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Press Releases

September 18, 2019 |

New Research from AppRiver Reveals SMBs Severely Underestimate the Damaging Consequences of Successful Cyberattacks

AppRiver’s Q3 Cyberthreat Index for Business Survey Reveals a Troublesome Gap Between SMBs’ Threat Risk Perceptions and Reality

September 18, 2019 08:35 AM Eastern Daylight Time

GULF BREEZE, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AppRiver, a Zix (NASDAQ: ZIXI) company and leading channel-first provider of security, productivity and compliance solutions, today announced the findings of its Q3 Cyberthreat Index for Business Survey, revealing the extent to which small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) underestimate the impact of today’s cybersecurity threats. The survey polled 1,083 cybersecurity decision-makers in U.S. SMBs (fewer than 250 employees), covering a diverse range of industry sectors.

“Fatalism and a false sense of security are signs that they need more straightforward education and awareness. The threats are very real and the stakes are incredibly high, but there are simple ways to make startups and early stage companies much harder targets.”

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The findings expose a common misconception among SMBs surrounding the financial impact a cyberattack can have on their business. According to the survey, two out of three smaller SMBs (67 percent) with 1 to 49 employees believe they will sustain total damages under $25,000 in the event of a successful cyberattack. Over half of these SMBs (55 percent) went as far as to say they would sustain less than $10,000 in damages. In reality, the average cost of a data breach for SMBs in North America is estimated to be $149,000.

Respondents were reminded to consider total estimated damages, including costs of data retrieval, system repairs and upgrades, lost businesses, potential ransom payment, PR and damage control, potential lawsuits, and compensation to customers.

Despite the prevalence of cybersecurity incidents within SMBs (72 percent reported phishing attempts on their business in the last three months) the survey demonstrates that the majority of SMBs are slow to address known vulnerabilities.

Only 38 percent of all survey respondents claim that they apply patches immediately once available – a finding that is consistent among all industries surveyed, including those that handle highly sensitive data, such as healthcare/pharmaceuticals (36 percent), government (36 percent), legal (38 percent) and retail (34 percent).

Beyond patch management, the survey findings indicate that some SMBs are failing to continually improve their cybersecurity readiness overall. Roughly one-third (32 percent) of respondents at smaller SMBs say they “have not done much” to improve their cyber preparedness since 2018. Nevertheless, among these respondents, 37 percent still believe they are in better shape now than last year, and that they believe cybercriminals have done even less to improve their tactics during this period.

“Nearly two decades of constant fear-based messages have taken their toll on smaller SMBs,” said Geoff Bibby, vice president of marketing for Zix. “Fatalism and a false sense of security are signs that they need more straightforward education and awareness. The threats are very real and the stakes are incredibly high, but there are simple ways to make startups and early stage companies much harder targets.”

The quarterly AppRiver Cyberthreat Index for Business Survey measures SMB decision-maker attitudes and experiences across a variety of cybersecurity-related dimensions, culminating in a score that can be analyzed for change over time.

For the first time since the survey’s inception in Q1 2019, the Q3 Index score tipped over the 60-point mark, registering at 60.5 on a 100-point scale and indicating a trend of higher alert among SMBs as compared to Q1 and Q2 of 2019.

“In the wake of major cybersecurity crises this year – from American Medical Collection Agency breach to the continual hits we’ve seen on local governments in places like Maryland, Florida, and most recently, Texas – it’s not surprising that most small businesses and the public at large are increasingly concerned,” said Troy Gill, manager of security research at AppRiver. “The challenge is in helping them translate that concern into positive action rather than passive acceptance.”

The complete Q3 Cyberthreat Index for Business Survey report can be downloaded here

About AppRiver
AppRiver, a Zix company, is a channel-first provider of cloud-enabled security and productivity services, with a 4,500-strong reseller community that protects 60,000 companies worldwide against a growing list of dangerous online threats. Among the world’s top Office 365 and Secure Hosted Exchange providers, the company’s brand is built on highly effective security services backed by 24/7 white-glove Phenomenal CareÆ customer service. AppRiver is headquartered in Gulf Breeze, Florida and maintains offices in Georgia, Texas, New York, Canada, Switzerland, and the U.K. For more information, please visit

About Zix Corporation

Zix Corporation (Zix) is a leader in email security. Trusted by the nation’s most influential institutions in healthcare, finance and government, Zix delivers a superior experience and easy-to-use solutions for email encryption and data loss prevention, advanced threat protection, unified information archiving and mobile security. Focusing on the protection of business communication, Zix enables its customers to better secure data and meet compliance needs. Zix is publicly traded on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol ZIXI. For more information, visit


AppRiver Media Contact
Hanah Johnson
(617) 960-8892

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