Decoding Cyber Security for Small Businesses
For most Startups or Small to Medium Enterprises (SME’s), just getting your business going is enough to preoccupy your time and resources, leaving little for tracking computer news or security threats for example. Coupled with the fact that small business owners aren’t always fluent in the language of technology, costly mistakes can often be the result. Without protection, your business could be exposed to numerous technology related threats, and as far as advice goes, from both local and international advisors, the key is awareness.
TechRepublic note, in their article 10 Tech Mistakes Small Businesses Make “Small businesses need knowledgeable, trusted technology partners who are proficient with current technologies and willing to help learn their industry’s operations requirements. Once a qualified technology expert is familiar with a client’s needs, appropriate services and solutions can be recommended and deployed. The result is almost always more cost-effective, more efficient, more profitable operations for the client.”
“The problem is with IT, you take it for granted but when your things don’t work you can’t generate an income.”
“It creeps up on you”, says Nadia Burger, co-owner of IT Namibia, a Namibian IT and Software Company that specialises in technology for SME’s, “The problem is with IT, you take it for granted but when your things don’t work you can’t generate an income. In the beginning it’s still fine, you’re small and you make things work and then all of a sudden you go through a growth spurt, and that’s when it comes and bites you. Because then you realise ‘I have nothing in order’ and then it becomes a much bigger problem to solve. ”
I’ve got a live map on one of my router systems and it shows you a map of the world. You can actually check the attacks coming in.”
Talking cybercrime specifically, “It’s horrible. What’s happening with cybercrime, and it’s happening here in Namibia which is something people don’t realise.” Says Chris Burger, co-owner of IT Namibia.
Chris goes on to explain that cybercrime is happening every second of the day as attacks are mounted on any potentially open ports.“I’ve got a live map on one of my router systems and it shows you a map of the world. You can actually check the attacks coming in.” notes Chris, who proudly explains that IT Namibia has worked with great partners to develop their antivirus partners backup systems, “which is more important than even the anti viruses because, they can’t always stop everything especially with the events of these encryption viruses coming out. We found great partners, the software has already proved itself. If the antivirus doesn’t save it, the backup does and that’s what your client needs.”
“Many hackers will try to exploit small business web sites that have old and unsecured coding, or which run on older or unpatched web servers and operating systems.”
When asked if small businesses need to be concerned about cybercrime, Chris explains, “There are so many ways for cybercrime to, to hurt small businesses. When it comes to smaller guys, they tend to not really care, and they can be big players in the economy, which means that they can be hurt.”
Computer Weekly writes, in their Computer Security for Small Businesses – Essential Guide “Your business uses and stores vital information on your customers, your finances, your partners and your business processes. This makes you highly attractive to cyber criminals, who spend their time attempting to infiltrate company networks and web sites for financial gain or identity theft. Many hackers will try to exploit small business web sites that have old and unsecured coding, or which run on older or unpatched web servers and operating systems.”
“For example, two in three don’t fully measure whether their disaster recovery will work as planned. While 80% of breaches involve stolen or weak credentials, 60% of companies still do not adequately protect privileged accounts – their keys to the kingdom.”
Information Age write, in their piece titled, Hackers are Winning the War as Companies Worldwide Fail on Cyber Security “A new security measurement index benchmark survey has shown that nearly a third of companies are blindly making cyber security investments.” Their article goes on to say, “The problem is endemic, with the survey revealing that four in five fail to communicate effectively with business stakeholders and include them in cyber security investment decisions. As a result, companies can’t fully understand their security strategy. For example, two in three don’t fully measure whether their disaster recovery will work as planned. While 80% of breaches involve stolen or weak credentials, 60% of companies still do not adequately protect privileged accounts – their keys to the kingdom.”
Nadia Burger, of IT Namibia notes, “All kinds of crime can be committed, if for instance, you run CCTV inside your building, [and] somebody hacks your Wifi, they can keep track of you for months. So you think you safe having CCTV but is your CCTV safe?”
Computer Weekly adds “The sky is the limit when it comes to implementing security software, but there is a minimum level of security that any business should have. This includes: antivirus software to catch viruses and Trojan horse programs; antispam software to control spam which could contain malicious code or links to hacker web sites; and antiphishing software to detect financial hacking techniques.”
“We are really concentrating on making sure that everything, your company is safe. It’s now a very, very big threat.” Says Chris of IT Namibia.
For tips on cyber security, check out 99FM’s MYD Smart Article – How to be Cyber Safe: 19 Tips from the Experts
Written by Kirsty Watermeyer