Don’t become a victim of complacency, it’s time to take your head out of the sand and start taking IT security seriously writes Matt Faulkner, IT technical director at Taylor Made Computer Solutions.
30 years ago, IT was an expensive luxury that enterprise companies invested in to show how successful they were. With the reduction of costs and the improvement of software, IT has become a great time saver and has driven efficiencies in all areas of business. With rapid adoption of the cloud, and being part of a more connected world, IT is now the foundation of most businesses. Without IT, your business is dead in the water.
Gone are the days of being able to run your business with paper, now if your systems go down, your business is essentially immobilised. And this hasn’t gone unnoticed. Cybercriminals have seen this mass adoption of IT to be an easy win for them, often holding your business to ransom by exploiting vulnerabilities in software applications and older operating systems.
Large enterprises were the first victims of cybercrime, they’ve seen the effect and cost it has on their business and their reputation. Often, they’ll now employ cybersecurity experts, spending large budgets on security to protect their business from new and emerging threats. This has led to a shift in focus for criminals – they’ve now turned their attention to small and medium enterprise (SME) businesses.
Why are SMEs at risk?
Over the past 18 months at Taylor Made Computer Solutions (TMCS) we’ve seen a large rise in attacks on SMEs. When we’re helping with IT strategy we often hear:
- We’re too small for anyone to be interested in attacking our business; it won’t happen to us.
- We can’t afford to spend money on IT security.
- Our business is secure and we’ve adequate software to protect our business.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these:
We’re too small
SMEs have an increased reliance on IT and criminals know this, hence the reason why they’re the focus for ransomware attacks as it’s easy money for criminals. A recent study highlights that when faced with a ransom attack, 58% of UK companies paid the ransom rather than lose access to their data as that would mean the end of their business.
Many SMEs don’t inform the authorities when they have been victim to cybercrime, and some have repeated attacks. The message here is clear, being small makes you more vulnerable if you are subject to an attack and an easy target.
We can’t afford IT security
IT security is more than just having anti-virus on your devices. You need to have a decent firewall, spam filtering and a security policy that your staff adheres to. Most SMEs can’t achieve this on their own and need the help of a trusted IT partner. At TMCS we look at what is necessary to secure your business and start by assessing the risks to the business; What’s the cost if your business is down for one to seven days?
And would your business survive? A review of your IT for vulnerabilities by TMCS is not unlike business insurance, the main difference though is that we’ll uncover the IT security risks your business may be exposed to and provide recommendations to defend against attack.
Our business is secure
Maybe you’ve already invested in IT security – don’t sit on your laurels quite yet. Cybersecurity is a rapidly moving target, take your eye off the ball for a moment, and you could still become a victim. The dark web is full of stores selling preconfigured war toolkits, designed to probe vulnerable systems 24×7 and report back any holes it discovers to a hacker; often these applications are available for just a few dollars. All the attacker needs to do is sit back and wait for the results. Even if you’ve done your due diligence and protected the perimeter of your network, what about your end users – have they been trained? Many attacks are initiated from an unsuspecting end user being exploited.
What should you do next?
Cybercrime is here to stay, so don’t become a victim of complacency. It’s time to take your head out of the sand and take IT security seriously. At TMCS, we have over 25 years of experience supporting businesses with IT services and security. If you’re reading this and don’t know where to start, why not get in touch. We offer a free initial security review and are running informal SME-focused round table briefings, designed to de-mystify cybersecurity. Let us help you become cyber secure.
Matt Faulkner – firstname.lastname@example.org
or Paul Sylvester, head of product development & security operations centre –
email@example.com • 01329 239 900