Chris Ross is an SVP at Barracuda Networks, a leading provider of data protection and cyber security solutions. Below, Ross looks into the dangers that await online and the benefits of proper cyber security for businesses and peace of mind.
What Dangers are Online?
Terms like ransomware, social engineering, phishing and trojans have become all too familiar for businesses, as the list of threats continues to evolve. Add to these email based threats the ones coming via the web, or through cloud-connected devices and apps, and you can see why four in five SMEs viewed cyber security as a necessity when we asked them last year.
A common misconception we hear regularly is that SMEs think they’re unattractive targets – as they assume attackers would rather spend their time going after large enterprises. But this is far from reality. SMEs are often more prone to attacks as they’re assumed to be resource limited and have less IT savvy employees. According to our research, 30% of UK businesses do not have a cyber attack plan in place at all.
What are the dangers without proper cybersecurity?
With the cybersecurity threat evolving so quickly, the reality is that sophisticated, targeted attacks are coming your way. It’s all too easy for the bad guys to gain access to your networks, especially if you’re not deploying proper cyber security.
A successful attack can cause downtime, user frustration, lost productivity, lost business, and more. That’s before all the time and effort to get everything back up and running – taking people away from their day to day priorities.
We’re all probably fed up of hearing about GDPR by now, but when we asked SME’s less than a year ago how ready they were 30% of respondents did not think the GDPR would affect their business at all, and a further 33% were totally unaware of the implications it will have on their organisation.
With GDPR now in effect, not only will a data breach undermine a company’s trust – something that most smaller businesses out there depend heavily upon – but it can also very easily impact the bottom line with some pretty sizeable fines for data loss.
How can a small business or startup benefit from proper security?
Firstly, get a plan in place. A security contingency plan is incredibly important, especially to a smaller business that can be seriously disrupted by an attack of this nature. Today, everyone is at risk from a cyberattack—no matter how big or small your business is. It’s become the number one threat to businesses today, with many firms having to pay the ransom simply because they don’t have the defence systems in place to avoid doing so. Keeping business-critical data safe is no easy task, and you could fall victim to the next attack.
Putting the right solutions and procedures in place can severely mitigate the risks and severity of an attack. Investing in a robust backup and recovery solution can ensure that even if the worst happens, all is not lost.
Educate your people. The ‘human factor’ was claimed to be a bigger concern than inadequate tools by 79% of businesses who responded to another of our recent surveys. One wrong click could be enough to let the bad guys in, making employee behaviour hugely important in the fight against security threats. Invest in training and awareness programmes for your staff, especially in spotting email-based attacks.
No-one knows the direction cyber criminals will move in next, but with attackers now possessing resource and sophistication to rival state-funded hacking groups, this threat is not going away. Businesses who value their reputation and assets owe it to themselves to remember that cybersecurity is not a problem that can be solved but a process that needs to be maintained.