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You tend to hear a lot about the bigger organisations getting hit by devastating cyber attacks, but of course SMEs are just as much at risk. Startups in particular can understandably get caught up in other pressing business matters, like sales and daily operations, leading them to often overlook security. However, this can be a grave error with sometimes severe consequences.
So, here are 5 things start-up businesses should know about cyber security…
It’s easy to presume that only large, high profile organisations are targeted by cyber criminals, especially when we often only hear about these examples on the news. However, if a business uses any computing devices, the internet, or has any sort of digital presence whatsoever; it’s likely to be targeted too.
Malicious software and scripts tend to seek out the most vulnerable computers and networks, which many small businesses have. SMEs can be even more at risk due to having very limited experience with cyber security measures. Also, they tend to have no dedicated IT staff who can help to prevent these things from happening.
Certain types of cyber attacks are more common than others, and it’s important to be aware of them all:
Unfortunately, people can often be the weakest link in the cyber security chain, as human error is usually the cause of many breaches. Staff can fall victim to phishing, which involves them being tricked into clicking on dangerous links that end up installing malware.
If a member of staff is careless enough to plug an unsafe device, such as a USB stick that hasn’t been virus checked, into the business’s network and computers, then they could compromise the whole system. Educating every person in the business on the best day-to-day security practices is absolutely essential, to prevent attacks caused by human error.
One of the biggest problems with cyber security, is that many SMEs often don’t keep track of who has access to their systems. Startups tend to unnecessarily hand out infrastructure access to many different people. It could be a freelancer that helped get them set up, who still has access to servers afterwards, or an ex-member of staff who still has important passcodes.
Fortunately, many modern administration tools and services can allow a business to set user roles with corresponding levels of access. Meaning they can control who gets to do what on their system. Other ways of preventing vulnerabilities, is to encourage staff to use strong passwords, revoke access to staff who leave, and introduce non-disclosure clauses to prevent passwords getting leaked etc.
It’s understandable that a start-up or small business won’t want to add to their costs, but cyber security is definitely something that should never be viewed as just another unwanted expense. Besided cost-effective anti-malware and security software, businesses can invest in services, which means they can avoid paying heavy upfront costs for security applications and appliances.
Scalable cyber security as a service, is certainly something that many SMEs need to focus on as a worthwhile investment. They need to understand the risks so that they can prepare properly for any potential cyber attacks down the line.
At Prism, we can improve cyber security across your whole company, by managing and protecting your IT security, leaving you to focus on the running of your business. Please get in touch with our team today to see how we can help.