Cybersecurity is not just something that large enterprises need to consider. On the contrary, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can be particularly vulnerable, often lacking the resources and expertise necessary to protect their systems and data from cyber threats effectively.
Our blog below examines why cybersecurity is so vital for small to medium-sized businesses and what measures can be taken to minimise cyber-attacks.
What makes small to medium-sized businesses vulnerable to cyber-attacks?
Over recent years, there has been an acceleration in companies of all sizes taking on new digital applications and platforms to remain competitive in their industry. Meanwhile, more employees than ever before are working remotely and using cloud-based software to access critical business information.
These trends have created a significant increase in online data sharing, leading to a higher number of interfaces and more opportunities for network attacks.
Larger companies typically have cybersecurity strategies in place that address the potential threats new technology and trends may pose. However, for SMBs, adopting new applications often occurs more organically to fulfil a need, and with limited budget, resources and IT expertise, cybersecurity can be a low priority to address.
As digital technology has advanced, so have the skills and techniques used by cybercriminals. Today's cyber-attacks are often much more sophisticated and targeted, making defending against them increasingly challenging.
Not sufficiently addressing how the cybersecurity landscape has evolved may leave you at an elevated risk of attack, data loss and the resulting negative impacts on your business activity.
SMBs are a prime target for cybercriminals. They know these businesses usually store valuable customer data that can be easily accessed and sold for a profit. Furthermore, SMBs are often associated with larger corporations as third-parties, so they can often act as the cybercriminal's entry point to accessing more valuable data.
Why is cybersecurity important for small to medium-sized businesses?
While cybersecurity is important for all businesses, cybersecurity for small to medium-sized businesses is imperative for several reasons. For example:
Protection of business assets
Cybersecurity helps protect your business assets, including sensitive data, intellectual property, and financial information, from cyber-attacks. If you are an SMB, loss of assets can be especially damaging to your business, as you may not have sufficient or immediate resources to recover.
A cyber-attack can disrupt your business operations, leading to financial losses and harm to your reputation. Again, as an SMB, this effect may be more challenging to recover from than for larger corporations.
Many industries have regulations and standards that require businesses of any size to implement cybersecurity measures. As an SMB, facing penalties and legal consequences if your business fails to comply with these regulations can be a severe financial and operational hit.
Customers are increasingly concerned about data privacy and security. For SMBs, every customer counts in building your business. Demonstrating a serious approach to cybersecurity will generate trust and help develop your precious customer base.
Standing out from the competition can be a challenge for an SMB. Strong cybersecurity measures can be one of your competitive advantages, helping you attract more business and win contracts.
What cybersecurity measures can a small to medium-sized business take?
While SMBs can be particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks, you can strengthen your cybersecurity defences and minimise these risks with the right strategies and tools.
Here are some essential cybersecurity measures that SMBs should consider:
- Develop a strong cybersecurity policy covering aspects such as access controls, password management, software updates, data backup and recovery, and incident response.
- Educate employees, so they can recognise suspicious activity and adopt cybersecurity best practices.
- Implement access controls, limiting access to sensitive data to authorised personnel only.
- Use and regularly update firewalls, antivirus and anti-malware software.
- Regularly back up data to recover quickly should a cyberattack occur.
- Monitor your network for suspicious activity and conduct regular security audits to identify vulnerabilities.
If setting up an in-house security operations centre (SOC) to implement your cybersecurity strategies and protect your network is not viable due to budget or resource constraints, our Network Security Services can help. We offer multi-pronged protection that makes cybersecurity for small to medium-sized businesses time and cost-efficient.
Our SOC-as-a-Service can monitor your assets and proactively respond as threats occur, providing your business with world-class protection around the clock. Meanwhile, our Managed Firewall Services take a zero-trust approach to provide optimum network protection.
Working closely with you, we can ensure your firewalls are configured to offer the highest level of security without hindering your network activity.
Hughes SaaS Protection is also part of our Network Security Services. As a cloud-to-cloud backup solution, it helps minimise downtime and avoid disaster should a cyber-attack occur.
To learn more about how our Network Security Services can help SMBs with their cybersecurity, please get in touch with our team.