CNBC surveys over 2,000 small businesses each quarter to get their thoughts on the overall business environment and their small business’ health. According to the latest CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey, despite repeated warnings by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the FBI that U.S.-based businesses are at an increased risk of a cyber-attack following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, small business owners do not believe that it is an actual risk that will affect them, and they are not prepared for an attack. The latest survey shows that only five percent of small business owners reported cybersecurity to be the biggest risk to their company.
What is unfortunate, but not surprising, is the fact that this is the same percentage of small business owners who recognized a cyber attack as the biggest risk a year ago. There has been no change in the perception among business owners, even though there are repeated, dire warnings from the government. Also unfortunate is the statistic that only 33 percent of business owners with one to four employees are concerned about a cyber attack this year. In contrast, 61 percent of business owners with more than 50 employees have the same concern.
According to CNBC, “this general lack of concern among small business owners diverges from the sentiment among the general public….In SurveyMonkey’s polling, 55% of people in the U.S. say they would be less likely to continue to do business with brands who are victims of a cyber attack.” CNBC’s conclusion is that there is a disconnect between business owners’ appreciation of how much customers care about data security and that “[s]mall businesses that fail to take the cyber threat seriously risk losing customers, or much more, if a real threat emerges.” Statistics show that threat actors are targeting small to medium-sized businesses to stay under the law enforcement radar. With such a large target on their backs, business owners may wish to make cybersecurity a priority. It’s important to keep customers.