Guest blog: Cyber-attacks only affect large corporates – don’t they?

Most small to medium enterprises believe that they that they don’t have important enough data or assets to justify an attack from criminal hackers. As a result, they don’t pay enough attention to the appropriate measures required to protect their assets or client data. This is supported by the fact that small and medium enterprises are more likely to suffer an attack than larger corporations. 

So, it is vital that every business takes appropriate defensive actions - but where do you start?  

Firstly, ensure that your level of protection and systems are current and up-to-date. Creating a safer environment helps dissuade determined hackers and other criminals who are constantly probing on new ways to break through your barriers. Last year, according to Small Business Trends, 48% of data security breaches were caused by malicious intent, with only 14% of small business rating their ability to mitigate these cyber risks and vulnerabilities as highly effective. The standards that most SME’s set for themselves is largely inadequate to be seen as providing a credible enough deterrent to work effectively within the public sector. Obviously, this creates a self-inflicted barrier for their own business growth ambitions that can be easily solved if they address the task of securing their businesses. 

Further, a lack of cyber security knowledge has a huge impact on the integrity of your security system. Employees that may not be fully educated on common threats potentially leave the business vulnerable to fraudulent emails and phishing scams. Simple procedures such as regular password updates are routinely ignored with 65% of SMEs saying that they do not strictly enforce their password policy. Educating employees and enforcing such policies can help reduce risk.  

The increased use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one innovation that continues to push the boundaries of security. By using it to our advantage, we can create security systems that cannot be affected by human error or internal malicious intent. One such use of AI is behavioral biometrics. This software can detect behavioral traits such as finger pressure and typing rhythms to determine if the person using the equipment is who they say they are. Companies the world over are investing huge amounts to create imaginative and innovative solutions – we would advocate that staying abreast of latest trends is a smart way to integrate sound security policy and practice into your business.  

Once you have reduced the possibility for human error, you must make sure that access to your company’s systems are restricted to only allow the approved persons and devices to access them. This can be done through Hardware Authentication for devices and Two Factor Authentication for users. Hardware Authentication involves the creation of a unique user identity by coding it onto the hardware of the device in use thus giving devices their own individual fingerprints. This allows your system to identify which devices are approved to use the system. Two Factor Authentication is a way to strengthen a standard username and password approach. It uses a second layer of security associated with the person accessing the systems, such as biometrics or unique code sent to the person’s mobile device. 

It is not just your company and client data that is at risk, your brand reputation is also on the line. As you are well aware rebuilding your reputation after a cyber attack will take a considerable time  

 

Our advice would be to take the time to consider how your systems measure up and what can be done to keep your business safe and secure from potential cyber-attacks in the future. 

 

References 

Small Business Trends: https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/01/cyber-security-statistics-small-business.html 

Information Age: https://www.information-age.com/7-nightmare-cyber-security-threats-smes-secure-123466495/ 

 

Author 

Samantha Borland 

Marketing Assistant 

Pointer Ltd 

https://www.linkedin.com/company/pointer 

 

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