In the modern digital world, businesses increasingly face cyber threats that put their data, finances, and reputation at risk. For small and medium-sized companies (SMBs), the importance of cybersecurity can sometimes seem overwhelming. In this beginner’s guide, we will introduce you to the world of cybersecurity and help you understand why it is so essential for SMBs.

Why is Cybersecurity important for small businesses?

Limited resources

SMBs are an attractive target for cybercriminals because of their limited resources and sometimes lack of security measures. The lack of a solid cybersecurity strategy can be an easy way for criminals to exploit this. It is crucial for SMBs to be aware of the risks they face, even when they themselves think they are ‘not interesting enough’ for criminals. Research by the Ministry of Economic Affairs of The Netherlands shows that by 2022, at least one in 30 SMBs will have fallen victim to cybercrime.


Today, almost all companies store sensitive information in an (online) network. You can think of information such as company financial data, but also customer names and address details. Information that is of interest to criminals. Either to resell or extort companies to pay ransom in return for not distributing the data.

An attack does not always take place from the outside. It also comes from within the organization. And how do you protect yourself against this as an SMB? For example, do you have an offboarding procedure in place, so that former employees can no longer access your systems?

The consequences

Unauthorized access can result in data loss, financial damage, and loss of customer trust. This is also the case for small businesses. Especially when, as an SMB, you depend on just a few customers, a data breach can have far-reaching consequences.

Basics of Cybersecurity

Strong password policy

One of the first steps to reaching a solid cybersecurity state is to implement a strong password policy. Learn how to create strong and unique passwords and use password management tools to protect your (online) accounts from unauthorized access. Some tips we can already pass along are:

  • Do not use the same password for multiple accounts;
  • Avoid using personal details that are easy to find out, such as your dog’s name (e.g. via social media);
  • Create passphrases instead of passwords;
  • Change your passwords regularly.


It is important that employees are aware of the dangers they and the organization face. In the world of security, we call this ‘security awareness‘. With security awareness, you train employees to recognize and avoid suspicious e-mails, phishing attempts, and other forms of social engineering.

Protection of Devices and Networks

Furthermore, devices such as computers, laptops, and mobile devices are often the weak link in a company’s security. We call these devices ‘Endpoints’. As a company, it is important to implement security measures to protect these devices from malware, viruses, and other threats. For instance, prohibiting ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) can be a first step in mitigating risks.

Regular Updates and Backups

Regular software updates and backups are essential to quickly respond to a hack or data breach. Depending on the circumstances, you can resume business operations within hours if you set this up properly.

Cybersecurity tools for small businesses

Besides technical tools such as a firewall and VPN, for example, it is important to train your employees. Preferably, you should do this based on awareness training and phishing simulations.

Awareness training offers educational sessions to educate employees about potential threats, such as phishing, social engineering, and the safe use of company assets. By making employees aware and training them, they can play an important role in preventing security incidents. You turn your employees into a human firewall, so to speak.

Combining phishing simulations with regular security awareness training is an effective strategy to reduce the vulnerability of SMBs.

FAQ Cybersecurity for small businesses

Why do we need Cyber Security?

SMBs still often think that they are not an interesting target for cybercriminals. Nothing could be further from the truth. More and more companies store information in a network that can be accessed online. Adequate security is often still lacking among SMEs, making it relatively easy and therefore attractive for criminals to target these types of companies.