Cyber Security

How can SMBs reduce downtime and prevent cyber attacks?

How can SMBs reduce downtime and prevent cyber attacks?

Our historical evidence confirms humans witnessed the wrath of nature through pandemics, earthquakes, flooding etc. This brutality superimposed on us life changing experiences and paved a path for scientific research and innovations. How different was Covid-19 in this millennium?

Despite the anthem of technology dominating the top of the pyramids we never envisaged an onslaught to this intensity. Along with the disruption of daily routine, there is a slumber in businesses. While larger firms dealt with nature’s fury by cutting on various operating costs, the SMBs became both the predator and prey.

As a predator, they saw the opportunity lies in cyberspace and digitalization became a lone survivor to board the ship. Homes converted to makeshift offices, Zoom became savior to conduct businesses and team members, and the internet became sole guardian.

As a prey, SMBs were lackadaisical in securing their cyber world. With less resources to spend on cyber security, and no time to train their staff, depending on their outdated security features they tried to defend the porous walls from the cyber criminals. Also read about Why Cybersecurity is important for SMBs

What are the findings which suggest SMBs are victims of cybertheft?

As per Juniper Research, Business losses due to cybercrime are likely to exceed US$ 5 Trillion by 2024 and increase to 70% over the forthcoming five years.

Firms do not function in isolation and therefore, their interactions with third parties cannot be ignored. When there is a scenario involving data breaches the size of the firm is not a matter. It shows how significant the information of your firms’ data is. No security system is concrete enough which does not exhibit weaknesses. While SMBs presume they are not vulnerable to cyber threat, the findings according to Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report convey a distinct story. Whilst, 43% of the breach victims involve SMBs.

On a added note, as per the reports stated by Untangle, an security network provider

  • 48% of SMBs spend less than their budget allocation of $5,000 and this percentage is reduced from the previous year of 54%.
  • 80% of SMBs vouch for security priority in their firms however, on the contrary, more than 52% do not have a dedicated IT staff working in their firms.

What are the most common methods used to perpetuate cybertheft?

When the culture of hacking came into existence, it was done purely for fun by amateurs or professionals to reassure their command over computer programming. However, with time as the internet became a dominant force the hackers started shifting their positions. They became ambitious and enjoyed the new found freedom of disrupting the functioning of companies. Their bread and butter came through it and continue to remain top on the game.

Acting as mercenaries they traded the confidential data and intellectual property stolen through cyber theft. The buyer can be a competitor in trade, hold the firm for ransom, or sell in the open market depending upon the deal they strike.

The most common method used by cybercriminals to infiltrate in firms’ space are:

  • Phishing – is the most common way resulting in 67% malware installs in any firm’s network.  They are done via simply sending employees email or fake software updates with links.  Once by mistake the employee clicks on the link the malware installation process starts.
  • Malware – again sent as email attachment to employees with common names.  Employees become easy victims by opening the email and attachment thinking it came from their colleagues or customers or vendors.
  • Social media posting – getting access to company details such as names or mail IDs and posing as members of management to gain network access.
  • Hacking through websites  – sending links posing as official websites in order to gain confidence from the employees.  Normally, they feel secure to download or open attachments from these websites.

Despite all the misgivings, a sizable amount of cyber attacks can be prevented and help the management to reduce downtime.

What are the common ways to prevent downtime ?

Let us share a few tips on how management can prevent or reduce the unwarranted breaks in their firm through cyber crime.

A. Secure your servers :

     First and foremost a secured server diminishes many problems on the onset. This can be done through

  • Location of the server should be known only to the top management
  • Build and invest in a firewall
  • Code protection is needed with suitable error trappings.  This prevents any SQL queries injection by hackers.
  • Utilize Secure Sockets Layer – the internal security protocol that protects servers.

B. Update your networking operating system and software regularly :

     Most of the time it is negligence on the part of the employees giving cyber criminals a gateway to enter into the network. This is can easily avoidable by

  • Ensuring all staff having any level of network or software access have the current updates installed.
  • Monitor if the current anti-virus program running is functioning or its license is expired.
  • Run real time updates of your anti-virus programs frequently.
  • Install a software detecting any form of malware and spam blockers.
  • Test the firewall capabilities and verify its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Undergo scheduled maintenance to understand the loopholes in your system and find out the blind spot.

C. Protect your confidential data as a daily routine :

    As a worst case scenario even if the firm becomes a victim of cyber theft, its existence will not be challenged. Provided on a daily basis backups are done for its more critical and confidential files.

  • Ensure the ‘confidential zone’ is not connected with the regular servers or network.   
  • The data should be maintained in an encrypted mode to ensure the hackers cannot victimize us in case they get access to the information.

D. Build two-step log-in verification for all your users:

     The most common culprit is employees and their password creating abilities posing a serious security threat. Instruct your IT team to conduct password audits on a scheduled timelines. It can be done through

  • Verifying the password strength and instructing them to have an alphanumeric password.
  • Implement a two-way authentication log-in process preventing employees sharing or guessing each other’s password.
  • As a standard, employees should change their password at scheduled intervals. Without change of password log-in access should be denied.
  • When there is no activity on the screen, the system should be capable enough to log-off automatically from various access points. This prevents unnecessarily ‘peeping toms’ taking advantage of the innocent user.

E. Create awareness to your employees:

      Ignorance and illiteracy of the cybersecurity is a great handicap for both the firm and its employees.

  • Both the present and on board staff members should have regular orientation of the hazard of cyber invasions. 
  • They should be in a position to identify the various tactics deployed by cyber criminals.  The most frequently used malware like phishing attacks,  websites imposters and email attachment.   
  • The IT team capability can also be tested if mock attacks are staged and how well employees react during adverse time.

F. Develop a contingency plan to deal during emergency :

     When it comes to cyber theft no one is spared whether it is a ‘king’ or a ‘soldier’. As long as there is a benefit for the criminals, treat them at par. Therefore, all firms invariable of their sizes should have outlined a recovery plan.

  • Create an emergency team comprising the ‘who’s who of the firm
  • Have guidelines of what actions to be taken and who are designated to be involved.
  • Provide a detailed orientation for the team and their action plan during the untoward incident.

Reducing downtime is a difficult task but not unattainable.  SMBs are ready to invest provided they have a suitable alternative to share their burdens.   We, at iSquare, share our 15 years plus experience accumulated by servicing clients spanning multitude geographical locations.  Being accredited with ISO 27001 certification is the testimonial for the global framework of information security practices that we adopt and enable our customers with.

Our product development and services are tailor-made to suit the industries our client functions. Be it a product based or developer based we integrate all our products as per the various applications that entails.  

To know more about us, Contact Us to better understand our capabilities.  We are a resilient bridge dissuading unnecessary access to our client’s thresholds.