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7 Startling Stats That Highlight the Importance of Cybersecurity

In the modern business world, the internet has become a true force to be reckoned with and its influence and power have become nearly impossible for savvy business owners to ignore. The World Wide Web ranks among the top influencers of today’s connected consumers and an ever-growing share of everyday commercial transactions are moving into the online space. In fact, according to KPMG research, 55 percent of today’s consumers consult online reviews and recommendations before going through with a purchase and estimates indicate that e-commerce will account for 95 percent of all purchases by 2040.

Of course, for these reasons and many others, harnessing the internet and its capabilities can bring immeasurable benefits to modern entrepreneurs. But inevitably, with the rise in the web’s popularity and with more connected businesses and consumers, the opportunities for cyber-criminals have also ballooned.

IBM Chairman, President and CEO Virginia M. Rometty effectively summed up the stakes with this statement at the 2015 IBM Security Summit in New York City: “Cybercrime, by definition, is the greatest threat to every profession, every industry, and every company in the world.”

Business owners — whether running a major global enterprise that already boasts widespread internet integration or heading a start-up that’s just launching its first business website — would be wise to consider these seven startling statistics related to cyber threats in the modern business world:

  • On average, hackers attack internet-connected computers once every 39 seconds. According to research by the University of Maryland’s Clark School of Engineering, “brute force” hackers using software to attack vast numbers of connected computers at once averaged 2,244 attacks per day on the computers used in the study.
  • By 2020, there will be more than four internet-connected devices for every human on Earth. The Business Insider report making the prediction notes that these devices have gone beyond computers to include smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, TVs, thermostats and more — all of which can offer hackers a hard-to-secure window into the devices’ computer networks.
  • Small businesses are top targets of cyber attacks. According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, small businesses are victimized in 43 percent of internet breaches and 71 percent of internet breaches are financially motivated. In 39 percent of breach cases, organized criminal groups are behind the illegal activity and 56 percent of breaches took months or longer to discover.
  • In a recent study, more than half of U.S. businesses reported being hacked during the preceding 12 months. The nationwide survey by the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company found that 53 percent of responding companies were hacked in the previous year and 72 percent of the victimized companies spent more than $5,000 investigating the attacks and dealing with the consequences.
  • By 2021, global spending on cybersecurity is expected to exceed $1 trillion. Further, according to the same 2018 report from Cybersecurity Ventures, the costs of cybercrime to global businesses will exceed $6 trillion a year by 2021.
  • 60 percent of small enterprises that fall victim to cyber attacks go out of business within six months. The reason is understandable — according to the Ponemon Institute, small businesses must spend an average of $690,000 to remedy the problems caused by a cyber attack.
  • Just 14 percent of small businesses consider their protection against cyber risks to be highly effective. The biggest concern of these business owners isprotecting consumer data.

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