5th October, 2023
Despite the headlines, cybercrime is not all huge data leaks and multi-million-dollar ransom attacks.
According to Forbes, small businesses are roughly three times more likely to be the victim of a cyber attack. This is probably because smaller businesses tend to invest less in protection measures, making them an easier target for attackers.
More bad news? Cybercrime is on the increase, and attacks are changing. It’s no longer just about malware or viruses.
Phishing scams, ransomware that disables your systems until a ransom is paid, identity theft and fraud — there are many ways to attack and damage an SME.
As AI use increases, this tech is likely to change cybercrime as well, potentially making it easier for criminals to develop malware and write convincing phishing messages.
Of course, things aren’t all doom and gloom.
No one tool can protect you against cyberattacks, but some surprisingly effective strategies — both tech and human-focused — can help you build up your protection.
If you have employees working from home or using their own devices for work, you’re relying on random wifi networks to protect your business data.
Using a virtual private network (VPN) puts a layer of encryption between your data and third-party networks.
Your employees log in to the VPN before accessing work information and platforms, making it difficult for attackers.
People won’t use protective measures if they’re difficult to manage — that’s why so many use the same password for everything.
Make it easy for them by using a password manager to create and store secure passwords, and implementing multi-factor authentication instead of a single password log-in.
Both these tools add another layer of protection without being arduous or frustrating for the user.
According to the Harvard Business Review, around 80% of cyber breaches are the result of human error.
This means raising awareness of cyber threats, investing in ongoing training, and creating a culture of cybersecurity is imperative.
Your employees should know how to use security measures, identify suspicious activity or red flags for phishing, and know they can approach leadership for help if they’re unsure.
Many small businesses use a loosely-connected network of software, apps and business management tools.
While this may work for the day-to-day, it can also leave you open to cyberattacks — every piece of tech with access to your business data represents a possible gateway for attackers.
That’s why it’s important to screen your providers carefully. Read the terms and conditions, ask about security measures and cloud storage facilities, and don’t sign up if you’re unsure.
This is particularly important for AI-driven tech. If SMEs use AI to generate content or analyse data, they need to be aware of the risks.
Avoid plugging customer data or sensitive business information into these untested tools — and read those Ts and Cs.
If you’re running on slim margins, losing funds or access to systems for days or weeks could be devastating.
To minimise the impact of a cyberattack, you need a protection strategy and an incident plan.
Your protection strategy should explain your security measures and name your cybersecurity team — including outside experts, internal IT and comms teams and legal or business advisors.
Your incident plan should include steps to take in the event of a breach, from notifying authorities and shutting down systems to communicating with customers and getting back online.
If you can minimise downtime and impact of a breach, you have the best chance of recovering and keeping customers.
With new attack technology emerging every day, it’s almost impossible to create an impenetrable cybersecurity wall around your business.
But you can build a network of tech solutions and human strategies to reduce as many threats as possible.
Your business management platform can help — and that’s where MYOB Business comes in.
Using a single platform instead of a connected network of software means fewer entry points for potential attackers.
It’s also about the tech — our integrated cloud platform uses cutting-edge encryption and storage facilities to keep your business data safe, and we’re always looking for ways to upgrade, adapt and keep up with rapidly-changing cyber threats.
If you’re running a small, potentially vulnerable business, it’s a great place to start your security journey.
Want the complete picture on cybersecurity and SMEs? Sign up for our free Cybersecurity webinar now.