Cybersecurity Challenges for Small and Medium-sized Businesses

Cybersecurity Challenges

Using emails, databases, productivity tools, and other software solutions has become an inherent trait of modern businesses. No wonder that protecting digital data is vital for any business. For SMBs, organizing data protection efficiently is especially important. After all, such businesses can rarely afford a special IT security department with many professionals focusing only on protecting corporate data.
Learn more about protecting business data in this visually appealing infographic about cybersecurity.

Let’s take a look at some of the common cybersecurity challenges for small and medium-sized businesses: human error management, ransomware protection, application security, device security, and time effectiveness.

Human Error Management

Cybersecurity Challenges for Small and Medium-sized BusinessesHuman error is the most common reason behind data breaches. Research shows that 90 percent of data breaches are caused by human error. Human error can lead to data loss or leakage in many ways.

Perhaps, the most obvious example is falling for a phishing scam. Phishing is a method of using emails to steal personal information or business-critical data. As phishing email is designed to look persuasive, employees can easily be caught off-guard and click a link in a phishing email. Such action allows malicious software to get into the system and access important data. 

Human error is especially dangerous in cloud environments such as G Suite and Microsoft 365, where a single compromised account may damage the whole corporate network. Here you can read more about the G Suite security top risks and how to avoid them to keep your cloud data safe. 

Of course, error may take many forms. What’s more important is that incaution and carelessness may cause data loss and significant damage. Human error is inevitable, yet it’s possible to decrease its negative impact. 

That’s why human error management is one of the key issues of a company’s cybersecurity strategy. Human error management includes a set of practices and measures that are aimed at making the consequences of human error less severe. Rising cybersecurity awareness is, perhaps, one of the most overlooked aspects of successful error management.

Lack of cybersecurity awareness is one of the key factors behind the human error. Understanding of basic cybersecurity threats like phishing or ransomware will help an employee to protect both personal and business data. The best way to educate employees is to arrange cybersecurity awareness training. Demonstrating some common examples of phishing emails would be great. 

Ransomware Protection

Cybersecurity Challenges for Small and Medium-sized BusinessesYou’ve probably heard such names as WannaCry or Sodinokibi. They are just some examples of ransomware, a special virus type that can lock your system by encrypting critical data. Hackers use ransomware to seize information and demand money to give it back.

Ransomware is often used to target businesses, as they can pay the greater ransom than individual users. Recent ransomware incidents, like the Travelex attack, have caused multi-million damages. Long story short, ransomware is a serious threat and should be treated accordingly.

Organizing ransomware protection may be a challenge for a small business without a team of cybersecurity experts. That’s why companies rely on security software. 

Antivirus software helps to detect many known ransomware strains. Yet, usual antivirus software may not be a 100% effective solution against ransomware. First of all, an antivirus can detect ransomware, but can’t stop it once an attack starts. Secondly, ransomware evolves rapidly and antivirus may not detect the most recent ransomware species. 

That’s why it may be a good idea to use cybersecurity software with anti-ransomware features. For example, Spinbackup – security & backup solution that includes ransomware protection module, that allows to detect and stop ransomware attacks. Backup functionality helps to recover all damaged files.

Application Security

application securityBusinesses use various SaaS applications to complement their G Suite or Microsoft 365. Such apps include CRMs, accounting tools, and much more. Apps help to improve productivity, management, or reporting. But unfortunately, not all SaaS apps are as secure as you might have thought. 

Some apps have security gaps that can be exploited by hackers. Moreover, hackers can use apps (both mobile and business) to spread ransomware. One of the recent cases involved a fake Covid-19 tracker app. Even being listed on a trusted app marketplace is not a guarantee that an app is 100% safe to use.

That’s why businesses should pay enough attention to app security. One of the best practices to keep your data safe is app whitelisting. App whitelisting is a method of creating a list of secure apps that can access your system. Limiting access to your data helps to prevent potentially dangerous apps from disrupting your business processes.

Device Security

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is a common practice of using personal devices (laptops, tablets, etc.) for work. Though using your own device is convenient, it may not be secure.  

A great way to boost the security of employees’ devices is by introducing a BYOD policy. Such policies help companies to determine how an employee should use his or her own device for work, which programs are permitted to be installed, and what actions should be taken in case of a cybersecurity breach.

Setting up a corporate BYOD policy gives a clear understanding of device security and helps to limit potentially dangerous behavior. For example, preventing an employee from installing any app without approval from an admin/security officer will help to decrease the probability of installing an insecure app. 

Time Effectiveness

Perhaps, time is the most important business asset. Having cybersecurity processes as time-effective (meaning cost-effective) as possible is vital in the business environment. 

First and foremost, it’s a question of having your cybersecurity processes automated. Using specialized software to automate security and data management is a great way to save admin’s time. As the time of your employees is precious, such tools will pay off. 

Also, it’s a good idea to use an automated backup solution rather than making backups manually. Backing up your data regularly is vital for business continuity. Creating data copies manually is not only too time-consuming but sometimes it may not be performed at all. For example, if a data security specialist has received an urgent task.

Summing up, all cybersecurity challenges mentioned above are serious, yet facing them correctly brings huge opportunities to make your data secure and IT-related costs reasonable.  

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