Cybersecurity and SMBs: What you can do

Anyone can be affected by cyber attacks - large or small businesses. Here we look at what small businesses can do to fight the cyber threat.

29-05-2023 - 5 minute read. Posted in: awareness.

Cybersecurity and SMBs: What you can do

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly becoming targets of cyber attacks, which can have serious consequences for their operations and reputation. These businesses often do not have the resources to invest heavily in cybersecurity measures, leaving them vulnerable to attacks that can result in data breaches, financial losses and damage to their brand.

It all starts with an email

Phishing attacks are one of the most common ways cybercriminals gain access to systems - this applies to SMEs and large enterprises alike. These attacks often start with a phishing email that appears to be from a legitimate source. The hackers may be impersonating banks or other financial institutions - but it's really a scam and there is a malicious actor behind it. Often you will find that you have to click on a link or download an attachment. These links and files contain malware that infects your computer.

One way to reduce the risk of falling victim to a phishing attack is through awareness training. With awareness training, each employee is trained to recognize suspicious emails, how to report them, and how to avoid clicking on the links or files attached to the email. As mentioned, these can contain malware and be harmful.

Another effective approach is to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all employees. MFA requires users to provide additional information beyond just a username and password. This could be a one-time code or biometric verification, for example, which can significantly increase the security of a system. It is much harder for hackers to infiltrate systems and accounts when using MFA.

Cybersecurity in a small business

Being a smaller business can actually be an advantage when it comes to cybersecurity. When there are fewer people to train, everyone can make sure to follow the awareness training. It can be more difficult to keep an eye on every single employee in a larger company.

It's important to train all employees on security principles so that you are in a strong position should you fall victim to a cyber attack. In addition, security principles can help prevent extensive damage to your software and internal systems.

Another great feature to implement in your organization - big or small - is firewall security, which ensures a secure internet connection. A firewall prevents outsiders from penetrating your systems and software - in other words, firewalls help you keep hackers out.

What SMEs and all other businesses should also remember is to keep backups of all files and documents. They should be stored in a very secure place so that no one can access them. If you were to be hit by a cyber-attack, you have all the important information that the hackers might exclude you from.

If we look at the challenges

Perhaps one challenge of being an SME is the lack of confidentiality between individual employees. This means that roles and responsibilities may be more blurred than in larger organizations.

In a utopian world, no one employee has access to all software and programs. It's important not to, because that makes them the obvious target. It's an unstable system if someone has access to everything. This may be more common in smaller companies.

One of the biggest challenges for SMEs is balancing the need for cybersecurity with limited resources. There is a trade-off between investing in cybersecurity measures and investing in other areas of the business. SMEs may also face challenges in finding qualified staff to implement and maintain cybersecurity measures. Investing in cybersecurity can be expensive, but on the other hand, not investing in cybersecurity can be even more expensive.

Another challenge is keeping up with the evolution of cybersecurity threats. Cybercriminals are constantly developing new and more sophisticated attacks, and SMEs need to keep abreast of the latest trends and vulnerabilities to protect themselves. This can be resource-intensive for a small business, which may not have the right resources to do so.

How cyber attacks can affect SMEs

A successful cyber attack can have a significant impact on SMEs. Data breaches can result in the loss of sensitive information, such as customer data or financial records, which can lead to financial and legal consequences. Damage to a company's reputation can also result in loss of business and revenue.

SMEs should prioritize cybersecurity in yours overall business strategy and invest in measures such as firewalls, antivirus software and regular software updates. They should also implement policies and procedures for data protection and employee access to systems, and regularly train employees on cybersecurity best practices. When all employees are trained in cybersecurity, they are stronger in the face of cyber threats.

Cybersecurity for small and medium-sized enterprises is a critical issue that requires careful consideration and planning. While SMEs may face challenges in implementing cybersecurity measures, there are actions that can be considered to mitigate the risk of a cyber attack. By prioritizing cybersecurity and implementing appropriate measures, SMEs can protect their operations and reputation from the potentially devastating effects of a cyber attack.

Author Caroline Preisler

Caroline Preisler

Caroline is a copywriter here at Moxso beside her education. She is doing her Master's in English and specializes in translation and the psychology of language. Both fields deal with communication between people and how to create a common understanding - these elements are incorporated into the copywriting work she does here at Moxso.

View all posts by Caroline Preisler

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