Cyber security is essential for organisations of all sizes. Organisations need to ensure they have taken all the necessary precautions to protect their data.
In the past year, 46% of businesses identified at least one cyber attack or breach, with 875,000 of these victims being an SME. Despite these statistics, a recent survey found that many SMEs don’t believe they are at risk, with 59% thinking that their information would be of little value to cyber criminals.
This mindset is a major issue for small businesses because their lack of interest in cyber security makes them a favourable target for criminal hackers.
Why do criminals target SMEs?
Many small businesses do not put enough money and resources into cyber security. They do not monitor or implement strong enough cyber security defences that will adequately protect their data. Not having these defences in place makes their data more susceptible to attacks.
Although they may not feel that their information has much value to criminals, it very often does. Small businesses still hold personal and financial information, but they do not have the security defences in place that large organisations do. This makes them an easy and attractive target.
When an organisation has been hit by a ransomware attack, the criminals responsible will demand it pays a ransom to retrieve its data. It’s very difficult for small businesses to recover from ransomware attacks, so they are often more willing to pay the ransom than larger organisations would be. Again, this makes them an attractive target for many criminals.
How are SMEs being hacked?
The most common ways SMEs are hacked are by phishing, poor passwords and IT vulnerabilities.
Phishing schemes are fake emails that impersonate someone that you may trust: an online provider, bank, popular website or sometimes a colleague. These emails try to trick you into giving away sensitive information.
Passwords are vital for ensuring the security of your data. If a password is easy to guess or used for multiple platforms, it becomes less secure and easier to hack. Passwords should be unique and complex, and should never be shared..
IT vulnerabilities are a result of a network not having the right security measures in place in order to protect data. These vulnerabilities can lead to malware attacking an organisation’s data.
What precautions should SMEs take?
There are many simple ways an SME can protect itself from a cyber attack. Implementing a firewall is one of the first things an organisation should do, as this will put up a barrier between your data and the hacker, restricting their access.
It is very important to educate your employees to follow cyber security procedures. They should complete staff awareness training to ensure they can identify a phishing email, and follow basic security measures such as regularly changing passwords and adopting security policies.
Installing security software is vital to keep your data secure. Even after you have trained your staff, there is still the chance they may fall for a phishing email. Installing anti-malware software will help protect your organisation from malware that may be contained in these types of email.
Evaluate your cyber security posture
Gain a high-level evaluation of your organisation’s cyber security posture and a documented summary of recommendations for improvements with the Cyber Security Audit.