Not all SMBs share the same cyber fears


Thought Leadership

Not all SMBs share the same cyber fears


This should not be a big surprise, that small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in different sectors have varying cybersecurity concerns. Not all SMBs are created equal; they have different business models, use and transmit their data differently, which at times are also stored differently. These and other factors could expose different SMBs to dissimilar cyber vulnerabilities, and cultivate different fears in their executives.

From the latest AppRiver Cyberthreat Index for Business Survey conducted in Q1 2019, results show that while virus is considered the most feared cyberthreat to nearly half (44%) of all nonprofit SMBs, it is only feared by 9% of telecom SMB executives, making it one of the least threatening cyber concerns in that sector. 

virus vs ransomware

Conversely, ransomware is feared most by only 11% of all healthcare and pharmaceutical SMBs, but 36% of telecom SMBs say ransomware would be the most detrimental cyberattack they could suffer.

The disparity between the fear of ransomware felt by healthcare vs. the telecom sector could be tied directly to what they believe would be most disruptive and/or costly to their business. In the case of healthcare, their biggest fear may be suffering a breach and having detailed medical records stolen. At the same time an industry like telecom might most fear the potential for service disruptions that a widespread ransomware attack might create. Another possibility is that the verticals with lower level of concern for ransomware are the industries that have more confidence in their preparedness, having a more detailed back-up strategy that could diminish or minimize potential damages in case of a ransomware attack.


The AppRiver Cyberthreat Index for Business Survey is one of the most comprehensive cybersecurity attitudinal surveys of the U.S. business community, generating participation in Q1 2019 from 1,059 small-to-medium sized business leaders and IT decision makers, among which 48 percent hold CEO, president, owner, head of IT, or equivalent titles. To see more findings from the survey or learn about its methodology, Please visit