The Pocket Cybersecurity Handbook for Small Businesses

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You may have heard more and more about ‘cybersecurity this’ & ‘cybersecurity that’ recently, thinking that it might be something only large mega-corporations have a problem with. Granted, they often feature in many a news article as being the victims of a hack – being extorted by the perpetrators for huge sums of cash. You might also think that being a sole trader, far away from the throes of big business means you’re less likely to be targeted by a nasty cyberattack. The truth is, you’re just as likely – if not more – to fall victim to a cyberattack when you’re an SME. Don’t take for granted the fact that you might be less widely known, as the fallout from a cybersecurity incident is usually a lot more impactful to a SME than a huge corporation. A report by Software Advice recently found that 62% of SMEs had seen an increase in cyberattacks since the start of the pandemic!


Why cybersecurity presents a risk for SMEs

Cybercriminals often target SMEs due to the fact they are often easier to compromise. Many smaller firms simply don’t take Cybersecurity as seriously as they should, with a “it will never happen to us” mentality – until it does. Because of this, the measures that they have in place to prevent cyberattacks are either weak or nonexistent. That’s not to say that this is the case for everyone, many companies still try their best to stop attacks. However, the sophisticated methods hackers use are powerful enough to still do damage, potentially threatening the very existence of your business!

Why SMEs can’t ignore cybersecurity

With attacks on the rise and new threats cropping up all the time, neglecting cybersecurity can leave your business vulnerable. Do so at your peril, as it will only take one bad cyberattack to have a potentially devastating impact on your business. Think loss of time/money/resources/reputation, and more! Plus, the longer you’re out of action trying to mitigate the damage, the worse the impact will be. By having robust cybersecurity measures in place, you can prevent an attack altogether, or at least be much better equipped to deal with it swiftly, without any detriment to your business.

Top threats to SMEs

Phishing – Employees opening dodgy links are one of the top reasons SMEs get compromised. A phishing email will usually contain a malicious link to a bad site or file download that can then cause issues. Carelessness costs you, which is why frequent cybersecurity training can be invaluable to your firm.

Ransomware – Often a fallout from a Phishing attack, ransomware can be a hugely disruptive cyberattack. You may have heard of the NHS falling victim to WannaCry, with many of their systems being locked up and inaccessible without a extortionate ransom being played – this is one example of Ransomware.

Malware – A similar threat to ransomware, but one that can go undetected for much longer, revealing itself after months or even years after infecting your devices.

Social Engineering – This is a less common tactic, but can still be used with sinister outcomes. It essentially involves tricking a user into handing over sensitive details. This involves a real person interacting with your staff, using emotional trickery amongst other things to extract information that they can then use at a later date against you.

What can you do to protect your small business from cyber threats?

Be vigilant, use secure services such as Projectfusion for secure data storage & safedrop (secure file sharing and messaging). Cybersecurity training is also a must, as unfortunately your employees will often be your weakest link as we mentioned.

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