4 Security Concerns Affecting 80% of SMEs

 Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) play a pivotal role in the global economy. From the year 1992 to 2013, small and medium-sized enterprises have accounted for 63.3 percent of new job creations in the United States. These firms lead in innovation and are major contributors of nonfarm GDP in the US economy. However, SMEs face a lot of challenges in their operations; one of them being security.

Security has always been a huge concern for SMEs. These organizations are always trying to come up with workarounds for the challenges they face with the cloud, compliance, and data protection. SMEs leaders, as well as their IT heads, often struggle to make their organizations secure without having to use the standard, outdated, and often costly methods. Here are the 4-major security concerns most SMEs face.

Security Training and Education

Security training and education help eradicate — or minimize — human error. But for security training and education to be effective, it has to be continuous. Human error will always let IT security down, and besides training your staff and constantly reminding them to be vigilant, there isn’t much that can be done. Someone will always walk into the office with an encrypted laptop – it could even be a member of your IT team.

Removing the opportunity for people to make mistakes is the only option. It’s all about the people. Even with the best security technology can provide, if your employees aren’t properly trained, they can always — unintentionally, though — give out information that’s not supposed to get out to of the company. To secure the organization, you have to create awareness.

We are not talking about security qualifications here. That just gives you the license to operate. Provide proper education and training so that your employees will always know the right thing to do, and that’s when common sense becomes real. It doesn’t have to be hard.

SME Threat Landscape Is Changing

The threat landscape keeps changing and sometimes, keeping up isn’t easy. Threats are being made to target SMEs, specifically. However, many small and medium-sized enterprises believe that they are out of the sights of cybercriminals, they think they are under the radar. But that’s entirely not true. Every organization, large or small, is at risk of cyber attacks. A secure WordPress hosting can protect the fidelity of your website.

As technology advances so does malware. Security threats have become more sophisticated, and SMEs are having trouble keeping up with the changing face of malware. Stuxnet and Aurora are two very sophisticated malware that targets an organization’s financial information and siphon it. There are new threats every day, and old threats are evolving at an alarming rate.

Organized cybercrime and intelligence services are targeting small and medium-sized enterprises increasingly. These criminal entities are looking to steal important customer information and contracts from these businesses. While the IT professionals at these organizations are fully aware of the risks, their biggest challenge is in the convincing senior staff of the threat. Most senior executives in SMEs tend to think that their businesses are too small hence not targets of cybercrime.

SMEs Security Regulation Compliance

For many small and medium-size businesses, security compliance is a laborious process. The PCI-DSS payment card regulations as well as the Data Protection Act have received a lot of criticism for being too expensive and time-consuming. But SMEs don’t really have a choice. Even if it does not add any value to the security of your business, you can’t avoid compliance.

The entire compliance process for SMEs is long, tiring, and costs a lot of money. Many small and medium-sized businesses are left wondering how the compliance process improves their security if at all it does. However, if you wade through the security guidelines, you will find some good practices that can help your business improve security.

Many organizations aren’t putting the necessary security measures in place, and that’s what led to the creation of PCI-DSS. Every SME out there should strive to ensure that it has properly laid out security controls in place. Focus the security controls on your assets, but first, you should try to understand where these assets are. On matters compliance, SMEs should make sure that they are working with trusted advisors.

SME Cloud Security Risk

Cloud technology is appealing to many businesses. Cloud computing demands a lower hardware investment – you pay for what you use – and offers a high level of flexibility. However, the cloud is still a security concern for most businesses, SMEs included. If a professional, reliable service provider is available, the cloud can be a good option for SMEs. Large organizations don’t like the cloud because the regulators can’t provide legal assurance.

Though there haven’t been any major threats to data stored in the cloud recently, many SMEs are wary of keeping personal information in the cloud. Cybercriminals could be waiting for the perfect time to strike — when an attack is highly likely to lead to the most damage. Security experts say that the reason it’s been quiet for now is that the hackers could be waiting for everyone to upload personal data to the cloud do a grab and go.

The future of SME security is uncertain. There has been an upsurge in the legislation of data globally. It’s affordable and citizen-friendly, but it heavily relies on herd-mentality as well as standards towards security. This leads SMEs to a world of policies and compliance which does not necessarily enhance security. What is needed is easy-to-manage and cost-effective security control measures. You can start by using a secure WordPress setup for your website.

Amol Wagh

Author of Game Marketing Book: Market Your Indie Game Like A Pro! 7 years of Tech Blogging & Digital Marketing. Co-founder at Dotline Inc & a Gamer. Follow me on Twitter @amolwagh, @amol.wagh