Unlike large businesses, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) do not have dedicated IT specialists on staff. They do not even see themselves as being a target for a cyber-attack. So, how are SMEs going to defend against the threat of hackers? Thinking your business is not worth hacking is exactly the reason why it may become a target.
Some businesses find it easier to ignore cyber threats. Often, without dedicated IT staff, advice can be confusing, complex and contradictory. Businesses do not know where to start. A survey found that 48 percent of Irish businesses do not see cybersecurity as important and do not have company cybersecurity policies. A Magnet Networks survey showed a further 27 percent of respondents needed to update their security or had no security at all. This is surprising. Over the last two years, 26 percent of businesses experienced a cyber-attack. Another 18 percent said they did not know if they had been the target of a cyber-attack.
The more we use the internet to connect for business, the greater the cybersecurity threat. No sooner do we get a handle on the latest cyber threats, they change as fast as the technology we use. And, relying on the Cloud can put SMEs at even greater risk with just a single point of access.
Phishing emails are becoming cleverer at masking their true identity. Especially around tax time where you can complete a self-assessment online. Businesses walk a fine line between using technology and protecting against cyber threats. Hackers are creative and inventive. They will do anything to steal the information they need. They create scripts that can take over a web camera and modems to disable large corporations. Take action before it is too late.
Here are some things that can keep your business safe.
Avoiding email spam
Guard against phishing attacks. This is where hackers target businesses with malware attached to an email or directions to follow links. These often look like a tax office or bank notice. They always look like they come from a trusted source. This is a weak point for all businesses when staff click on these links.
It is simple to avoid this. Train staff to pay attention to all email received from unknown senders. Be wary of attachments and words in the message that leads to clicking on links. A simple trick to note is – hover the mouse cursor over a link (do not click on it) and the link address will appear. The link address is a dead giveaway to a scam. This is a good habit for everyone to follow.
Cyber-attack response plan
Be prepared for a cyber-attack. Have a response plan in place to protect the business. The plan outlines who handles what in a cyber crisis and how to respond. It will contain the processes and procedures to recover lost data quickly.
It is important to test out response plans these plans and update them on a regular basis. By being proactive, SMEs can make better decisions when faced with a hacking attack.
Create a security-minded culture
SMEs need to create a security-minded culture among their staff. Data is of vital importance, especially sensitive data entrusted by customers. It is your responsibility to protect the data. So, internet security has to be central to everything businesses do.
Build internet security into the organisation’s Charter. Make it a central part of an employee’s induction. Conduct internet security refresher courses at least once a year. This keeps internet security uppermost in staff member’s minds. And, they will always know what to do when faced with a difficult situation.
If you are not already on top of internet security, it is time to analyse the risks. Put processes in place to protect your business before it is too late.