assessments and proactive measures​​. Regular audits help in identifying potential security gaps and ensure that the cybersecurity measures in place are effective and up-to-date.

Reason 9: Insufficient Incident Response Plans

SMBs often lack comprehensive incident response plans, which are crucial in mitigating the impact of a cyberattack. An effective incident response plan outlines procedures for detecting, responding to, and recovering from cyber incidents. However, only a small percentage of small businesses consider their cybersecurity posture as highly effective, indicating a gap in preparedness for potential cyber incidents​​. Without a proper incident response plan, SMBs can suffer prolonged downtime, data loss, and damage to their reputation in the event of a security breach.

Reason 10: Underestimating the Risk of Cyberattacks

A common issue among SMBs is the underestimation of the risk of being targeted by cyberattacks. Many small business owners believe their business is too small to be attacked, with 59% of those with no cybersecurity measures in place holding this belief​​. This misconception leads to inadequate investment in cybersecurity measures and a lack of urgency in addressing potential threats. The reality, however, is that cybercriminals often target SMBs precisely because they are perceived as easier targets with less robust security measures.

More Alarming Statistics

The reality of the cybersecurity landscape for SMBs is stark. A study shows that 61% of SMBs were affected by cyberattacks​​. Additionally, 47% of businesses with fewer than 50 employees have no cybersecurity budget, and 59% of small business owners with no cybersecurity measures in place believe their business is too small to be attacked​​. This underestimation of risk and the consequent lack of preparedness make SMBs particularly vulnerable to cyber threats.


There’s already a lot of risks and challenges with owning a small business, and the risk of ransomware, data theft, and cyber breach can feel overwhelming. But the good news is that these challenges can be effectively managed with the right approach and tools. As a business owner, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to protect your company from cyber threats.

This is where Arch Access comes in as your trusted partner. With our comprehensive cybersecurity solutions tailored for SMBs, we can help you build a robust cybersecurity program that guards against a wide range of threats. From protecting sensitive data, ensuring compliance with industry standards, cyber risk insurance, and more, Arch Access is the trusted cybersecurity partner to help you build and test your Cyber Incident Response Plan when things are fine, and we’re here 24/7 to help when things go wrong. Contact us at sdeal@archaccess.com to learn more.