Cybersecurity threats are often associated with larger corporates and multinationals. But the truth is that – as with the recent WannaCry ransomware virus – businesses of any size are at risk.
Unfortunately, many small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) don't take the threat seriously, or they don't have the resources to manage them. This makes them ill-prepared to safeguard against an attack, and vulnerable to having their operations disrupted. A 2012 study in the U.S. found that 60 percent of SMBs go out of business within six months of a breach.
With this in mind, here are the most pressing IT security risks SMBs must be aware of today.
As the world discovered recently with the WannaCry cyberattack, ransomware is potentially one of the most crippling security risks for SMBs, mainly because it has become so sophisticated and difficult to remove. It can also cripple your systems and shut down your ability to undertake basic functions like processing payments.
2. Ignorance or complacency
This is perhaps the most dangerous threat to any SMB from a cybersecurity point of view. Not knowing you are at risk is not an excuse. You need to manage the security risk or face the real possibility of going out of business.
3. Malware and phishing
Malware and phishing scams have so many points of entry that they are very difficult to prevent. You not only need to make sure your employees are up to speed, but your security systems must be able to detect the latest threats.
4. Lack of staff
Many SMBs don’t have dedicated in-house IT staff, let alone someone with specific security expertise. This often results in an ad hoc approach to security that will create serious vulnerabilities.
5. Outdated software
This is one of the easiest security vulnerabilities to solve, but it's often overlooked. If you don't update your antivirus software regularly, your business is vulnerable to any number of security threats.
Bring your own device (BYOD) is convenient and popular with staff, but it opens up a can of worms for IT security. SMBs need to have a security policy covering employees and their personal devices.
7. Physical theft
Having your data hacked is one thing, but if your premises are not secure, your workstations, laptops and mobile devices are all vulnerable to theft. Besides ensuring your building has the appropriate security measures in place, your staff must be up to speed on the potential risks involved.
There's no excuse today for SMBs to leave themselves unnecessarily at risk of a cyberattack. With the right investments, a proper appraisal of your risks, and some good old-fashioned common sense, it's a straightforward task to keep your SMB as safe as it can be.