Think SMEs won’t fall victim to cyber threats? Think again.

27 September 2018

It may be logical to think that small businesses won’t be targeted by cyber attacks – after all, hackers probably don’t know your company, and they wouldn’t have much to gain from attacking it compared to bigger companies, right?

It becomes more convenient to convince yourself further that this is true when you’re working with a limited budget and you don’t think investing in cyber-security will reap any rewards for you.

That’s a dangerous misconception. An unguarded small business is in an even more precarious position to suffer from cyber threats – a major attack can shut down a business in a matter of days.

In line with Singapore’s push towards becoming a Smart Nation, we explore the myths of cyber-security, and why it’s necessary for you to protect your business from cyber threats.


Myth #1: Small businesses won’t be targeted by cyber attacks.

Many small businesses are unaware of how threatening the digital world is. In 2017, 35% of SMEs in Singapore were attacked by ransomwarei. Today, cyber attacks continue to scale up both in terms of number and proficiency.


Cyber criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are leveraging digital innovations to mount their attacks – the landscape and cyber enemy have completed changed, says Gerry Chng, EY’s cybersecurity leader for Aseanii.


With the exponential explosion of data, there are more avenues for hackers to attack since data is accessible by a broader ecosystem of consumers and partners on multiple platforms.

While individual small businesses may not be specifically selected for attacks, cyber criminals employ mass targeting techniques to identify susceptible ones – often turning out to be the ones holding the misconception that they are too small to be targeted. By not having adequate security, the chances of your business catching the attention of cyber criminals and being subjected to attacks are much higher.


Myth #2: Cyber-security is only needed by businesses with extensive software systems.

Extensive and interconnected systems with large pools of data are an attractive target to hackers for a huge haul, as a single point of entry can often provide access to almost the company’s entire infrastructure.

However, those are also usually much more difficult to breach. Instead, petty crimes, in the form of their digital equivalents, happen in many more instances. Cyber attacks like phishing – an attempt to acquire sensitive information by disguising as a trustworthy entity – can occur to even individuals, not to mention small businesses. It’s likely that you’d already have experienced being the subject of such attacks, such as a bogus email that requests for you to verify your bank details or app purchase.

Every device and network that can potentially store confidential data needs to be protected, from your email account, mobile phone, Internet connection to your cloud storage.


Myth #3: A small business cannot afford cyber-security.

While ransomware and other cyber threats can be debilitating for small businesses, most SMEs do not need to break the bank in order to properly protect their business, fortunately.

Simple measures like training employees not to open or download suspicious email attachments or applications before checking for credibility is a form of cyber-security too. Software updates also helps as cyber criminals often target the vulnerabilities of outdated software, which new software has since protected.

What’s more, there are lite versions of anti-viruses and other protective software that are designed specifically for small businesses, forgoing features that are usually outside of what their infrastructure entails. You can also look out for bundled packages and add-ons. For example, StarHub offers Broadband Shield, a free value-added service that provides a firewall to secure your network connections when you sign up for StarHub Business Dynamic Fibre Broadband.

Myth #4: Cyber-security is too complex and cannot be set up by non-specialists.

There are many cyber-security products on the market that are too complex to implement, peppered with technical jargon and providing set-up instructions that are difficult to follow, even when laid out step by step. It almost seems like you need to have an IT professional onboard to manage it.

Those are not the products that you should be looking at. After all, your cyber-security software is only as good as how you configure it, regardless of what capabilities it can achieve.

With StarHub’s Broadband Shield+, you get a complete three-in-one Unified Threat Management service of anti-virus, web filtering and application control on top of Broadband Shield’s firewall. It is easy to use, with intuitive customisation like selecting pre-populated content categories for blocking.

After debunking the common myths surrounding cyber-security, it is critical for you to evaluate how secure your business is from cyber threats currently and take steps to ensure that there is adequate protection for it to continue to grow and flourish.


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