Best Internet Scrubbing Services for Small Business Owners

As a consultant who assists countless entrepreneurs and small business owners with technology issues, few threats concern me more than data exposure and privacy violations. Unlike big corporations with huge IT budgets, small companies rarely have the expertise or resources to adequately safeguard information.

And yet, startups and local SMBs face the same cyber threats as enterprise firms, including:

  • Data breaches that expose customer information
  • Phishing schemes seeking banking credentials
  • Ransomware that locks company systems
  • Hacks that cripple online infrastructure

These attacks carry massive financial consequences along with reputational damage that can instantly tank a business.

According to the Better Business Bureau, over 50% of small companies close permanently within 6 months of a cyber attack or data breach. And for those that survive an incident, 60% report significant profit losses over the subsequent year.

Beyond external threats, privacy and security missteps internally also endanger companies. Careless data handling practices that leak customer information or ill-advised security policies that enable theft can devastate SMB reputations.

In this article, we’ll explore the unique data protection challenges small companies face and review budget-friendly software, services, and techniques entrepreneurs can employ to better safeguard information.

Why Small Businesses Are Uniquely Vulnerable

The statistics paint a dire picture for small enterprises defending against cybercriminals:

  • Over 43% of online attacks target small businesses according to Verizon’s annual Data Breach Investigations Report
  • SMBs suffer a crippling average cost of $200,000 per cyberattack based on research from SecurityScorecard
  • Only 14% of local companies rate their ability to mitigate cyber risks as highly effective based on CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey

Unlike corporate juggernauts, most local startups and SMBs simply lack the expertise and financial resources to implement enterprise-grade security systems. Common deficiencies include:

No specialized IT staff

Entrepreneurs wear many hats–marketing director, sales manager, accountant–but rarely possess deep technical skills. Without dedicated IT talent monitoring systems, vulnerabilities go undetected and fixesunset.

Minimal cybersecurity software

Advanced solutions like intrusion detection, endpoint scanning tools, and next-gen antivirus utilize complex AI/automation to identify threats. Their high-cost places them out of reach for cash-strapped SMBs.

Limited employee training

Careless employees represent a top data breach vector. But most local companies can’t fund comprehensive security awareness programs to train staff on risks.

Non-existent data governance

Stringent policies and access controls govern data in big corporations. SMBs rarely enforce granular need-to-know access or data lifecycle management from creation to destruction.

Facing extreme cyber threats but lacking proper defenses, small businesses endure devastating breaches at alarming rates.

Financial and Reputational Carnage

For SMBs hanging on by a thread, a single cyber incident can mean lights out. But even those that survive attacks face lasting fiscal and reputational consequences.

Revenue Loss

Destroyed infrastructure, shaken customer confidence, and exfiltrated data all equate to sunk costs and lost sales post-breach. Per IBM’s 2021 Data Breach report, compromised companies experience 3.4 years of diminished revenue growth compared to industry peers.

Exorbitant Recovery Costs

Between specialized forensic teams, legal fees, fines, and technical upgrades, breach remediation is wildly expensive. Cyentia Institute pegs the average lifetime cost for small companies at $2.2 million per incident.

Brand Damage

Memory of violations stick in consumer minds. Research by Chamber Insights shows over 80% of customers lose trust in a company after a cybersecurity failure. That tattered credibility tanks sales and new customer acquisition for years.

Facing extreme threats but lacking proper security, over 60% of small businesses fold within 6 months following an attack. And for those that survive, full recovery can take years–if it happens at all.

Cost-Effective Security Strategies for SMBs

While comprehensive enterprise-grade systems remain financially out of reach, local startups and small companies can still adopt focused strategies to cut risk:

Prioritize Customer Data Protection

For most SMBs, sensitive client information like credit cards, healthcare records, or PII drive the highest liability and severest penalties in the event of a breach. Redoubling efforts specifically around securing these crown jewels using access controls, encryption, multi-factor authentication slashes risk substantially.

Implement Security Basics

Maintaining robust cyber hygiene blocks a majority of attacks. This includes mandating strong passwords, keeping software patched and updated, establishing prudent internet usage policies, training staff on phishing identification, properly configuring firewalls, and more.

Building these fundamental habits requires no fancy tools–just commitment. But consistently executing separates secure businesses from vulnerable ones.

Streamline Vendors and Services

Every piece of software and managed service with access to systems introduces potential risk. Regularly reviewing partners to strip unnecessary providers shrinks the attack surface. For truly sensitive data, restricting direct access to only the most vetted, trusted parties keeps things simple and secure.

Cleanup Digital Footprints

Just like personal reputation management, small businesses need to monitor and manage their digital presence to limit vulnerabilities. Cleanup services like BrandYourself or NetReputation delete or de-emphasize unwanted search engine results tied to a company name while emphasizing positive pages.

Proactively shaping what information surfaces online denies criminals useful reconnaissance for planning attacks. It also enables firms to highlight their strengths with customers researching them online.

While expensive tools and teams used by corporations remain unrealistic pursuits, dedicating resources to information security absolutes allows SMBs to gain decent protection. Matching security priorities to available budgets and talent makes progress entirely possible.

Affordable Privacy Protection for Small Companies

Along with general cybersecurity policies, privacy protection specifically should rank high among most SMB priorities:

  • Trust building: Customers need to know their data is valued and responsibly managed. Using key services signals commitment.
  • Risk reduction: Minimizing vulnerabilities by erasing digital breadcrumbs directly lowers odds of cyber incidents.
  • Penalty avoidance: Stringent regulations around consumer data security carry strict fines. Proactive compliance prevents violations.

Thankfully, specialized software makes privacy protection realistic even for the smallest startups by automating removal of personal information from online data brokers and people search sites.

Here are my top recommendations I suggest to SMB clients:


With reasonable subscription plans starting under $100 and integration with 2000+ data brokers, Incogni makes online footprint cleanup simple for entrepreneurs. The set-and-forget automation requires no manual efforts while delivering continuous results.

Abine DeleteMe

Similar extensive database integrations allow Abine DeleteMe to reliably search across top data aggregators and request record removal for maximum privacy protection at low monthly rates.


If you require personal hands-on help tailoring your brand’s online reputation and privacy strategies, BrandYourself offers custom consultation packages including detailed plans to manage online presence. Services run $99-$299 monthly.

Streamlined software combined with foundational cyber hygiene practices enable entrepreneurs to achieve solid data protection without six figure security budgets. Prioritizing customer information security while proactively managing privacy vulnerabilities slashes risk substantially.

Final Thoughts

While SMBs face distressingly high cyber incident rates, simple cost-conscious changes make substantial security and privacy improvements possible. As a trusted advisor to countless small business owners for over 20 years, I cannot overstate the value of taking proactive measures–even imperfect ones–to responsibly govern data.

Progress not perfection is key. Set reasonable milestones focused on securing sensitive assets, training staff, and addressing compliance. Work incrementally towards great cyber hygiene. Leverage privacy protection software to automate cleanup of online footprints.

No tool removes all vulnerabilities, but combining common sense contingency planning with the simplified solutions now available better equips entrepreneurs to defend their customers, assets, and reputations from both external and self-inflicted data threats.