No, it isn’t just the big business that’s hit by cyber-attacks. It isn’t just the enterprise that’s staring down the barrel of the cyber threat. It’s everyone.
Actually, right now it’s especially the small to medium enterprise (SME) because they aren’t paying attention.
While the banks and the governments and the enterprises packed with tasty data are a win for any cybercriminal, there is no reason why they won’t pick some of the low-hanging fruit while they wait for the big guns to fall…
Cybersecurity company, Malwarebytes, recently found that ransomware shuts down one in five small businesses after it hits and that a significant number of small businesses had to stop operations completely after malware infected their systems.
Their Second Annual State of Ransomware Report is scary reading for the SME, but it isn’t alone in a void of statistics.
The CNBC and Survey Monkey Small Business Survey found that only 2% of SMEs thought that a cyberattack was a critical issue.
They think of themselves as the little fish and who cares about them?
The hackers do.
“The SME is the most likely to be attacked now, mainly because they don’t have sufficient protection and their users are not educated about the risks,” says Henk, Managing Director, Ozone Information Technology Solutions.
A fact borne out by the Malwarebytes survey which highlighted one very important fact – it only takes one user to bring down the entire company.
“Often SMEs don’t have enough knowledge about security and risks in their business,” says Olivier.
“They need to ensure that they give enough attention to the actual infrastructure of their network, and to user education. Most cyber-attacks and ransomware infections can be prevented if users are aware of how they can happen.”
Implement a policy that is understood and adhered to by every, single employee.
If someone doesn’t understand what a ransomware email looks like, show them.
Give employees the understanding they need to become a line of defence between the business and the cyber-criminal.
“Also, ensure that all systems have the right software updates installed as patches are there for a reason,” adds Olivier.
“Keep your anti-virus up to date and monitor the news for any attacks or outbreaks. This can give you a chance to fortify defences, check updates and alert employees, and often there are solutions already available by the time the attack hits the news so you can make use of them.”
Protecting the business against the cyber threat doesn’t have to be a costly and complex exercise.
Just as the SME shouldn’t believe that they are below the hacker’s attention, they shouldn’t shrug their shoulders when faced with limited budgets versus huge security costs.
User education, up-to-date software and robust firewall and anti-virus implementations go a long way to keeping the business out the hands of the hackers.