Posted on 2.3.2015 by Jan Andrš
Many enterprises are putting a third of their revenue at risk by overlooking the fact that nowadays cyber threats are more common than they used to be. SMEs are putting their valuable data at risk and suffering both financial and reputational damage. According to the Symatec Threat Report 2014 there was a 62% increase in the number of breaches in 2013 and web-based attacks were up 23%.
Some SMEs have misconceptions about cyber security implementation, including the notion that it is just too expensive. Well let’s view it from a different angle. When you buy a house, you are also investing in security to protect your assets as well as your life. Of course, maybe no one will try to break in your entire life. But are you willing to risk it? It is the same with a company. Those enterprises are exposing themselves to cyber attacks which would result in financial damage and valuable data loss. Cyber security is a long term investment that benefits a company greatly. Moreover, according to the UK government a major breach costs between £65.000 and £115.000 which is enough to put a small company out of business. Here are some essential fundamentals that can help you run a successful business with fewer cyber threats.
First, we suggest you educate your employees. Make them understand how important your company data is and how to protect it. Even discuss things that should be common sense, such as protection from social media, opening suspicious emails, and so on.
Secondly, establish a BYOD (bring your own device) policy. This is a good idea for employees who tend to pay less attention to cyber security.
Third, learn your system vulnerabilities. Develop policies and procedures to identify security threats that may be a problem in the future. One way to do this is to break into your own system. This will truly make you understand how exposed your company is or isn’t. Additionally, use strong passwords. You would be surprised how many SME companies fail to do that.
Use a strong firewall. This is a must have if you want your network to be properly protected. It is essential to have a strong firewall because it controls the ins and outs of your business’ internet traffic. Also, antivirus and anti-malware software are just as important. They are a nice addition to your online security arsenal. But installing great software is not enough. Make sure your computer is properly updated. Updating software fixes any issues that the program had, making your company more secure.
If someone still manages to steal your valuable data, there is some software out there that helps conduct efficient fraud investigations. These programs map inconsistencies in data that will ultimately lead to your thief. This one additional type of software makes your enterprise bulletproof against cyber attacks. In the end, be sure to take at least some of these measures to continue running a successful business.
Sources and further reading:
- SMEs Failing to Guard against Cyber Attacks, Government Warns: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businessclub/11430701/SMEs-failing-to-guard-against-cyber-attacks-Government-warns.html
- 10 Ways to Protect Your Business from Cyber Attacks: http://www.businessinsider.com/10-ways-to-protect-your-business-from-cyber-attacks-2011-8?op=1
- Internet Security Threat Report: http://www.symantec.com/content/en/us/enterprise/other_resources/b-istr_main_report_v19_21291018.en-us.pdf
- How to Protect Your Small Business against a Cyber Attack: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225468
- Total breaches: http://www.symantec.com/content/en/us/enterprise/other_resources/b-istr_main_report_v19_21291018.en-us.pdf
- Consequences of data breaches: http://www.emc.com/collateral/other/emc-trust-curve-es.pdf
- Loss of investor confidence following a security breach: Google.com/finance
- Graphs: http://www.experis.us/Website-File-Pile/Whitepapers/Experis/experis_security_breaches_white_paper_may_2014.pdf
Pictures were taken form Symatec Threat Report 2014.