Technology

Cyber security threats to small businesses! 

Large companies have long taken the measure of cyber malevolence and devote considerable resources to ensuring their cybersecurity. These resources include both software and hardware expenditure, but also the human resources devoted to prevention, threat detection, and business recovery in the event of attacks. It is estimated that 20% of the IT budget of large groups is dedicated to cybersecurity. Hackers have in recent years found new prey—small businesses.

If hackers remain attracted by the digital treasures of large companies, they quickly understood that the latter were on their guard. They are now turning to SMEs. If the gains there are lower, the probability of success is much higher.

Reasons why SMEs are more vulnerable and exposed

First, the widespread belief among SMBs that only large companies are targeted by cyberattacks small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) mistakenly believe that they are not attractive to hackers.

The second reason is the lack of financial and human resources devoted to cybersecurity. An SME devotes its resources first and foremost to its core business – sales, production, and customer service and having a security manager or a security policy takes second place.

Finally, the operating methods of SMEs are less formal, which involves more risks— sharing of passwords between employees, and the lack of procedure restricting access to sensitive data.

Cyber-attacks targeting SMEs: a constantly growing phenomenon

Cyber ​​attacks have become a mass phenomenon in recent years. Already in 2015, more than 8 out of 10 companies were targeted by a cyber-attack. And the number of cyber attacks is estimated to double every year. SMEs are not spared since a study tells us that during the year 2019, 66% of them were victims of a security breach.

The most frequent types of cyber security threats to small businesses

As often mentioned, the risks associated with cybersecurity are much greater for small and medium organizations than they are for large companies. The latter have the means to invest as much in prevention as in restoring a security breach. It is quite different for smaller companies. 60% of companies that are victims of a cyberattack will close their doors 6 months later.

Phishing

At the top of the ranking, the most common risks for SMEs are so-called phishing techniques. This type of attack alone represents 73% of cyber attacks. As such, e-mail, professional or personal, represents the simplest gateway for hackers who can infiltrate companies’ information systems.

Ransomware

While phishing remains relatively visible to the user, ransomware is a technique that is more difficult to detect. If it is introduced without the user’s knowledge, the software will suddenly block or encrypt files, and the hacker will then demand a ransom.

The DDoS

The third most common threat is DDoS attacks. This type of attack, which is very easy to set up, consists of overloading a company’s server or network, to the point of literally bringing it down. Here too, a ransom will be demanded to stop the damage.

Drawing up an exhaustive overview of threats is a feat because cyber-attacks are constantly evolving, and cyber-criminals find new devices and flaws in our connected lives every day— cars, smartphones, connected objects, etc.

How to minimize the risks of cyber security threats

More exposed and vulnerable to threats, SMEs are also much more powerless to deal with the consequences. Very often, cyberattacks are an opportunity to note the absence of a reliable backup, a recovery plan, or business continuity. SMEs are paralyzed and then suffer considerable losses— drop in turnover, tarnished credibility, reputation, and legal proceedings. Ultimately, cyber-attacks often prove disastrous for these small structures. The figures speak for themselves. It is estimated that 70% of SMEs that are victims of a serious security incident file for bankruptcy within three years.

It is very difficult to prevent and monitor potential security leaks from the inside. However, by establishing a healthy corporate culture, training employees properly, and following a data access policy, organizations can greatly reduce their exposure to risk.

  1. Carry out an IT security audit

Faced with dangers of such magnitude, SMEs must actively manage their cybersecurity and devote resources to it. For an SME manager who wants to take action, the first step is to carry out an IT security audit by a specialized service provider like Singlepoint. The objective is to analyze the system and the data in its entirety in order to precisely identify the sensitive data and the weak points of the information system.

At the end of the IT security audit, recommendations are made to reduce the risks. It is then necessary to periodically reassess the level of security of the information system for two reasons— on the one hand, to adapt the systems to new threats, but above all to make cybersecurity a permanent part of work habits.

2     Establishing a healthy corporate culture

This is a crucial step in the cybersecurity of your organization. It is important to offer the staff a healthy and transparent work environment that spreads trust at all levels of the company. The more accountable and responsible an employee feels, the less likely they are to decide to take action against their employer. Of course, there will always be dissatisfied people. Try to identify them and intervene before it is too late.

3     Provide adequate training to its employees

If employees represent the most significant risk for the organization, training is required to make them aware of their actions. Simple cybersecurity best practices will save you a lot of headaches. Use specialized trainers and perceive this investment beyond an anti-cyber attack insurance policy.

4     Establish a data access policy

This last step is relatively simple. Adopt good practices that will reduce the chances of some employees getting their hands on sensitive information or opening the door too wide. Grant only the necessary access to employees according to their roles and opt for temporary accounts in the context of partnerships with external consultants.

To conclude 

Whether it is to train your staff on the main security issues or collaborate with your management team to set up a data access policy, an IT consulting service can support you. Do you have any more questions? Ask us now from the comment section.

Deny
the authorDeny