Cyber Security

How SMEs Can Outsmart Cyber Criminals

Written by Victoria Wilson

Data breaches against big name companies seem to be a near-monthly occurrence.

It was major credit card company Capital One in July 2019, with the details of 106 millions individuals stolen and exposed to the risk of fraud. 

When compared to other recent and significant breaches, this one was not even the biggest! 

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With cyber security threats taking down some of the biggest firms in the world, it is easy for SMEs to feel hopeless about their own defences.

After all, if the firms with the biggest budgets can be breached, then what chance do smaller firms have?

However, it's not a matter of the biggest budget, but a matter of diligence and attention to detail that make an IT network truly secure. 

Whether your budget for IT security is big or small, you can outsmart the cyber criminals with the help of a managed IT services provider. 

Without the resources for a dedicated cyber security professional (or even a dedicated IT Team) in the organisation, SMEs often struggle to prioritise developments to their IT security strategy and practice.

Here are the top 4 ways SMEs can outsmart cyber criminals, without spending a fortune:

1) Training

According to research by ESG, 57% of SMEs know or suspect that their employees are using non-IT provisioned cloud applications for or at work. 

Additionally, 28% identified careless employee behaviour as the top security vulnerability for their business. 

Social engineering attacks and phishing scams are commonly used to gain your colleagues' trust and leverage it against your organisation.

Online or in-person security awareness training from a managed services provider (MSP) like SysGroup offers an engaging and interactive way for your team to understand how phishing scams and cyber attacks work. They will understand the importance of their role and how they are easy targets when they bypass standard procedures and let their guard down.

Our security awareness training offers:

  • realistic simulations of common scams and tactics like social engineering
  • beta testing to provide a benchmark of how aware your staff are on the whole
  • graphs and statistics to improve your feedback to executives and management

2) Be forward-thinking

78% of consumers would avoid a business after it had a data breach (Crown Records Management, 2018).

The blow to your reputation and disruption to daily operations would be devastating as a SME. Taking an aggressive posture towards security preparedness is necessary protect your reputation and secure your environment.

As a smaller business, you may feel that higher-level security features are outside of your grasp. However, working with a MSP allows you to host your data in some of the largest and most secure data centres in the world, configured with features like state-of-the-art WatchGuard firewalls and anti-virus tools.

When a MSP delivers and advises on your IT security options, they translate jargon, clearly explain costs and help you to prioritise your spending based on your network's strengths and weaknesses. This kind of consultancy helps you to be forward-thinking as a SME with limited resources.

3) Save where you can

Many businesses fall for the myth that they must buy a 'total package' of IT security tools and services in order to be secure. Then because the costs are astronomical, the pressure to have a perfectly secure network can hinder progress for SMEs.

Instead, begin with an assessment of your current IT network and practices. Then work through a consultation process with a MSP to determine your unique needs, everything from industry-regulations like PCI DSS compliance and GDPR to an environment with sufficient layers of security and visibility.

The right MSP won't pressure you into buying certain products, especially if those products are added extras or not very important to your immediate needs or goals. You can craft a strategic plan together that works within your budget and keeps you fully-protected from major cyber threats, even as a SME.

4) Carefully integrate new features 

Adding new features to a legacy IT environment must be done carefully, so no gaps are overlooked. Gaps & aptly termed 'backdoors' in IT networks are where cyber criminals can sneak in unnoticed. Because SMEs often have foundational legacy systems with layers of newer features added on top, these gaps become an area of particular concern. Reducing your number of vendors by going to one MSP is a good way to stay on top of all the different security tools they are using and be sure they fit well together.

From 2FA to email security, endpoint security and anti-DDoS tools, a managed IT security solution can streamline your network for optimal protection again cyber criminals.

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