The unprecedented changes that have taken place in the wake of COVID-19 are throwing up compelling reasons for large as well as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to rethink their business models. The current pandemic has a negative impact on human life and the economy. However, if you look at the brighter picture, it has forced SMEs to embark on their much needed digital transformation journey. And this time, going digital is much more than just having a mobile app or a presence on social media, it’s about a comprehensive strategy aligned to the business goals with clearly defined metrics. However, going digital also adds a new challenge for large as well as small enterprises.
The data collected by the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) report between January – March 2020 shows that India now ranks 27th globally in the number of web-threats detected by the company in Q1 2020 as compared to when it ranked on the 32nd position globally in Q4 2019.
Cybersecurity: A Problem Too Big for SMEs to Ignore
When hackers attack large organizations, they often make the headlines and grab everyone’s attention. How often do we read about an SME being targeted by cyber attackers? Not often. But that doesn’t mean hackers don’t target smaller enterprises. On the contrary, SMEs are an attractive target due to their lack of resources to defend against such attacks.
Cyber-attacks can happen to any of us, but they can be especially damaging to small businesses. The SMEs, that are digitally transforming now, could be the market leaders in the future…provided they don’t fall prey to a cyberattack! It is no secret that the financial costs of a cyber-attack could be large enough to cripple small and medium-sized businesses. Though the benefits of digital transformation are clearly known, the journey isn’t challenge free. If digital transformation is the CHANGE, then cybersecurity is the associated CHA(LLE)NGE. Unfortunately, most SMEs underestimate the challenge of cybersecurity and assume that the hackers won’t find anything worth stealing from their systems. However, SMEs can fall victim to different types of cyberattacks such as Malware, Phishing, DDos, and Insider Threat, etc.
What are the key challenges faced by SMEs?
- Limited or no budget for cybersecurity
- Shortage of personnel to deal with cyber vulnerabilities
- Lack of understanding and awareness about cybersecurity
- ‘Fly below the radar’ strategy is no longer valid
Large enterprises have started strengthening their cyber defence mechanism and hackers are aware of the ignorance to cybersecurity aspect by SMEs, which makes them the more desired target. So, the ‘fly below the radar’ strategy of SMEs is no longer relevant in today’s scenario. With the cyber-attacks getting more sophisticated, SMEs need to have proper measures in place to detect, prevent and respond to these attacks.
Here are 5 easy steps to minimize the risk or impact of cyberattack:
- All the employees should undergo periodic cybersecurity training covering the best practices and how to identify a phishing attack.
- Software and operating systems need to be updated regularly with the newer version available and patches need to be applied whenever available.
- Have a BCP (Business Continuity Plan) in place in the form of back-ups of critical data to the business pertaining to customers as well as employees.
- Remote access (if any permitted) should be provided with strict rules/guidelines and precautionary measures in place.
- Opt for a cyber insurance, which can come handy in case of an unfortunate event of cyberattack.
The risk can never be eliminated, it can only be minimized
The above statement holds true in case of cyber risk as well. However, prevention is better than finding a solution after a cyber-attack. It is highly important for SMEs to make security the starting point, and not an afterthought. Hackers work on the theory that SMEs are limited by budgets when it comes to cybersecurity and in most cases, this theory is right. The budget constraints of SMEs are understandable. However, they need to realize that cybersecurity is not an optional element in the growing digital ecosystem and they need to plan for the same in order to survive the competition. Moreover, a single attack could wipe out their finances. Also, in majority of the cases, cybersecurity solutions will be cheaper as compared to the recovery process after the attack. An effective cybersecurity policy makes it possible for businesses to focus on core areas which can drive higher revenue and thus the profit.
While cybersecurity is an important element in the digital transformation journey of SMEs, it is equally critical for SMEs to know how to formulate a successful charter to digitally transform their business. White Paper to empower SMEs – This White Paper could be a good starting point.
By Sushant Bhosale – AGM – Marketing, Clover Infotech