Small and medium-sized enterprises are increasingly facing cyber threats. SMEs act as easy targets for hackers due to less sophisticated security infrastructure and fewer trained cybersecurity employees to manage and respond to threats. For SMEs, dealing with cybersecurity challenges is very complicated, especially when it involves financial and reputational damage. With a 2019 survey, it has been revealed that 58% of executives find data breaches a more significant concern than other serious incidents like floods or fires. That’s why cybersecurity has become the hottest topic for all types of businesses.
What Is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is used for protecting computers, networks and data from malicious electronic attacks. While there are several high-tech physical security technologies available in the market, cybersecurity focuses on defending organizational assets from malicious logins and code instead of burglaries. As corporate assets are various disparate systems, effective and efficient cybersecurity measures need coordinated efforts across all its information systems. Types of cybersecurity are shown in the figure.
The Growing Importance of Cybersecurity in Businesses
To grow your business in today’s competitive world, you need to wake up to cybersecurity threats. Here are some reasons you need to take cybersecurity seriously as a small & mid-sized business owner. If you are still unsure about your cybersecurity importance, here are some convincing reasons:
Reason # 1 – It Allows Employees to Work Safely
If you don’t have the best cybersecurity solution for your business, you and your employees can risk potential cyber-attack. Even cyber attacks can infect your systems that can hamper your productivity. With cybersecurity, your employees can work safely without worrying about any types of threats.
Reason # 2 – It Stops Website from Going Down
As a business owner, there are more chances you are hosting your website. A cyber threat can shut down your website, resulting in losing money and customer trust. But, you won’t have to worry about your website and business reputation when you continue with the best cybersecurity solution.
Reason # 3 – It Prevents Adware
The best cybersecurity solution can prevent your organization’s assets from Adware. Adware is a computer virus that can have an impact on your business’ productivity. Once you have accidentally clicked on them, it can allow other viruses into your system.
Reason # 4 – It Inspires Confidence in your Customers
If your business is effectively protected against all types of cyberattacks, you can inspire your customers and clients’ trust. Even they will feel more confident when purchasing your products and services.
What is the Impact of Cyber Threats on your Business?
Undoubtedly, it would help if you focused on your business to grow in the market as a lack of focus on cybersecurity can damage your business in different ways, including:
1- Economic Costs
Theft of intellectual property, corporate information, and the cost of repairing damaged systems.
2- Reputational Costs
Loss of consumer trust, loss of current and potential customers to competitors and inadequate media coverage.
3- Regulatory Costs
GDPR and other data breach laws mean that your organization could suffer from regulatory fines or sanctions as a result of cybercrimes
All sizes of businesses must ensure staff understands cybersecurity threats and how to reduce them. For that, you need to include regular training and a framework. It is challenging to understand the direct and indirect costs of many security breaches.
Some Impactful Facts & Stats About Cybersecurity
As per Gartner, the worldwide information security market is projected to reach $170.4 billion in 2022. The main reason is that it is a significant part of organizations evolving their defenses against cyber attacks. According to Cybint, 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error. Here are some facts and stats about cybersecurity:
- 88% of organizations worldwide experienced spear-phishing attacks in 2019
- 68% of business leaders feel their cybersecurity risks are growing
- On average, only 5% of companies’ folders are adequately protected
- Data breaches exposed 36 billion records in mid of 2020
- 86% of breaches were financially motivated, and 10% were motivated by espionage
- 45% of breaches featured hacking, 17% included malware, and 22% included phishing
- Humans and machines worldwide are using an estimated 300 billion passwords
Also, check some other stats about cybersecurity in graph,
Now it’s time to talking about cybersecurity challenges:
Top 5 Cybersecurity Challenges Faced by SMEs in 2021
Undoubtedly, malicious Malware, Ransomware and Phishing attacks are a few terms that should be taken awareness of. Being prepared for any challenges can protect your business from unpredictable threats. You need to have proper knowledge about the cybersecurity challenges that SMEs are facing in 2021. Here are the top 5 cybersecurity challenges:
Cybersecurity Challenge # 1 – It’s Human, not Machine
Without any malicious purpose, your employees may mistakenly end up with all types of data breaches. They have privileged access to your company’s data, leading to cyber attacks. After all, it’s humans and not the machines who pose your business’s most significant cybersecurity issues.
