Top Cybersecurity News and Trends for Small Businesses

Published on
October 20, 2023
Top Cybersecurity News and Trends for Small Businesses
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For small and medium businesses, keeping pace with IT security can feel overwhelming. Limited budgets and personnel make implementing enterprise-grade defenses difficult. However, attackers are equally drawn to targeting smaller organizations with weaker protections. Staying informed on the latest cybersecurity news and trends impacting SMBs is key to making smart decisions that protect your business.

In this article, we’ll highlight some top stories and developments in cybersecurity field relevant to small businesses. Our goal is to distill need-to-know insights on emerging threats, cost-effective safeguards, regulations, security strategies and technologies tailored for SMBs. Being an educated information security consumer allows you to have more effective conversations with providers and prioritize the right protections.

Rising Ransomware Attacks on Small Business

Ransomware remains one of the top cybersecurity threats dominating recent headlines. The frequency and impact of ransomware attacks on businesses of all sizes is escalating dramatically. Verizon’s 2022 breach report reveals that ransomware incidents doubled year over year. But while the media focuses on high-profile attacks, small businesses are increasingly being targeted by cyber criminals.

Recent stories highlight ransom demands skyrocketing into the hundreds of thousands for SMBs. Attackers know they are often more vulnerable. For small businesses, a single ransomware attack can be catastrophic. Having offline backups, training staff on phishing, and security technologies like antivirus and firewalls are table stakes. But more advanced endpoint detection and response solutions are becoming essential to counter ransomware. Engaging managed service providers is another means for resource-constrained SMBs to get 24/7 monitoring and response.

Insurance for Cyber Attacks More Accessible

Another positive trend is that insurance for cyber attacks and data breaches is becoming more tailored and accessible for small businesses. Traditionally, premiums have been prohibitively high. But recognizing cyber risk as one of the top threats to SMBs, affordable policies are emerging that provide liability coverage and even ransomware response assistance. Insurance can aid with costs and lost income should an attack occur. When evaluating policies, it’s critical to read the fine print to understand exclusions and what events trigger coverage. Consulting IT providers to assess controls can help demonstrate diligence to insurance carriers.

Security Grant Opportunities Expanding

Given cybersecurity is a public concern affecting all businesses, grant programs are expanding to help SMBs implement defenses they otherwise could not afford. For example, the State of California offers $80 million in cybersecurity grants for small businesses. Qualifying organizations can receive up to $50,000 towards tools and training that reduce risk. Researching available federal, state, non-profit and even utility company grants can reveal options to fund security improvements. Local economic development groups may have insight into programs. Grants enable SMBs to get basic protections in place.

CISA Services Tailored for Small Biz

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) plays a critical role in U.S. cyber defense. Historically CISA has focused on large critical infrastructure. But recent efforts are tailoring some free services to small entities. For instance, CISA’s cyber hygiene scanning identifies external vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit. Their web vulnerability scanner helps smaller organizations pinpoint risks. CISA also offers ransomware readiness assessments. Tailoring guidance for SMBs is a welcome development that enables taking advantage of government cyber resources.

Accelerating Technology Advancements

On the technology front, there is exciting innovation occurring in IT security tailored for lean SMB IT teams. Gartner forecasts security spending will reach $172 billion in 2022, increasing 11% annually. Large vendors and new startups alike see the SMB segment opportunity. Key developments include:

  • Integrated Defense Ecosystems – Rather than disjointed tools, integrated suites combine endpoint, network, email, identity and cloud protections managed through a unified console. This consolidates visibility while automating threat response.
  • MDR (Managed Detection and Response) – Newer MDR services provide advanced, 24/7 threat monitoring, detection and containment by security experts at affordable monthly fees. Enables smaller organizations to tap enterprise-grade capabilities.
  • SD-WAN Security - Software-defined wide area network solutions simplify deploying firewall protection, web security, and other controls across distributed workforces.
  • Passwordless Authentication - Innovative passwordless login options like biometrics and tokens eliminate compromised credentials threat vector.
  • Cyber Insurance Integrations - Carriers reward use of technologies like MDR with insurance discounts and coverage for incidents.

Smaller businesses are benefiting from innovation making enterprise-grade security achievable at reasonable cost. But it still pays to research thoroughly and partner strategically with providers that understand the SMB landscape.

New State Privacy and Security Laws Emerging

While the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gets frequent attention, many U.S. states are enacting their own privacy and cybersecurity legislation. Most notable is the California Consumer Privacy Act which imposes requirements similar to GDPR for protecting personal information of state residents. With CCPA as a template, states like Virginia, Colorado, Utah and Connecticut have since passed comprehensive consumer privacy laws with provisions like data access rights and breach notification. Meanwhile, states including Alabama and Louisiana have put cybersecurity laws in place mandating controls for sectors like insurance and healthcare. If operating in multiple states, keeping abreast of emerging cyber regulations is imperative.

Remote Workforce Growth Necessitates Zero Trust

The massive shift towards employees working from home over the past few years provides no signs of reversing course. A recent Forrester survey found 60% of workers want flexibility to work remote going forward. While remote work provides benefits, it also creates major cybersecurity challenges. Home networks and devices are outside traditional corporate security controls. To address this, implementing a zero trust model has become a top priority. Zero trust principles mean no user or device is implicitly trusted. All connections must be verified and secured. Capabilities like multi-factor authentication and micro-segmentation are foundational to zero trust. Cybersecurity must be rearchitected for permanent hybrid remote work.

Cybersecurity Talent Shortage Remains Severe

In closing, the cybersecurity talent crunch we’ve discussed previously remains perhaps the industry’s greatest long-term threat. Studies project the global gap between open cybersecurity jobs and qualified staff will exceed 3 million in the next few years. Combined with the Great Resignation, organizations of all sizes are struggling to attract and retain skilled IT security staff. While technology can offset some pressures, creative approaches to talent development like apprenticeships and training programs are needed long-term. University cybersecurity degree programs are expanding. But demand will likely continue exceeding supply for many years.

Staying current with cybersecurity news and advancements lets SMBs make smart, risk-based decisions on where to allocate limited security budgets and resources. It enables identifying emerging threats and cost-effective solutions to counter them. Keep cultivating cyber security knowledge – the threat landscape will only intensify. Expert partners like Level Up Security can also advise on translating cyber developments into pragmatic action plans tailored for SMBs. Don’t allow your small business to become the next security headline.


While large enterprises capture the lion’s share of cybersecurity media coverage, SMBs face just as much risk. By staying updated on news like rising ransomware attacks, new regulatory requirements, remote work impacts, and security technology innovations relevant to small business, leaders can make informed strategic decisions. Knowledge allows SMBs to implement the right protections and partnerships for their unique risk profile and budget constraints. Continuously cultivating cybersecurity acumen is imperative to operate securely in our increasingly digital world.