The majority of self-employed individuals and small to medium scale companies underestimate the importance of digital security for their setup, failing to comprehend the significance of a professional IT and data security provider. Medium-sized businesses can be a source of employment for over 200 people, yet in most cases, these firms don’t recognize their over 200-strong workforce could potentially translate into more than 200 security breach points.
This isn’t to say that your employees mean ill for your company, but rather that they could unknowingly become a gateway for an attacker to reach your company’s main network and data.
Businesses Need Strong Cybersecurity Partners
One out of every five SMB’s doesn’t use any form of cybersecurity protection, and from those that do have some security measures in place, a surprising 32% are using a free solution. While some security is better than none at all, considering how rapidly cyber-attacks on SME’s are increasing, it’s becoming necessary for businesses to have a well-thought-out security protocol in place.
According to studies conducted by expert security firms, digital attacks on businesses have increased more than 21% in 2019 alone, with this figure expected to rise much higher in 2020.
Security is like a chain; it consists of several links which, when combined, create either a strong or weak security setup. Small businesses are linked with other businesses such as suppliers, vendors, partners, and third-party service providers, which can be small enterprises or large multi-national companies.
If one business in the larger chain has top-notch security – whereas other components have weak security or have no security measure in place – the other businesses in the chain with weak or no security compromise the safety of all other firms in the chain, including the firm with stronger security measures in place.
The infamous security breach of 2014 in which a large US-based retail business was infiltrated by hackers was done not through a direct attack on the multi-billion-dollar retailer, but rather through a smaller business that was part of the large retailers’ business network. This small business was a service provider to the large retailer and had little to no security in place. This smaller company was a much easier target for the attacker, and getting their hands’ on the larger businesses’ data was no problem once they had infiltrated the small business.
Studies suggest that by 2021 cybercrime targeted towards SMB’s will cost businesses over $6 trillion, which is twice as much as compared to just 5 years ago. The number of attacks is also increasing at an equally high rate, and the nature of these attacks is evolving to become more dangerous than before.
Today, a significant portion of a business’s infrastructure is digital, unlike past decades when the only digital part of a business may have been an electronic POS system or digital billing system. Modern attacks can compromise many areas of a business and, according to studies, many businesses are unable to bounce back after a serious digital attack.
Here are four key areas SME’s should seek the help of an expert security provider, and how to follow some basic protocols to ensure the safety of their business and staff.
Alignment with Digital Security Directives
In different parts of the world there are different digital directives for businesses to abide by. For example, in Europe there’s the GDPR, and in the US there’s the NIST framework for businesses. By having a universal set of rules for all businesses to follow, the security of all businesses is positively impacted and improved.
Moreover, it sets a bare minimum level of security which all businesses must have. Being aligned with these different protocols is optional in some areas – and for some businesses – but eventually, it will be a mandatory requirement by the government for all businesses. Working towards these directives is a good first step.
A good defense system (such as a VPN or an encrypted business connection) is great, but it’s also important for businesses to educate their employees about how to safely perform their duties on any digital device. Whether it’s a company or personal device, by understanding how to safely manage their smartphone or computer, they’ll protect themselves and also safeguard the company.
Phishing and malware attacks are among the most common cyber-attacks, and are best countered with good training to create an informed user who’s aware of these problems.
Company data and client information can be securely saved on a cloud rather than on a server or office-based computer. Cloud services give users the option to encrypt their data and upload it to the cloud.
Moreover, cloud service itself often has very good security, which will in most cases be better than any security a small business could invest in. By using the cloud, service data undergoes three layers of security: the initial encryption, the cloud login access, and the fact that it’s completely separated from the business.
Backup and Recovery
No one knows when their system is about to break down or when an unfortunate event may take place, like if the business is unable to access their resources and finds that all their data is lost or find themselves locked out of their systems.
An IT expert can help create plans and procedures that consider these possibilities and create contingencies so companies can continue their operations even when something goes wrong.
Security is Critical for Your SME
A specialist IT support provider can help your business create better security solutions and follow a professional path towards managing their digital infrastructure, which will help make it more efficient, secure, and most importantly, profitable.