Whether you’re looking for IT support in London, New York, Tokyo, or in any other part of the world, digital security should be your topmost priority. Digital attacks can be launched from anywhere in the world, targeted towards a victim anywhere on the planet.
Digital technology and the internet have truly made the world a global village. However, while there are significant benefits to being one global community, there are also a few serious drawbacks. The most prominent drawback is, of course, digital safety.
The Current State of SME Cyber Defense
According to research, over 40% of total cyber-attacks targeted SMEs, startups, and solopreneurs. This is because these small institutions rarely have any protections in place around their digital infrastructure.
The very few that do have safety measures in place are often using a very primitive solution. Most SMEs rely on free services, such as a basic anti-virus or a free VPN service. Moreover, they have no defense for more complex attacks which target weaker areas of the system.
Not only are SMEs a great target for hackers because they have very little in defense terms, but they also act as a gateway to larger businesses that they’re connected to.
The infamous attack on retail giant Wal-Mart in 2005-2006 was performed using precisely this method. By attacking a smaller company which was an associate of Wal-Mart, attackers were able to easily make their way into the retailers’ system.
To better gauge the enormity of the cyber security crisis, in 2015, cyber-attacks on businesses cost people $3 trillion globally. Six years down the line, in 2021 that figure is expected to rise to nearly twice that amount, hitting an all-time high of $6 trillion.
With so many existing and new businesses coming online during the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of targets for cyber-criminals is increasing rapidly. Many businesses are relying on online marketplaces and digital selling solutions to keep their organizations afloat.
What Can You Do to Stay Protected?
This will largely depend on the specific services and technologies you employ in your business. Even two businesses in the same industry can have very different digital needs, and require different systems to keep them protected. However, there are a few basic techniques that can be employed by both individuals and businesses to better protect their systems.
Whether it’s a smartphone, a laptop, a workstation, or even a web service, log-in credentials are required nearly everywhere. Setting a strong password that has a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols is a great start. Most people find it hard to remember a complex password, so many prefer to keep their systems logged in full-time.
Fortunately, by employing two-factor authentication you can enjoy not needing to memorize a different password for each service you use, and you can also stay logged in. Whenever you need to resume working, two-factor authentication can have you up and running in no time. Yes, it’s one more step to take, but it exponentially increases your data’s security.
With spyware, malware, and phishing being the most used tactics against business, two-factor authentication protocols for all personal and confidential applications is a must-have.
Secure Your Connections
You could be using an in-house network, a dedicated high-speed connection, or maybe a web-based solution to interact with clients and vendors. Whatever the case may be, you want to invest in a high-quality network security solution.
Don’t opt for a free service, as those rarely protect you from real-life threats.
If you have employees working from home, make sure they’re connected to the main infrastructure through a well-secured connection. Oftentimes, businesses spend significant time and money in securing the device itself and pay no attention to the connection gateway it will be running through.
Wireless connections are often the weakest point in a system, and making sure these are well-protected is crucial.
You may have heard digital security experts talking about ‘minimizing your digital footprint’. This is similar to reducing the entry and exit points in a building. The fewer entry points there are, the fewer places that need to be protected, and hence the chances of someone being able to break in are lower.
With so many devices running in your business, there are many areas that can be compromised. If you have an in-house team, it’s best to use dedicated workstations rather than bringing their personal devices to use at work. Personal devices go everywhere and change numerous networks.
A dedicated device is only used for work and will be solely connected to the business network. This will help keep all business-related activities under one umbrella with fewer access points for attackers to break through.
Not everyone needs access to everything in your business. Employees in different areas such as sales, marketing, accounts, and HR only need access to data that pertains to their work.
Rather than giving full access to the whole team, try managing it in such a way that everyone only gets access to the information they need. If they need additional resources from a restricted area, they can ask an administrator for temporary rights to access it. This will ensure the most sensitive information is always kept confidential and only accessed under controlled supervision.
The best way to start improving your digital defence system is to get it audited by an experienced IT specialist.
With their experience and expertise, they’ll be able to provide you with a list of actions you can take to improve your particular infrastructure. This is where it pays to have a full-time IT support team working with you to constantly monitor, tweak, and improve your infrastructure from all angles.
Lastly, remember to have a good backup and recovery protocol in place. This will be vital in getting you back on track in case something does go wrong, and you lose access to your data.
While some of these services may cost money, you need to look at them as an investment rather than an expense. Don’t be afraid to pay a bit more for a well-known and reputed service rather than an unknown name and regret it later.