IT Security Risks that SMEs Cannot Afford to Ignore

IT Security Risks that SMEs Cannot Afford to Ignore

When it comes to IT security threats, no business is immune to them. However, large enterprises have the luxury of information and resources to reduce the chances of being hit by ransomware, hackers, and other cyber crimes compared to small and mid-sized businesses. With fewer resources and personnel to tackle data security, recovery becomes more challenging for SMEs.

In a post by Security Magazine regarding the cost of a security breach, it revealed that the average cost of recovering data for SMEs is $36,000 that can lead to a loss of up to $50,000. The worst part is that over 70% attacks target these businesses where an estimated 60% of hacked companies go out of business after just six months.

Although SMEs tend to have fewer resources and personnel to tackle data security, there are ways to combat the most common security threats. This article will provide a number of security threats that SMEs must keep their eyes on and effective methods to prevent them.

More advanced ransomware and spear-phishing scams

Carefully crafted and well-researched cyber attacks have been documented recently in the media, where even organizations as big as Seagate have been victims of these schemes. The data stolen from the storage device manufacturing company contained sensitive information that cyber criminals could use to commit tax refund fraud. Phishing attacks targeting W-2 data have been on the rise, hitting 41 organizations in the first quarter of 2016.

Meanwhile, ransomware continues to be used to attack small and large enterprises. In fact, a white paper documented the research by McAfee Labs revealed that there were nearly 2.3 million ransomware attacks in Q1 of 2016, which is 24% higher than the previous year. The resource further stated that cyber attacks would continue to rise for several years as new and better variations of ransomware are being developed.

Unsecure networks

An unsecure network can be a massive problem for any business. Without proper security, there’s nothing a business can do when a cyber criminal attempts to enter your system and access pertinent company data.

Experts recommend all businesses should focus on securing their porous networks as this can pose enormous risks. SMEs should focus on implementing security programs that are consistent with how users work. Otherwise, users will circumvent controls. Change the default password on your internet connection or have a high-quality encryption on the network to keep it secure.

BYOD devices will remain vulnerable

Due to high-speed mobile networks and more powerful devices, businesses have become more reliant on mobile devices than traditional PCs. A report revealed that SMEs leverage mobile devices to their fullest potential from communicating with customers, managing inventory, managing expenses and even drafting documents and presentations. In 2015, eMarketer discussed that more than 8 in 10 small business owners use mobile devices at least once a day for work purposes. They also found that workers were using devices between 2-3 times in a single day for business.

The wide adoption of mobile technology spans across various industries, from healthcare, manufacturing and even fleet management. Dealing with on-the-go field workers, these businesses maximize smartphones and tablets as Electronic Logging Devices to stay in touch with management and help them understand regulations. But, how do you secure such devices?

The solution for securing mobile devices for business may lie in the strategies that the decision makers and IT managers in the business can draw on to control data leakage. However, cooperation from both the company and the employees is required to ensure success.

Dangerous Codes

Malicious codes tend to be the most common form of attack, but it remains a big unresolved problem across SMEs. These dangerous codes have the potential to be extremely hazardous as they can damage computer networks, steal account information, and delete important files.

The best solution is to install and regularly use secured antivirus and anti-spyware programs. Always make sure that the program is continually updated. It’s best to set up firewalls on all computers in the business to ensure that both incoming and outgoing traffic is secure.

When it comes to IT security threats, SMEs are just as at risk as the large companies. The most important take away here is that understanding the largest cyber security risks will enable any businesses to combat them, making it easier to focus their attention on building their business.

Exclusively written for Techmedics by JBTechNotes