How to Protect Your Small Business as Cybersecurity Threats Rise
This article was expertly crafted by David Share of Amazing Support. A leading IT Support Company in Manchester
In the era of remote working, cybersecurity has become more important than ever. But large corporations aren’t the only ones at risk of cybercrime. Small businesses are often the target of hackers and cybercriminals – and the effects of a cyberattack are much more devastating to a small company than a large one.
Learn why your small business could be susceptible to cybercrime and how to lower your chances of becoming a target.
Cybersecurity Threats for Small Businesses
INTERPOL released a report in August 2020 stating that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) might not be the most targeted entities for cybercrimes currently. Apparently, hackers and criminals are focussing instead on maximising their damage in light of the COVID-19 outbreak – going after corporations, large infrastructure networks, and huge remote organisations.
Does that mean SMEs are off the hook when it comes to cybersecurity? Definitely not. Just because the general picture paints larger entities as likelier targets, doesn’t mean small businesses can afford to let their guard down.
Cybersecurity remains a serious issue for SMEs. Consider the following statistics:
- 43 percent of SMEs lack a cybersecurity defence plan
- 63 percent of SMEs have experienced a data breach in the last 12 months
- Small organizations spend, on average, $7.68 million per insider-related cyber incident
- 70 percent of SMEs’ employee passwords were stolen or lost
- 14 percent of small businesses consider their ability to mitigate cyber risks as highly effective
- 47 percent of small businesses say they have no understanding of how to protect themselves against cyber attack
- 3 out of 4 SMEs report they don’t have the personnel to address IT security
- 46 percent of SMEs (less than 1,000 employees) had breach-related downtime amounting to between 5-16 hours in 2019
- 60 percent of small businesses say they’re too small for a cyberattack
Cybercrime can cost your SME time, money – and even your business. Small businesses have long been the targets of cybercriminals because they’re believed to lack the IT infrastructure and resources to adequately protect themselves. In recent years, however, many SMEs have been able to take advantage of cloud-based IT security services, SaaS solutions, and other resources that bring the costs of cybersecurity down.
But many small businesses remain unprotected. The first step is acknowledging that risks exist – staying unaware of potential threats to your business will only make it worse when you do suffer a cyber incident. After realising you can take action, the next thing you can do is follow these six tips to protect your business.
How to Counter Cybersecurity Threats to Your Small Business
Human error caused 90 percent of cyber data breaches in the UK in 2019. No matter how strong your firewalls are, how robust your risk assessment reporting is, you’re still liable to cyber incidents if you employ human beings. Phishing – sending malicious emails disguised as authentic ones to obtain sensitive personal information – has become a particularly big problem in recent years. Regularly hold training sessions for your staff to inform them on security best practices. If you’re operating remotely, those sessions should be more frequent and geared toward remote cyber risks.
Secure Company Devices
If your employees use company-issued laptops, tablets, or smartphones, these devices should be secured before they even leave the office. You can install firewalls, turn on device tracking, and even add software that will wipe the device completely if it’s lost or stolen.
Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software
Anti-virus and anti-malware software are inexpensive security solutions for small businesses. A little protection can go a long way. Look for the latest versions of these software and always keep them up to date. Other low-cost features like file encryption can also help deter hackers.
Conduct Risk Assessments
It’s hard to know how to protect your data when you don’t know what you’re protecting. Risk assessments give you a clear picture of your company’s networks, systems, and infrastructure. You can carry out a risk assessment by identifying where your data is stored and who might have access to it. If you don’t know how to carry out a cyber risk assessment or don’t have the IT personnel to do it, you can always outsource to an IT support company that specializes in cybersecurity, like Manchester-based Amazing Support.
Backup and Disaster Recovery
Always keep your data backed up, in at least four different locations. Ensure one of these is off-site in case there’s an accident at your office building. Disaster comes in many forms – cyber attacks included. Reduce downtime caused by a cyber incident with your backup data.
Final Thoughts on Protecting Your Small Business
Cybersecurity has become a top priority for small businesses. Even though SMEs are starting to invest more heavily in cyber protection, and the coronavirus pandemic has shifted attention toward larger organisations, many SMEs still don’t have the protection they need. If you’re a small business owner, follow these tips to boost your cybersecurity efforts and you’ll be off to a great start.
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