As the world of information technology expands, so do opportunities for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to conduct operations digitally. However, the increasingly complex IT landscape has its share of challenges for SMBs, especially when it comes to cybersecurity. While security incidents in SMBs may not make the headlines as frequently as they do for large companies, a Verizon study in 2019 revealed that 43% of security breach victims were actually small businesses.
By understanding the cybersecurity risks that SMBs face, companies can better protect their data and assets, as well as their customers’ confidential information.
CYBERSECURITY THREATS TO SMBs
The greatest threat to an SMB’s cyber security is often its own employees. Without proper awareness or training, it’s easy to click on a link from an email that turned out to be a phishing scam. Especially as phishing gets more sophisticated, employees need to be vigilant and cautious when interacting with unfamiliar or suspicious emails that ask for sensitive information. According to a 2017 report, 46% of cybersecurity incidents that year could be attributed to careless or uninformed company employees.
Unsecured Remote Work
Working from a secured location on a private network, such as an office where employees use company-issued devices, is the safest option from a cyber security standpoint. However, remote work is rapidly becoming common practice across industries, raising questions and concerns about how companies can ensure the safety of sensitive data and information. Once employees are properly trained in best practices for cyber safety, they must extend these practices to their own devices and networks. Taking easy steps such as frequently updating passwords, implementing multi-factor authentication, and regularly updating operating systems can go a long way in preventing attacks.
Outdated Security Software
Smaller businesses don’t have the same resources as large ones to pay for the latest in cybersecurity tech and software. This leaves SMBs at a higher risk of attack from ransomware than larger companies that are more likely to have high quality protection. Professional cyber security services and technology can be the difference between a hacker successfully breaching a company’s network, or not.
Especially as more employees work remotely, top-quality cyber security services are becoming even more essential in securing devices and sensitive information anywhere they might be, even outside of the organization’s network.
INVESTING IN DIGITAL SECURITY
Investing in a cyber security plan should be a top priority for SMBs. Whether that’s hiring a specialist to assess the company’s needs and recommend an appropriate strategy, or following basic security recommendations, any defenses against a breach are better than none. Here are some things to consider when setting up a cyber security plan:
- Security risk assessment. Performing a detailed assessment can help address an organization’s security threats.
- Internet protection. Installing next generation firewall programs allow for ongoing reporting, logging, and consultation to ensure top-quality security.
- Employee training. Ensuring that employees are up-to-date, trained, and tested to recognize cybersecurity threats creates a line of defense by building a human firewall.
- Remote work access. Multi-factor authentication validation helps prevent unwanted users from remotely accessing remote employees’ networks.
- Email encryption. Utilizing encryption technology helps to securely send and receive sensitive information.
Ready to find out if your SMB is truly secure? You can start by assessing your organization’s existing security in order to develop a strategy for a strong cyber security plan that suits your needs. Invest in a strategy that works for your organization, empower your employees to act as a first line of defense, and conduct your digital operations without fear of a breach.