It's becoming common knowledge that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are increasingly being targeted for cyber-attack but it's less well known that so many of them cease trading completely within six months of being affected. This shocking statistic proves how vital it is for companies and traders at all levels to take cybersecurity very seriously, and a good place to start is by identifying the most common threats.
The question of data security has many aspects, from compliance with legal frameworks such as GDPR through to the loss of client confidence and reputational damage that can result from being hacked. The way that your business stores its data will determine how easy or difficult it is for a hacker with malicious intent to gain access to the various sensitive personal information that you hold on employees, clients and customers alike.
If you use a cloud service provider, you will benefit from having off-site remote storage but also from regular updates and patches which are released to ensure security is always one step ahead of vulnerability, and that valuable information is kept away from hackers such as sensitive personal details and credit card numbers.
When linked to the supply chain of a larger company, you might automatically become a more attractive target for hackers as they could see your company, and accessing your systems, as a gateway to a more lucrative target. Again, taking the correct measures to ensure you operate in an environment of cyber safety awareness will minimise this risk.
For most SMBs, it isn't financially viable to have an in-house IT department and this lack of trained staff can sometimes lead to crucial security measures being overlooked. By using a third-party service provider, your business can enjoy all the benefits of fully trained and experienced IT professionals without having them on the payroll.
One of the most frightening cyber threats is ransomware. This is when a hacker gains access to your systems and manages to encrypt your data, effectively locking you out of your own operation. Cyber-criminals will demand a ‘ransom’ to be paid before allowing you to regain access but, of course, it is a bad move to take anything on trust when dealing with hackers.
There have been many high-profile news stories about ransomware victims recently, from the NHS to entire cities in Africa having their electricity supplies disrupted. Again, the only real defence is to operate a remote storage system where regular on-the-fly backups are created, meaning that even if you are hit, you can get back up and running with little or no loss to productivity.
The main lesson to learn from this is an SMB that isn’t currently using a third-party service or specialist IT support team is at risk. Having the peace of mind that secure data brings is a worthwhile result, but the fact that accessing proactive and responsive hardware and software support can mean even successful hacks can be mitigated is the key point. Contact GCC to find out more.