Digitisation has undoubtedly revolutionised the way businesses operate and with it comes a host of benefits, but there are also threats. With the rise of ransomware attacks, such as the WannaCry attack in May 2017, denial-of-service (DoS) or distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, phishing and malware, cyber security should be a priority for all companies. SMEs, in particular, are often lacking when it comes to protecting their valuable business and customer digital data, and perpetrators know this and are keen to target them as a result. Cyberattacks cause not only operational disruption and loss of data, but can also have a potentially crippling reputational and financial impact.
So, let’s look at 5 tips for SMEs to follow to enhance their cyber security.
1. Ensure the basics are in place
When managing the cyber security of your SME, you should first ensure you have the basics in place, including making sure your Wi-Fi network is password-protected and running WPA2 encryption, operating systems and other software are kept up to date with automatic updates, data is backed up regularly and anti-virus and anti-malware software is installed and enabled on all devices.
2. Set up a firewall and encrypt sensitive data
Another relatively basic measure to have in place in the area of network security is to ensure you have active firewalls installed on your Wi-Fi network and on individual networked devices. Although firewalls alone are not totally effective against cyber threats, they do offer some level of protection.
For added cyber protection, sensitive company and customer digital data should be encrypted, that way if there is a breach, you are somewhat protected against data theft. And if you use cloud-based storage, ensure you are using two-factor authentication.
3. Be careful when using IT contractors
Using IT contractors can be a cost-effective solution for SMEs, but you should ensure they only have access to the data they need to perform their duties. Check that the service agreement clearly specifies how data will be used, and what will happen to it after the service period expires. This also applies to outsourcing other areas such as payroll.
4. Consider installing a Unified Threat Management (UTM) cyber security solution
SMEs often operate on tight budgets, so employing IT staff purely responsible for cyber security is simply not financially feasible. This is where a UTM system can help. UTM systems are all-inclusive cyber security solutions designed to simplify cyber security by allowing multiple security and networking functions to be managed through a single management console.
Guardforce Hong Kong, for instance, offers the UTM solution through a real-time, cloud-based, plug and play cyber security hardware which provides fully-comprehensive protection for any networked devices, including firewalls, anti-spam, anti-malware, anti-DDoS, zero-day protection, content filtering, etc. The hardware is simple to install and auto-updates to protect against the very latest threats 24/7. It also comes with a 24/7 support service which alerts a dedication person should any suspicious or abnormal activity occur. By using the advanced UTM cyber security solution offered by Guardforce Hong Kong, your SME will enjoy a powerful yet cost-effective method for protecting against cyber security threats.
5. Educate staff on cyber security
By implementing the above cyber protection measures, your SME should be well on its way to preventing cyberattacks. This, however, is not the end of the story – educating your staff on cyber security is also vitally important.
Many breaches start with an email, so ensure your staff understand not to open unsolicited messages or attachments, particularly from unknown senders, and to recognise signs of phishing. They should also never click on random links in emails or on the Internet.
Staff should have strong passwords to protect their devices, and they should change them regularly. If staff are able to access company data or servers on mobile devices, they should use different passwords for all their devices, and you may also consider a mobile device management solution. Other useful cyber protection measures would be to impose limitations on mobile storage devices, such as installing USB port blocker hardware, and implementing a cyber security policy for staff to follow.
The bottom line is that whatever the size of your company, cyber security must be a priority. If you have the idea that, “It will never happen to us”, you should think again because it very easily could.
If you would like to know more about The Box and other ways Guardforce’s cyber security solutions can help your SME, then contact us now.
Photo Edit By: Hypabeez Media