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SMEs and Cybersecurity Challenges: A Wakeup Call

Mustaali Marvi
Mustaali Marvi

When it comes to cyber attacks, organizations of all sizes remain at risk.

The digital world shares some eerie traits with the physical world, one of which is the abundance of people with bad dispositions. Evil doers in both these worlds are always on the hunt for targets to exploit.

There are countless examples of hackers targeting not only household internet users, but businesses as well. But it is not only the large-scale organizations that need to be on their toes in terms of their cybersecurity – small and medium-sized businesses, too, need be vigilant.

Cybersecurity Misconceptions and the Real Reasons Why Are SMEs Targeted

A business doesn’t need to be a Fortune 500 company to get targeted by cybercriminals. Not being serious about cybersecurity is reason enough. In fact, if you just glance through last year’s cyber threats statistics, you will discover that almost 50 percent of small businesses experienced a cyberattack. Moreover, nearly 60 percent of the SME victims closed their doors permanently in less than six months.

Here's why small businesses are equally threatened by cyberattacks as larger organizations:

Lack of Investment in Cybersecurity

Hackers are aware of the complacent nature of small businesses when it comes to cybersecurity. They understand that small businesses invest little-to-no money on improving their cybersecurity situation. Ultimately, it gives an easy opportunity for attackers to exploit.

SMEs Can Lead to Blue Chip Organizations

Larger organizations typically have a robust defense system that is difficult to compromise or breach. However, many larger organizations have systems interconnected with small or mid-size businesses. When hackers compromise the security system of SMEs, they can then easily penetrate into the defense systems of larger organizations.

SMEs are More Inclined to Pay Ransom

As mentioned earlier, data breaches can often mean doom for small and medium-size businesses. As a result, they are more vulnerable to ransomware attacks because they are highly likely to pay the ransom to save their data and their company from doom. 

The Top Security Challenges SMEs Currently Face

Now that we know the common cybersecurity misconceptions SMEs have, let’s talk about the security challenges that SMEs have to face in the present era.

IoT Opens Excessive Entry Points

The Internet of Things (IoT) is undeniably the future of technology. Indeed, it has added convenience to our hectic schedules. However, it has also opened new doors for cyberattacks. It is imperative for employers to now ensure that all IoT devices are set up correctly and there’s no room for a network breach.

Insiders are the Most Common Culprits

Humans remain the biggest and most common security threat to businesses of all sizes or industries. There are many cases of employees abusing their privilege access, harming the company’s security layers in the process and resulting in a huge loss.

According to a 2016 survey conducted by Ponemon Institute, 22 percent of businesses blamed cyberattacks on insiders. Moreover, the same survey also revealed that 56 percent of businesses reported that the attacks were either by new joiners or employees leaving the company.

However, it is not always an employee with malicious intent behind every cyberattack. According to a report by Vormetric, 59 percent of businesses say that most often cyberattacks were a direct result of simple human errors.

To overcome this security challenge, businesses should educate their employees on the basics of cybersecurity and include cybersecurity policies in the onboarding process of every new employee. 

The Cloud Isn't Safe From Security Flaws

The flexibility and scalability that the cloud offers makes this technology more compelling to small and mid-size businesses. However, huge concerns still exist for SMEs when it comes to the security challenge associated with the cloud technology. Although cloud technology is getting more secure, new vulnerabilities and loose ends make it a security concern worth paying attention to.

Currently, cloud technology hasn’t experienced any significant threats, however, some experts believe that it is a deliberate ploy by cybercriminals to make people feel at home and confident with the technology, making it easier for the criminals to catch everybody by surprise.

Cybersecurity is a major concern for SMEs and if they fail to pay attention to this all-important aspect, then they are as good as sitting ducks.

Image Credit: Jirsak/Shutterstock
Mustaali Marvi
Mustaali Marvi Member
Mustaali is a digital privacy advocate, and is currently working as a Digital Marketing Associate at PureVPN Business. He has been an avid reader, as well as has worked as a freelance contributor in areas such as, Digital Marketing, Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence and IoT.