Cyber security isn’t just something that large organisations need to invest in. With the number of cyber attacks increasing yearly against SMEs - 43% now target small businesses -, having adequate security in place when it comes to digital systems is vital. Not only can you protect your business from disruption and data loss and theft but this will help to ensure legal compliance too. So how does cyber security help SMEs to stay secure?
Establishing cyber security for your business
Whether you build an internal team, or work with a third party provider, it’s essential that your business is covered by a strong programme of consistent and comprehensive cyber security. This is not just about firewalls and virus scanning, there are many other ways in which cyber security will help SMEs to stay secure.
● Scanning networks for vulnerabilities. This is the most effective way to ensure that you’re operating with optimum protection at all times, including when it comes to implementing the latest patches and countermeasures.
● Simulating a phishing attack. The success of cyber attacks, such as phishing, depends on how your staff respond and that’s something that you can train for by regularly simulating an attack situation. This involves sending fake phishing emails to staff so as to get an idea of who might be the most likely to click on links in this kind of email and so that everyone in the organisation can get a better understanding of what could happen as a result.
● Third party penetration testing. This is essentially a process of trying to hack your systems - however, it is ethical hacking and done for the purpose of revealing flaws and testing the strength of your existing environment. This is something that your business should do annually, whether you’re focused on an external attack or an internal attack by a credentialed user, or both.
● Providing training on an ongoing basis. The risk landscape for SMEs changes continuously today and it’s not enough to provide IT training on a one off basis, for example when someone starts a role at the company. Ongoing training ensures that cyber security is always at the front of employees’ minds and that awareness levels are high. It will provide a forum in which people can ask questions and seek information and is essential when it comes to troubleshooting.
● Designing and implementing a cyber security strategy. A cyber security strategy provides direction for the entire business and ensures clarity when it comes to protective measures and what needs to happen if a security event occurs. It should include security goals, and the steps required to achieve them, as well as identifying those who are responsible for making each stage happen. A cyber security strategy should be company-wide, not limited to the IT team, as this will make it a much more effective and insightful tool.
Cyber security ensures that SMEs have essential protection in place, high levels of awareness and a focused approach to protecting the business and its interests going forward.