Cybersecurity Challenge # 2 – Phishing & Spear Phishing Threats
Nowadays, criminals use phishing & spear threats to introduce malware into businesses. Spear phishing threat is a highly targeted form of phishing that involves bespoke emails being sent to well-researched victims. So, it’s challenging to spot without close inspection and with technical controls alone. If you want to avoid the risk posed by ransomware and other malware, SMEs must ensure staff are aware of the dangers and know how to spot phishing emails.
Cybersecurity Challenge # 3 – Adopting Cloud-Based Infrastructure
Today, many people use cloud services for both personal and business needs. With the increased popularity of cloud app development, hacking cloud platforms to steal user data is one of the biggest threats in cybersecurity for SMEs. You are probably all aware of the massive iCloud breach in 2014 that exposed private photos of celebrities through the internet like wildfire. That shocking invasion of privacy caused embarrassment and damage to many celebrities’ reputations. If such a threat is carried out on enterprise data, it could pose a massive threat to the business and maybe even lead to its collapse.
So, as a small to the mid-sized business owner, you should pay attention to proper cloud storage configuration, APIs and the end-user actions on cloud devices to strengthen the cloud computing defenses in the future.
Cybersecurity Challenge # 4 – Integrating AI with Cybersecurity
AI (Artificial Intelligence) is introduced in all market segments. With machine learning, AI has brought significant changes in cybersecurity. This technology has gained popularity in developing automated security systems, natural language processing and other automatic threat detection. AI creates innovative malware and attacks to bypass the latest security protocols in controlling data. AI-enabled threat detection systems can predict new attacks and notify admins of any data violence quickly, making it the following cybersecurity trend in 2021.
You can read about top AI trends to watch out for in 2021.
Cybersecurity Challenge # 5 – IoT Vulnerability
All types of companies have been willingly IoT app development to help analyze consumer and client behavior and assist them in more efficient marketing processes. Unfortunately, the incredible popularity of IoT devices sharply increases the threat of data breaches. As the Internet of Things trends usage sharply upward without the corresponding technology development to protect against cybercrime, this problem increases continuously.
You can also read about security challenges of IoT.
Cybersecurity Challenge # 6 – Rise In Sophisticated Ransomware Attacks
Cybercriminals have become more skilled with their ransomware threats – the encryption-based malware. This threat has continued to target small and medium-sized businesses and is expected to continue increasing into 2021. Even SMEs are more likely to pay a ransom to have their data unencrypted than large businesses due to the improper backing up of business-critical data. As we know, hackers took in $20 billion via successful ransomware threats in 2020, and experts forecast this figure will enhance substantially in 2021. The increased use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has made it easier for hackers to steal organizations’ stories and data.
Cybersecurity Challenge # 7 – Insider Threats
According to a Verizon report, 34% of cyber threats in 2019 came about because of internal employees’ intentional or unintentional behavior. Many things are more disturbing to a company than dissatisfied current or previous employees infecting critical systems, selling sensitive information, or enabling bad actors to access the company network. Accordingly, organizations should take the time to limit access to their sensitive data.
Despite the actual attacks of malicious insiders, unintentionally destructive employee behavior remains a primary concern for companies. Even it has been observed that 64% of insider threat incidents came about through careless employees or contractors. This remarkable statistic highlights the importance of providing security awareness training and requiring proper email and internet behavior from all employees.
Cybersecurity Challenge # 8 – Fifth-Generation Network (5G)
While the 5G network deployment will make it easy for humanity to use beloved IoT gadgets, it will also make society more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. These networks have a complicated architecture, resulting in the requirement of appropriate security measures. Hackers can detect unsecured spots to compromise personal and enterprise data.
