As all forms of technology become increasingly common in the workplace, more and more Australian businesses are moving their operations online. According to the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, 95.4% of Australian small to medium enterprises (SMEs) now have Internet access; of this, nearly 60% place orders for goods or services online, while 37.1% take orders via the same channel.
While this has undoubtedly reduced the friction of distance and helped SMEs reach new markets in previously inaccessible locations, it’s not without its downsides. With so many businesses now operating online, what does this mean for small business cybersecurity? How can businesses stay secure in the internet era and protect not only their own data, but also that of their customers?
Below, online defence experts ESET explain how cybersecurity partners can help protect your business online in the changing digital landscape.
The changing Face of Cybersecurity Attacks
With more SMEs now conducting business online, cybercriminals are increasingly targeting small businesses. Monetary fraud, information security threats, the theft of sensitive data, and IP corruption – these are all ways that cybercriminals can now cause devastating damage to businesses of all sizes.
Particularly vulnerable to attack are small businesses, which may form part of a larger supply chain, yet often fail to invest in adequate cybersecurity management. Today’s increasingly complex supply chains mean that attackers no longer have to go straight to the top for a big reward: They simply have to aim for the weakest link.
In most cases, the weakest link is a third party – usually a small business – that provides services to a larger company, typically in the capacity of a contractor or consultant. As an example, this small business may provide services such as graphic design, copywriting, or photography. In a type of cybersecurity threat known as secondary targeting, adversaries use access to the systems of this smaller service provider as a gateway to accessing the systems of larger companies further up the supply chain.
Why you need a Cybersecurity Strategy
Recent cyberattacks have demonstrated that regardless of your business size or industry, a strategic approach to cybersecurity is essential if you intend to operate online. In a recent Australian study conducted by ESET, 77% of respondents reported that they were concerned about the security of their data – concerns that are not without reason.
In October 2019, an unsecured database at global software platform Adobe Creative Cloud exposed sensitive data from nearly 7.5 million subscribers. The unsecured data, which included email addresses, countries, member IDs, and Adobe products used, exposed affected subscribers to scams and phishing attacks.
In the same month and on the other end of the spectrum was Get, an online events promotion startup. In the wake of allegations that it had exposed the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of up to 50 000 Australian university students, the startup scrambled to secure its systems and obtain an independent security certificate.
Both companies suffered reputational damage and reduced user trust following these cybersecurity breaches, reiterating the importance of a thorough information security strategy.
For the Best Protection, Partner with a Cybersecurity Expert
Keeping your business safe from cyberattacks goes beyond installing security software. One of the most effective ways to enhance your small business’s cyber security is to partner with a specialty IT provider or cybersecurity organisation. Commonly known as ‘security partnerships’, such arrangements allow you to outsource cybersecurity to a specialist provider with the resources and expertise to manage your cybersecurity around the clock.
The right security partner will require minimal input from you and will continually update and refine your cybersecurity strategy to ensure it’s as effective as possible. They’ll provide 24/7 protection against emerging cyberthreats, leaving you to focus on growing and running a profitable business. When choosing a security partner, consider:
- Your specific cybersecurity concerns. Perhaps your business handles medical information, migration records, or other unconventional sensitive data. Where possible, look for partners that specialise in your particular security needs.
- The reputation and profile of the potential partner: How long have they been around, and what do the reviews say? Do they provide a broad range of services, or specialise in a select few?
- The potential partner’s approach: Are they known for innovating in response to new threats, or do they employ a one-size-fits-all strategy?
- Your budget. When it comes to cybersecurity protection, you get what you pay for. Work out from the outset how much you are willing to spend and find the most appropriate company within this budget.
It’s Time to take Industrial Cybersecurity Seriously
Protecting your business online is a complex matter that is often better left to the experts. ESET offers solutions for complete protection – regardless of your business scale or type – from Endpoint Encryption and Secure Authentication to fully-managed cybersecurity partnerships.
Get in touch to learn how ESET can secure your small business today!