Regardless of the size of your business, security has become one of the most important issues facing business leaders today.
As technology has evolved, it has made it easier to do business in more locations around the globe and keep a presence around the clock. But this same technology has also made businesses more vulnerable to security breaches, which can be devastating on many different levels. The cost of such a breach goes beyond financial loss; it also can damage your company’s reputation or brand, result in lost hours of manpower needed to correct the problem and even potentially make you liable for failing to protect your customers’ sensitive information.
While large corporations are able to dedicate resources to preventing and controlling such IT threats, SMBs oftentimes don’t have the staffing or financial resources. According to Hartford Insurance, cyber-related crimes against small businesses have been increasing since 2004, and today small businesses are the target of about 85 percent of such attacks. This is due largely to the fact that cyber criminals know small businesses have fewer IT resources and devote less time and money to cybersecurity.
Small Devices, Big Threat
One of the biggest threats to SMB security is a double-edged sword: the smartphone. The smartphone and other mobile devices such as tablets have become essential tools in the workplace, but they also have been the focus of debate at virtually all large organizations. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) debate has resulted in policies to regulate their use and keep them from being able to erroneously access or download important or sensitive information. Businesses benefit from employees using their own devices because it saves the company money, but the question of who owns the information once it’s on the mobile device, and the liability of what happens if the device is lost, has become a hot topic in corporate America.
As SMBs begin embracing the BYOD trend, they may unknowingly be putting their data at risk. Less than half of all small businesses have a policy for managing mobile devices, but according to the Ericsson Mobility Report, employees regularly (albeit innocently) put their company’s sensitive information at risk of a security breach.
According to the report, 61 percent of mobile application data used by employees consists of personal or social apps such as Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube. When a worker is using that device both for personal use and to access company information, it puts the business’ information at risk. That’s because these social media apps can be hacked much more easily than a corporate firewall, giving interlopers easy access to your business information. Innumerable Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts are hacked on a daily basis for the sole purpose of accessing the user’s corporate data.
Protecting Your SMB
For any SMB leader, creating a secure mobile device management (MDM) strategy is crucial. MDM software can help you manage employees’ devices from a central dashboard and allows you to wipe clean all information from a device that has been lost or stolen. However, it also removes all of the personal data of the person who owns the phone, which has resulted in lawsuits from employees who lost personal information and photos.
With so many factors at play, creating a good IT security strategy for your company takes careful consideration. According to the 2016 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, what’s more important than having large, complex systems in place is to have a well thought out plan and be able to execute it effectively.
“The goal is to understand how cybercriminals operate,” explained Bryan Sartin, executive director of global security services for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “By knowing their patterns we can best prevent, detect and respond to threats.”
By having a good plan in place, business owners can both reduce the likelihood of a security breach and be better positioned to minimize the fallout from any breaches if they do occur.