Cybersecurity Challenge # 9 – Extended Detection & Response (XDR)
With growing data breaches, cybersecurity professionals are forced to get visibility of enterprise and customer data across networks, cloud workloads, apps and emails. The XDR is set to gain momentum as they can automatically gather data from various endpoints and correlate them to facilitate immediate threat detection and incident response. For example, a cyber threat can be combined and connected to enable visibility and context into the event.
Cybersecurity Challenge # 10 – Automation & Integration
The security team works under pressure to complete the task in less time. Automation and integration is a better way to increase overall productivity. Organizations that follow DevOps and CI/CD processes can reach effective risk management at the required development speed and quality.
How to Prevent your Small & Medium-Sized Business from Cyber Attacks?
Small and medium-sized enterprises use potent factors such as broadband and information technology to reach new markets and increase productivity and efficiency. However, to protect your business, customers and data from growing cyber threats, you need a successful cybersecurity strategy. Here are some general best practices that SMEs adopt to reduce vulnerability to a cyberattack.
# 1 – Work with Experts
The best thing SMEs can do to stay safe from cyber attacks is to rely on experts. For that, you can outsource the complicated tasks to an IT expert or managed service provider. Many small & medium-sized enterprise owners complain about the cost of taking proper cybersecurity measures. Let’s imagine paying for parking; putting $2 in the meter is worth defending yourself from a $50 ticket or, worse, getting your vehicle towed! The upfront cost may seem expensive. However, your business can’t afford the risk of doing anything or doing cybersecurity poorly.
# 2 – Complete a Risk Assessment
Companies should perform a thorough risk assessment that evaluates all possible vulnerabilities and establishes a blueprint for privacy and security policies. Risk assessments also aid companies in understanding which actions they can reasonably address themselves or outsource to experts. We recommend you review your risk assessment annually and perform one from starting or when you have had any significant changes in your systems.
For example, getting new servers, upgrading to the new OS and using new software for gathering PHI all warrant a new risk assessment.
# 3 – Backup Data
Hackers pressurize business owners into paying large amounts of money to release their data. Always ask your clients: how long can they live without your data? Many businesses would be ruined to lose even a week of material. Besides, covered entities must retain PHI for a minimum of six years, so secure storage is a must.
# 4 – Secure Email
While it may be better to use a free version of an email service, it can put your company at risk. On the other hand, paid email services to protect users from spam, malware and other phishing threats thanks to their cybersecurity features like filtering and warning labels. While employees should be trained to identify and resolve these malicious email attacks, preventing them from interacting with such messages together is ideal.
# 5 – Beefing up Existing Cybersecurity Protections
If you want to prevent hackers from gaining access to your data, you need to change passwords with strong ones made up of random letters, numbers and special characters. In addition, you can use multiple factors authentication for your accounts and services. You can also update your antivirus software to secure your Wi-Fi networks.
As cybersecurity trends keep changing, organizations must accept a proactive IT security approach to support business security. They must become more accessible, more flexible and more collaborative as they promise to secure their essential assets. Cybersecurity for SMEs is not as challenging as it seems if you need help! So, why not hand things over to the experts for the sake of your business? Get in touch with Appventurez!
How does Appventurez Seek Cybersecurity Measures?
As a business improvement partner, Appventurez is a mobile app development company that works with you to understand your key business challenges. It allows us to select the best practice approaches that suit your business and build remarkable resilience in the changing cyber landscape. From the best practice management system to testing physical infrastructure, we have a range of solutions to meet your business requirements. We are proud to offer a wide range of cybersecurity features and solutions to help you enjoy high levels of security throughout your business.
For more information or to take advantage of great cybersecurity options today, get in touch with our experts!
Co-Founder and AVP Technology at Appventurez Mobitech. A tech enthusiast who has broad expertise in delivering end to end software solutions. He is an expert technocrat ho has in-depth knowledge and is highly experienced in delivering solutions for Android, Xamarin, Ethereum Smart Contracts, ASP.net.
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