According to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023, the financial damage of a data breach averages out across the globe at $4.45 million. IBM also discovered that businesses incorporating AI (artificial intelligence) and automation in their security systems save $3 million in data breach costs. This is especially good news for small businesses with limited resources. With AI-powered cybersecurity solutions that proactively defend against cyberthreats, small businesses can fortify their cyber defenses and minimize the damage cyberthreats cause. 

What are the biggest cybersecurity threats facing SMBs?

Small businesses are frequent targets for cybercriminals, who employ increasingly sophisticated methods to gain access to their targets’ systems and data. Here are some common cybersecurity threats small businesses need to watch for:

  • Phishing: Attackers attempt to deceive people into sharing sensitive information such as passwords, bank details, or personal data by impersonating legitimate individuals or organizations and setting up fraudulent websites.
  • Malware: Malware is malicious software  designed to disrupt networks, gain remote access to computer systems, or steal sensitive information. Cybercriminals usually distribute malware using emails, unsecured websites, or corrupted USB drives. 
  • Insider threats: Insider threats come from anyone who has access to company systems and data, including employees and business partners. Insider threats can be anything from a rogue employee deliberately abusing their access privileges to a negligent worker who accidentally shared information with the wrong email recipients.
  • Ransomware: Ransomware attacks involve encrypting (or rendering unreadable or inaccessible) a victim’s data and demanding payment in exchange for the decryption key. Ransomware attacks can cause significant harm to small businesses in the form of data loss, operational disruptions, reputational damage, and financial losses.

How can AI counter these threats?

AI can help small businesses prevent or mitigate cyberthreats in a number of ways:

  • Threat detection and prevention: AI-powered cybersecurity’s biggest strength is its capacity to detect cyberthreats. AI security tools can continuously monitor network traffic and data patterns to detect suspicious activity and identify potential threats. This means AI-powered cybersecurity can handle far greater quantities of data at far faster speeds than non-AI cybersecurity. In turn, this means AI-backed cybersecurity is more likely to detect aberrations and infiltrators sooner. 
  • Vulnerability management: AI-augmented security scanners can pinpoint potential vulnerabilities within a company’s systems and applications. This information can be used to patch vulnerabilities and reduce the risk of attacks. 
  • User authentication and access control: AI-powered authentication systems can use biometrics, behavioral analysis, and other factors to verify user identities and prevent unauthorized access.
  • Incident response: AI can automatically respond to cybersecurity incidents by containing the potential threat, running data backup recovery procedures, and providing a detailed report about the source of the attack. This can help to reduce the impact of attacks and minimize downtime. In addition, because AI manages the more monotonous and tedious tasks, it prevents mistakes due to human error.
  • Security awareness training: AI can enhance security awareness training by generating personalized lessons and practical security exercises. For instance, companies can better simulate more targeted phishing scams to teach employees how persuasive and convincing these attacks can be.

Further benefits of using AI for cybersecurity

Small businesses can also enjoy the following benefits when they use AI cybersecurity tools: 

  • Reduced workload: Because AI can automate many cybersecurity tasks such as threat detection, vulnerability management, and incident response, it frees up security team to focus on more strategic initiatives.  
  • Improved scalability: AI-powered cybersecurity slutions can be scaled to meet any budget or operation. This makes AI a good option for small businesses with limited resources, as it allows them to scale up or down depending on business growth or circumstances.

If you want to learn more about AI cybersecurity and integrating it into your business, connect with PCA Technology Group today