Small businesses in the United States are increasingly worried about the $1 billion ransomware crisis, with 79 percent of small-business owners saying a presidential candidate's position on mitigating cyber-threats against their business will influence their vote in November.
These were among the findings of a Carbonite survey of small-business owners (SBOs), which also found more than two-thirds of SBOs say that they do not think either of the presidential candidates understand the concerns of a small-business owner.
Four in five said that regardless of who wins in November, they do not expect Washington to do anything to help their business.
"With the rising number of U.S. small businesses—now more than 28 million—small-business owners have a substantial voice and will impact the upcoming election more than ever before," Norman Guadagno, chief evangelist at Carbonite, told eWEEK. "The presidential candidates need to be placing more of an emphasis on both the issue of national cyber-security and the protection of small businesses—which can be largely considered the backbone of the American economy."
As small businesses are creating an entirely new data-based economy—which has the potential to fuel our country for years to come—the disconnect between SBOs and Washington must be resolved to ensure the two groups operate seamlessly toward the common goal of nationwide economic growth, he said.
The survey also found a growing number of small businesses (44 percent) believe the federal government should play a more active role in making sure small businesses protect their data.
In fact, more than one-third (36 percent) of respondents said they believe the government should mandate data backup procedures to avoid unnecessary data loss.
"The primary challenge starts with SMBs having limited budgets and resources dedicated to security," Guadagno said. "These companies often don't have the necessary resources to protect against the onslaught of new and evolving threats, like ransomware."
He said building on top of this, SMBs also don't have the experience or education to deal with hacking situations, noting that from the company's survey, more than half (54 percent) of respondents said they agree that if they were hacked from the outside, they wouldn't know what to do.
"New exploits pop-up every day and it's nearly impossible to predict how the threats will manifest themselves in the future," Guadagno said. "But there's one certainty—malicious actors will be targeting business data because they know it's increasingly becoming the single biggest asset to an organization."
The survey suggests that the majority (68 percent) of small businesses view data as their new currency, and there's a trend for more established, midsize companies warming up to the cloud for business purposes.
"The more these SMBs rely on web-based, cloud-cloud transactions, the more those transactions will be at risk," Guadagno said.