Procurement 5 January 2017

The cybersecurity landscape for small businesses in 2017

cyber security
Almost one in five small business owners claim to have had data hacked in 2016

Here, Matthew Finch and Georgia Whitmore from Cheeky Munkey, an IT service provider specialising in cyber security risk for small business, identify some key trends in cybersecurity to watch out for in the year ahead.

Businesses large and small who operate online have never been at greater risk of attack. 2016 saw hacking move into the spotlight, with everyone from top executives to innocent consumers under threat.

Even prospective western leaders were not safe. Without the resources of big enterprises, small businesses are particularly affected by cyberattacks. Norman Guadagno, chief evangelist at Carbonite, said that “almost one in five small business owners say their company has had a loss of data in the past year,” with each data hack costing anything from £66,600 to £208,000.

It is therefore wise to get savvy about the latest trends in cybersecurity. This way, your firm can prepare better defences that will help protect your business’ data.

Cloud-based security

This has its advantages and disadvantages. Holding your data in the cloud, be it provided by bigger companies such as Nokia or smaller, more bespoke organisations, alleviates the burden of security from yourself, but it also opens up the possibility of a new attack as hackers target SaaS applications and platforms. However, your data is in the careful hands of experts with strong defences and regular audits, so you must weigh up the risks.

The rise of ransomware

An expensive form of attack for the small business owner, use of ransomware doesn’t seem to be abating any time soon. What happens here is that organised crime groups use hackers to seize your data and encrypt it. They then hold it for ransom, demanding money in return for the key to unencrypt it.

These crime rings are growing more intelligent and more sophisticated practically by the minute, so ransomware is increasingly becoming the biggest threat to small businesses, that are more likely than larger ones to not have the adequate protection. To help ward off these attacks, ensure your software and hardware are up to date, change passwords frequently and tighten up the security on your data.

Biometric security

Thumbprints to unlock smartphones will seem second-rate in comparison to what 2017 has in store. Biometric security features will analyse every aspect of your business’ technology use: touchpads will come equipped with biometric sensors that will be able to identify you from your typing speed and even your browsing habits.

Increased automation

Alongside the rise of the cloud and the Internet of Things, security will become more automated. Smart systems will team up with the human security force to fill in the gaps of knowledge that specifically trained employees naturally have. Automated technology will check your systems are all up to date and survey them for any breaches, detecting any problems immediately. Combined with human effort your business will never be safer.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things, or IoT, has the benefit of close scrutiny when it comes to security. This is to do with linking devices together. As the machines and technology businesses use become more intelligent and develop the ability to communicate with one another, it is vital that device-level security is in operation to combat the threats this poses. Make sure access is tightly controlled though, with multi-factor authentication.

Cybersecurity is evolving, but with advice from experts you can track trends and fortify your business’s defences. An awareness of the issues could quite literally save your business. Watch the data change on this infographic for an idea of how dangerous it is online – it is well known that consumers prioritise security when deciding which company to do business with.

So, for small business owners, staying on top of current industry advice and ensuring your business is as protected as it can be is the best advice available in 2017.

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