With the changing digital landscape and sophisticated technology, even small and medium enterprises are being targeted by hackers Over the years, the cybersecurity threats have become worse and as of 2018, data breaches have increased to 140% resulting in 3.3 billion compromised data records.
Identity theft continues to remain the major data breach threat but in addition enterprises are faced with additional security concerns including phishing, ransomware, DDoS attacks and malware attacks. It is essential for SMB’s to address these different types of threats and use enhanced security measures to ensure privacy and protection of their data.
Why SMBs are concerned about cybersecurity issues?
Today both small, and medium enterprises have started realizing how they can be victims of growing cyber-attacks which earlier was thought to impact only big enterprises. As per Cisco’s cybersecurity report, 2018, it was found that 53% of mid-market companies across 26 countries faced data breach issues. The major security challenges for these companies were in the form of phishing attacks, ransomware threats, DDoS attacks including malware threats.
Let us look at some of the key reasons behind their growing awareness about cybersecurity threats:
-Growth of IOT devices
The increasing number of cyber-attacks and disruptive technologies such as IOT have posed several challenges to small businesses in protecting their information assets. In addition, cyber-attacks can prove costly to organizations in terms of financial damages as well as loss of business reputation. Cyber-attacks are affecting SMB’s with new and sophisticated methods being used to target these enterprises with increasing number of ransomware incidents.
Personal information such as passwords are compromised since most of these companies do not have strict password policies in place. Furthermore, there is lack of clarity regarding password practices used by employees which continue to pose bigger threats related to data breaches. As per reports by Juniper research in 2019, cybercrimes have amounted to trillions of dollars to companies and as per estimates, global spending on cyber security is set to reach $10 billion.
–Lack of network security and cyber security policies
Small and medium businesses are perceived to be easy targets by cyber criminals as internal attacks are quite common with employees having access to networks or sensitive data. Sometimes, small, and medium enterprises lack cyber security practices and awareness regarding security and technologies or may not be trained to implement them which could pose additional threat to such organizations.
–Need to protect personal information of customers
Companies need to be able to protect the valuable personal data and information related to their customers. Thus, they need to be careful in handling sensitive information and ensure that their website is safe and secure for conducting transactions. Most customers prefer to trust websites which are safe and providing a high level of encryption and security is key to maintaining confidentiality and privacy of information. SSL Certificate can go a long way in protecting the integrity of your business by encrypting communication between the browser and server.
–Growth of malware threats
Malware can pose significant issues for SMBs as hackers use advanced and sophisticated software that may not be traceable using traditional detection mechanisms. Cyber attackers use malicious software to introduce them into the victim’s computer system to result in damage or have unauthorized access to data.
Trojans, spyware, viruses, and worms including ransomware are some of the common cyber threats. Zero-day attacks can be worse as they target unknown flaws in the software or systems which may be explored by hackers even before they might be found out by developers or security staff.
Cybersecurity tips for SMBs to prevent cybercrime activities
- Use firewall software
The best line of defense against cyber-attacks among enterprises is setting up of firewalls for increased protection. In addition to the external firewall, its essential to have internal firewalls for added protection. Employees working from home might also need to consider using a firewall software. Companies need to ensure that their employees adhere to password policies which are safe and devices accessing the company’s network remain safe and secure.
- Have a security audit
One of the best ways to prevent the incidences of cyber-attacks is by recognizing the vulnerabilities that exist in your internal system and assess the threats. There could be some security issues that may need to be fixed and a security audit can prove to be useful in identifying the problems, examine entry points and put prevention system in place by engaging your internal IT staff in this process.
- Set standard security protocols
Cybersecurity is a key area which can have an enormous impact on your business and hence it is necessary to document all the policies so that everyone follows a common protocol. Employees must be provided online training, checklists and information pertaining to the company’s assets and data access must be restricted to certain key individuals. They need to be provided with regular updates on security procedures and must be held accountable for their actions.
- Ensure regular back up of data
Data breaches can be prevented by protecting your data and having a backup of important documents including databases, electronic spreadsheets, files, and other resources. Companies must also have a backup of data on the cloud and they must be kept in a separate location for quick access during emergencies. It is important to have a regular backup of your data and check if it is functioning properly.
- Use anti-malware software
Phishing emails could pose the biggest cyber threat to SMBs as employees may open them without even their knowledge and as a result malware may be installed into the computers by clicking the link. Hence, it is important to have anti-malware software installed across all devices and networks within the company. Sometimes, security of data may be compromised without taking care of such small issues which may eventually prove costly to your business.
With increasing number of cyber-attacks, it is evident that companies need to take all possible measures to boost their internal security. The importance of having cyber security policies and measures in place may no longer be overlooked by SMBs as they are equally at risk from cyber threats. As most of these cyber-attacks are becoming more advanced, it is important that enterprises are aware of the latest trends in cyber-attacks and employ the best cyber security measures to safeguard the valuable data of their business and customers. In addition, encryption of data using SSL certificate can go a long way in protecting privacy of information and offering a safe and secure environment for your customers.