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You’re not too small for hackers to notice: Here are 3 ways SMBs can develop the right-sized digital security strategy

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One of the most dangerous things for small business owners to think is, “We’re not big enough for cyber attackers.” With 48 million cyber security incidents in 2014 alone, the reality is that no business is immune to attacks, regardless of its size.

Government legislation and high-profile data breaches are attracting boardroom attention and driving an increase in IT spend globally, but for SMBs with limited IT teams and resources, preventing cybersecurity attacks may seem impossible and recovering from one could prove even more difficult.

That’s why it is critical for SMBs to invest in the right security solutions.

The growing threat to SMBs

Data breaches can have a major impact on business, whether it’s through the loss of valuable IP or their consumers’ confidence.

While breaches at major corporations make headlines, for example the Sony hack, it is SMBs that are the primary target for emerging threats, such as Ransomware, in which hackers break into business systems and hold the data hostage.

Ransomware attacks are catching many SMBs unprepared. In fact, a recent survey found that while the majority of SMBs would not pay a ransom to regain access to their files, less than a quarter are very confident that their data is secure.

It’s this realisation that has many SMB owners taking action. A survey by SurePayroll found that 60 per cent of small business owners have taken extra precautions due to cybersecurity concerns.

With the variety of cyberthreats and a crowded security solution market, however, it can be confusing for SMBs to find security solutions that fits their needs and their budgets.

With that in mind, here are three tips for small business owners looking to protect what’s most important to their business.

1. Think beyond preventative measures

Relying solely on traditional, preventative safeguards, such as firewalls simply just won’t cut it with today’s cyber threats. Encrypting the data that’s most important to your business is a more effective strategy for the long term, particularly as your business grows.

Solutions that utilise strong encryption minimise the business risk in the event of a cyberattack and decrease the likelihood and severity of insider attacks and accidents by employees.

2. Don’t settle for partial solutions

Accessing your work email is a very risky proposition when connecting to the internet outside of your work environment. Solutions such as VPNs are a common remedy for businesses that need to connect while on the go but they do not provide end-to end security.

How do you know that the email you received wasn’t sent, read or modified by somebody else along the way? Solutions need to offer end-to-end security to prevent gaps and vulnerabilities and should be designed to offer business users’ maximum control.

3. Don’t let users go anonymous

There is a difference between privacy and anonymity. Solutions that promise security through anonymity expose your business to additional security issues, such as identity fraud and make audits more difficult.

Businesses need the assurance that messages are sent from a trusted source. Solutions that offer unique digital signatures and multi-factor authentication confirm that the content has not be altered and that person logging on is really who they say they are.

In today’s security climate, it is no longer a matter of ‘if’ an attack will occur, but ‘when’. SMBs can no longer afford to pretend they are immune.

By ensuring they are prepared to meet the security challenges of today and tomorrow, small businesses can secure the path toward growth.

Eric Schwantler is the General Manager of Dekko Secure, which businesses with a simple, end-to-end security solution for email, real-time chat and document storage, enabling them to exchange messages and information with complete privacy and security.

Eric Schwantler

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