As many news outlets have noted, 2017 was a remarkably bad year for cyber security. Between major data breaches leaking the personal information of millions on the Internet, and revelations that even the highest levels of government are not safe from hacking, the last year has shown that cyber attacks are a threat to everyone.

But while businesses of every size — and even private individuals — are finding themselves in the crosshairs of hackers and cyber criminals, many North Americans don’t really realize how many of their daily activities online open up channels through which malware, spyware, and ransomware can infect the very devices they use for communication, banking, and leisure. Even tools most users trust implicitly, like regular email and cloud storage, are not impervious to cyber attacks.

Small businesses are at particular risk from cyber attack, and often lack the resources to build their own internal security infrastructure. A study last year by IBM found that one in four companies will experience a data breach, and the average cost will be over $3 million; not only are small businesses the least able to defend themselves from cyber crime, they are also likely to be less capable of bouncing back after an attack.

This is why a growing number of small businesses are turning to PGP encryption to guarantee secure end-to-end communications. PGP encryption is impossible to crack, and by equipping employees with PGP enabled phones for company communications, businesses can drastically reduce their vulnerability to cyber crime.

Doing so requires special equipment: BlackBerry smartphones. Because people generally use their phones for a number of different functions, from surfing the web to updating social media to downloading files, there are many potential points at which cyber criminals can infect your device with malware that can access the decrypted information.

One of the key benefits of using an encrypted BlackBerry is that BlackBerry phones can have their functionality stripped down so only the PGP encryption software remains. Because the encryption is impossible to crack, once the phone’s use has been restricted, there is no opportunity for hackers to get around the encryption.

For many business owners, the minor costs associated with equipping their staff with PGP encrypted BlackBerrys are completely inconsequential compared to the potentially devastating cost of a data breach, especiallyin the case of companies that keep track of sensitive client information. A recent Financial Times story reported that on average, lapses in cyber security cost companies a staggering $11.7 million in 2017, mostly due to data breaches.

Cyber crime is quickly reaching epidemic proportions, and for that very reason, companies that are able to protect their sensitive information using the most sophisticated software available are perfectly positioned to benefit from the growing consumer backlash. Customers want to know that their information is safe, and PGP encryption is one of the best guarantees available that the confidential data they share with your companyis safe.