Growing up in a fifth-generation mid-size construction business, there were many things I learnt, including how to keep the business up and running, what type of earth materials are best for different applications, how to drive a digger and importantly, the things that can shut down a business.
As the years went by, even our family business was not immune from so many challenges. There were challenges we had to keep up with, like digitization, the shift to automated Construction-Tech for most construction sites to stay competitive. We recently invested in a $10m intelligent cement production plant.
There’s also an ever more digitally savvy customer base that has shifted from interacting and purchasing in person or via phone, to online business. Now company data, ordering and tracking is all done via the company’s automated systems.
It was a sad surprise, a few weeks ago, when a very well-known window-manufacturing company in the area had been featured in the regional construction magazine for going bankrupt. My family business had engaged this company for years and had praised its solid management team.
When reading through the article, my astonishment deepened, however, my interest grew- how did this happen? The window company did not operate its business badly, it did not have weak revenue streams or an unproductive workforce, the only weak spot it had, was it did not protect its systems and networks from a cyber-attack. This is the case with so many SMBs.
The windows company had experienced a major cyber-attack a few months earlier, where client data was compromised, and business critical systems permanently shut down. Like 60% of businesses that suffer a cyber-attack, the window company was not able to recover from the attack and had to close its operations within 6 months of the incident.
What about the myth that cyber-attacks only hit big companies? That ship has sailed. My family business has since then ramped up on all fronts, got itself a solid cyber protection plan and purchased cyber insurance coverage. It also started to train its employees on cyber awareness. Every now and then a ‘visible attack’ such as a phishing email comes in, but thankfully, one of the company employees now knows how to identify these and warns others. Our family, while vigilant, also sleeps better with these measures and protection in place.
From one small business to another, cyber coverage and protection is important in 2020 and may be the difference between opening tomorrow and going out of business permanently.