The essential cyber-security
guide for SMEs
The essential cyber-security
guide for SMEs
What you need to get started on your
Contrary to common belief, cyber-security is a big problem for small businesses. In fact, 87% of small businesses believe their business is safe from cyber attacks because they use antivirus software alone.i
As businesses are increasingly being conducted digitally, cyber-security is necessary and must be made a priority. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are gaining greater awareness of the dangers and their susceptibility to cyber threats. However, the complexity is stopping them from incorporating proper cyber-security solutions to their daily operations.
To ease the adoption of cyber-security, here is a best practice guide to get you started:
Assess your exposure to risks
First step of getting cyber-secured is to understand your risks. After evaluating where you stand in the cyber scene, you’d know what steps you need to take to move towards the safe zone.
Conduct an initial security vulnerability assessment on your existing systems and processes to get a good and informed overview of the potential vulnerabilities. Cyber-thefts are constantly advancing their technology and schemes therefore it is good to repeat the evaluation process as frequent as you can. As your business evolves, the insights and information gathered from the assessments will also help you get a better understanding of your system over time, including the assets, users, and any potential threats.
If hiring a security consultant is out of your budget, consider software solutions such as anti-virus which can generate valuable information and reports on the weaknesses of your system in a quick analysis.
Knowing the potential types of attacks and how they can affect your business will guide you in evaluating your risks. Also determine the assets that you need to protect so you can prioritise and develop a targeted strategy that focuses on the key data.
Adopt specific actions to be cyber-secured
After a detailed analysis of your risks, the next step is to implement small actions on your day-to-day operations that can have big impacts in minimising security compromises.
Backing up your data may seem like a small action but it can reap great benefits. Do so regularly so that you can quickly restore any lost or compromised data. This also protects you from information loss due to unforeseen circumstances such as accidents, system failures or data corruption.
Take care to also monitor your Internet usage and beware of connecting to unsecured, public Wi-Fi networks. Use web filtering to control the incoming and outgoing content. Emails and websites are gateways for the intrusion of malware and viruses. A simple use of spam filter on your email hosting system can help you block potentially malicious or infected mails. Also ensure that the sites you’re browsing are secured, which can be reflected with an "s" in the “https” of the website URL.
Implement cyber-security solutions
When deciding on your security options, a key consideration is whether to go with cloud-based or on-premise solutions.
Cloud-based solutions can be easily integrated with minimal setup time. Also, they tend to be fully managed services which save you trouble and costs in upgrading and maintenance. Another major benefit is that it allows for remote access from any location or device, allowing you to work even outside office.
However, security is one of the main drawbacks – when hosted in the Cloud, you don’t have full control to your data and if a breach happens on the system, your data will be compromised. Connectivity can affect your accessibility to the data.
On-premise security offers control that Cloud solutions cannot provide. This enables a configured system or solution that is customised to their needs. Being able to monitor and collect your network data on premise reduces performance issues such as connectivity or maintenance outages.
A huge deterrence for on-premise solutions is the significant capital investment in hardware, software, licensing. The initial setup and integration also require longer time and thought. Another downside is that users are physically limited to the premise and are unable to access outside of office.
Build team effort
Getting your staff on board is critical for any security measures to take full effect.
Over-monitoring your employees’ online actions may deter them. Show trust by setting limitations over what you monitor and filter. Adopt the same security limitations for yourself so that your staff understand that it is a concerted security effort and not a means to supervise their work.
Hold an onboarding training or workshop to educate your staff on the importance of staying cyber-secured and the action steps they’d need to take. This eases the adoption of the software and also convinces them of their responsibility in protecting the corporate assets and data that they handle.
Cyber-security does not need to be rocket science with the right strategies in place. With small efforts in place, you can start building up your security plan to safeguard your business from cyber threats.
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