The importance of cybersecurity in business
We’ve all seen headlines highlighting the importance of cybersecurity in business in recent years, with large-scale corporations being targeted in complex cybersecurity attacks. In these high-profile cases, it’s often the industry giants whose cybersecurity infrastructure has fallen short in protecting their customer data.
However, the importance of cybersecurity in business is just as pivotal in smaller organisations. And in fact, because many small-to-medium-sized businesses don’t invest in the necessary cybersecurity needed to secure their websites – they can find themselves at a greater risk to cyber hacking.
So, to help you understand more about why your business might be at risk, along with what you can do to protect your business and your customers, we’ve created our guide on the importance of cybersecurity in business.
What are the cybersecurity risks to SMEs?
Data theft, loss or corruption
Data thieves tend to target smaller companies because they expect their IT security to be less robust than larger organisations. Should these hackers be successful in stealing your business data, it can be extremely costly to recover.
To add to that, if the data stolen is sensitive then the importance of cybersecurity in business becomes even more apparent. Once accessed, credit card details, intellectual property and information about vendors, employees and customers can all be used for fraudulent activity.
Reputational damage and regulatory fines
Data security is a sensitive subject for consumers, and both Local and National media will be quick to pick up on businesses that have failed to protect their customers’ information. But even if a breach evades the news, your affected customers will need to be made aware that their data has been compromised. A data breach is a difficult issue to come back from, causing a deep distrust amongst your customers.
And it’s not only reputational damage you’ll need to worry about if you don’t appreciate the importance of cybersecurity in business from the get-go. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) are the regulatory body for data protection and information security. They have the power to issue fines of up to 4% of annual turnover to companies who fail to comply with data protection legislation.
Disruption to business
A data breach will cause significant disruption to your business operations. It could mean having your staff carry out duties outside of their usual role or prevent you from serving customers until the issue is resolved. Plus, if the breach is investigated by law – then you won’t be able to trade at all. Valuing the importance of cybersecurity in business really is essential to ensuring your business can operate throughout the year without worrying about drastic disruption.
How to protect your small business against cyber-attacks.
Off-site data backups
As an SME owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that data is backed up to multiple locations using a secure cloud service that uses end-to-end encryption. This way, you know that if the business does fall victim to Ransomware or even technical failure, then you know your data is safe as it is stored safely and backed up.
Enforce strong passwords
This might seem like an obvious one, but password attacks are still some of the most common forms of cyber-attacks. Attackers can use sophisticated software to predict thousands of password combinations within seconds. By ensuring your customers set strong passwords, you are demonstrating your awareness of the importance of cybersecurity in business.
Develop your understanding of cybersecurity
For many SME owners, it takes a threat to be identified before they realise the importance of cybersecurity in business. Stay ahead by developing your knowledge of cybersecurity fundamentals with specialist training. By understanding what could be involved in a cybersecurity threat, you will be more equipped to deal with one should it occur. Plus, by training your employees on the importance of cybersecurity in business – you are only adding to your online security.
Keep software updated
As part of your business review measures, you need to ensure that all software and applications are kept installed and up to date. Many of these platforms have automatic updates, and so keeping these turned on will mean that your software will continue to be up to speed on the latest cyber-threats and able adapt accordingly to block them.
Complete a risk assessment
Completing a risk assessment regularly will help you to identify any gaps in your cybersecurity. Once identified, you’ll be able to make informed decisions on what investment – either time or monetary – will be needed to protect your data and that of your customers.
For small-to-medium-sized businesses, we know that budgets can be tight – especially in the first few years of trade. However, we hope that by providing more information on the importance of cybersecurity in business, you’ll now be more aware of why putting cybersecurity infrastructure towards the top of your inventory is so vital.