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The importance of IT Security for SMEs in 2021

IT infrastructure has become a necessary part of our everyday professional lives, especially with the widespread adoption of remote working. 2020 was a challenging year for us all courtesy of the global pandemic, and adding insult to injury, cybercriminals exploited concerns around the pandemic as bait for spam, phishing attacks and malware. In today’s technology-dependent age, important data, documents and systems are stored electronically which leaves them potentially vulnerable.

Employing a managed IT security provider is essential in the modern working environment to protect against loss of data, system interruption and ultimately an inability to operate. The value of data is continually increasing and cybercriminals are using inventive methods to hack into systems and access this valued commodity. Without implementing a sophisticated solution, your business is an easy target for exploitation.

Amitech IT provides industry leading IT security solutions which are designed to protect your company from all major cybersecurity threats in 2021.

Over the past three years there has been a significant increase in SMEs experiencing data breaches, with 66% of a Ponemon Institute survey stating their organisation has experienced a cyberattack in the 12 months previous. This blog will highlight common methods of cyberattacks and how your business can prevent from damage being inflicted.

Data loss 

The term “cyber-attack” is quickly associated with sinister and sophisticated schemes by online evil geniuses with plans to disassemble an entire IT system. Whereas in reality, a major threat to SMEs is the simple stealing of confidential data.

Data becomes more vulnerable when taken outside the normal confines of your company, and with ever-increasing data portability, a data leak is both more probable and more consequential.  Data can be intercepted when in motion, such as during a card transaction or in email or when at rest when stored on a physical device which gets intercepted.

Additionally, data that would be considered secure conventionally is now at greater risk with employees using company devices on insecure Wi-Fi  access or using their own personal devices. A cyber-attack which captures data can have catastrophic effects on SMEs. This is because they result in huge financial implications, which are often unpayable, but also the irreversible damage to the reputation of the company.

To protect against this real and common threat your company can integrate processes and systems which protect your data throughout its lifetime. A sophisticated method to add a layer of security to your business is to encrypt data with solutions like Sophos Device Encryption, which conceals your data behind an algorithm which can only be accessed with a specific key – creating a distinct wall between cybercriminals and your data.

Another method you can use to secure your data is multi-factor authentication. This method requires approval through a passcode from a partnered device to access data – which automatically locks if incorrect. This helps to ensure only approved users are accessing data files.

Spam emails and Virus links

A recurrent ploy cybercriminals utilise is spam emails which contain links to harmful sites. This method is effective if you do not have your wits about you as they will pose as a friendly face who can offer something either familiar or beneficial to your organisation.

Some experienced hackers will use phishing emails, where they create email addresses which mimic the information of people you know or famous brands to lure you onto a seemingly legitimate website where you can give over valuable credentials unknowingly.

The most effective way to protect against the dangers which phishing scams present is to make the entirety of your workforce aware of what these scams look like. There is no use in only having a couple of IT experts aware of these threats as they can enter into any individuals email box.

If a suspicious email does enter your mailbox, you should never click on it until you are sure it is legitimate. You can do this by closely examining the sender’s full email address over just their display name and only trusting websites with a padlock symbol in the address bar.

You can also use IT solutions like Sophos Central Email which integrates seamlessly with Microsoft365 to shield your IT systems from email-borne threats like spam, phishing, viruses and spyware.

Disaster Recovery Plans

This article so far has covered methods for prevention against cyber threats, but should you have a plan for if an attack manages to occur? What is important to consider here is if your SME could still manage to operate if all your existing protections were to fail in the event of a cyber-attack. If the answer to this question is no, then a disaster recovery plan is the right final solution to protecting your company from all angles.

Cyber-attacks can take various forms but some of the most damaging are the downloading of malware or ransomware, which can cause total paralysis of usual operations. Having an offsite copy of your company’s most crucial data is a wise move for worst case scenarios, and invaluable in the case of a cyber-attack.

To get the best advice as to what IT security package would be most suitable for your SME, contact one of our consultants today. We will be very happy to see how we can help you in 2021 and beyond.