When Size Is a Drawback: 3 IT Risks Enterprises Face (and Small Businesses Don't)

Posted by Gary Utley on July 9, 2019

Larger enterprises may have superior IT security than small and medium-sized companies (SMBs), but they're also substantially larger targets. There's a reason why many enterprise-level companies have a "war room": a dedicated section of their IT department that's focused on detecting and mitigating risks. There are some risks that larger companies face that smaller ones simply don't, which is why enterprise security solutions are a necessity.

Here are a few risks larger companies need to watch for, especially as they grow from smaller ones.

More Points of Failure

As the saying goes, the largest number of people who can keep a secret is “one.” Consider Bob, a small business owner in Charlotte, NC who builds custom PCs. He may have an assistant or two, but otherwise, he does all his work himself. He knows that no one else has his passwords or information; he knows that no one can access his accounts with legitimate credentials.

But if Bob's business grows to span three different offices, with hundreds of employees, each of these employees will have passwords. Each of them will have access to the company's files, with varying degrees of seniority.

Each of those companies is going to be a potential access point for a malicious criminal. If even one of those hundreds of employees is compromised, all their employee data may be compromised, as well. And that employee's account could be used to gain even further access. 

Consequently, there's a vulnerability in being larger. Enterprise-level businesses can control who can see information through tools such as Microsoft AIP, but they still need to be aware of the risks. The more the system can be automated to detect potential security breaches, however, the better. Remember: Employees are the biggest point of vulnerability when it comes to system privacy and security.

Obscurity = Safety

There is some safety in simply being an unknown. Most people aren't going to be hacking Bob's small, one-office computer shop, because they haven't heard of it. Even if they have, for some reason, heard of Bob, they also aren't going to imagine he has much by way of resources. This is really the biggest advantage a company can have in terms of cybersecurity: Few people are even trying to attack them.

But the larger Bob's business gets, the more he will become a target. More cybercriminals will hear about his business, and more of them will be attracted to the idea of attacking it. Large, global enterprises are under a constant fusillade of attacks. Some of them are random, but many of them are targeted, specifically because their business is large and well-known.

In fact, there was a famous case recently in which a social engineer was able to steal millions from some of the largest companies in the world by sending fake invoices. This would not have worked for smaller, less well-known companies: Bob probably knows every one of his vendors by name.

Screwing Up Has Major Consequences

A small business typically only has itself to protect. If Bob's computer shop is a sole proprietorship, with only him as an employee, it's only his information that's at risk. A criminal attacker might walk away with his personal financial information, and they could potentially consider trying to steal his identity, but that's it. Even if Bob does have a few employees, the number of records stolen are likely to be counted on one hand.

But if Bob's business grows, he could have access to thousands of peoples' information. Employees, vendors, and customers could all be at risk, all with potentially personally identifiable information located somewhere deep within Bob's databases. This is what drives up the cost of a data breach: Data breach costs are often counted by the amount of records that have been breached.

So now what could have been a small snafu (and a freezing of Bob's own credit report) has turned into a dramatically different situation, where Bob's multi-national company is now going to have to hire lawyers, pay fines and penalties, and so forth. It could amount to millions. 

Key Takeaways

Once your business scales upwards, it faces an array of new challenges — challenges it may need enterprise security solutions to meet. Your enterprise-level business will be on a drastically different playing field than a SMB. Not only will you be a larger target for potential attackers, but you will have a larger canvas to secure.

But that doesn't mean that you need to accept these new risks. By being proactive with your enterprise data security, you can reduce your chances of being compromised. 

Don’t be taken off guard by risks you could have seen coming, but didn’t. Contact CWPS today to learn how you can assess your business’ IT infrastructure and start on your managed IT services journey.

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