Small business owners remain woefully underprepared to address the risk of cyber attacks and respond when they happen, Nationwide found in a new survey.
Just 22 percent of respondents said that they had a cyber-attack response plan in place. Approximately 23 percent said they had a dedicated crisis communication plan – something that many larger companies rely on in the wake of data breaches or cyber attacks.
Nationwide found, on the other hand, that 42 percent of small business respondents had a plan in place to protect customer data, 40 percent were ready to protect employee data, and 32 percent had a disaster recovery plan.
Part of the issue may be age. The Nationwide survey, for example, found that more millennials (42 percent) then Gen X (17 percent) or baby boomer (12 percent) small business owners had a cyber response attack plan in place. But there also could be a disconnect among small business owners that don’t feel they have cyber risks that match their larger company counterparts.
About 41 percent of small business owners said they believed cyber attacks happen more often to large businesses. Close to half, about 46 percent, feel that cyber attacks happen evenly in both small and large businesses, a number up from 38 percent in 2015, Nationwide said.
Millennials More Savvy About Cyber Attacks
Again, millennials are more likely to be self-aware about small business cyber attack risks than their older compatriots. About 26 percent of millennials thought that cyber attacks would happen more frequently in small businesses, versus 17 percent for Gen X small business owners, and 5 percent for baby boomers.
As far as concern about a potential cyber attack, small business owners fall behind here, too. Nationwide found that 32 percent of respondents were not at all concerned about a potential cyber attack, and 41 percent were somewhat concerned. About 17 percent were “concerned,” and 10 percent very concerned.
As well, larger companies (86 percent) and mid-sized companies (88 percent) were more likely to be worried about a potential cyber attack then smaller company rivals (59 percent). Millennials win out here, too, with 26 percent of millennial small business owners very concerned about a possible cyber attack. Only 8 percent of their Gen X counterparts felt the same way, as did 7 percent of baby boomers.
Small Business Owners Believe Cyber Attack Risk Remains Small
In the end, small business owners often don’t feel like they are at risk from a future cyber attack. About 53 percent of respondents said that an attack wasn’t likely, and 34 percent said it was somewhat likely.
Approximately 34 percent of millennials, however, believed their businesses were likely or very likely to be hit by a future cyber attack. Just 17 percent of Gen X small business owners felt the same way, with just 1 percent of baby boomers believing in a high risk of attack.
Nationwide conducted its survey online from June 10-23, 2016, working with Harris Poll Online. Reponses came from 502 U.S. small business owners whose companies had less than 300 employees. For the purpose of the survey, a smaller company is defined as one with 50 employees or less. Mid-sized companies hve 50-00 employees, and larger companies have 100-299 employees.