The importance of cyber security might be obvious, but there are still many companies who ignore their security status, or they’re intimidated by their lack of human capacity and IT resources to build an effective defense, that’s especially true for SMBs.
It is well reflected in the statistics as well: only 14% of SMBs are prepared for cyber security threats, but almost half of cyber attacks are targeted at them – they’re low-hanging fruits for cyber criminals.
Why is cyber security often ignored by companies, especially SMBs? Let’s debunk some cyber myths and raise awareness to the importance of cyber security and how to set the right priorities to get effective defense!
Misconceptions that can cost you a lot
There are a few misconceptions about the importance of cyber security that can harm your company in the long run.
Cyber security myth 1: Cyber criminals don’t care about SMBs, they are too small, for them, they hunt for the big fish.
The truth: Just because you want a tuna steak, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t go after some tasty fish nuggets! Especially if they’re for free! That’s exactly how cyber criminals think of SMBs, and their negligent attitude towards the importance of cyber security is what makes them the most vulnerable. They’re easy targets for criminals, and they’re more willing to pay to criminals, because cyber attacks impact their operations more heavily. SMBs are more vulnerable, 75% of them believe they wouldn’t survive the attack. According to new research from Infrascale, 46% of SMBs have fallen victim to ransomware, and 73% have paid the ransom, in the B2B sector, it is even higher: 78%.
Cyber security myth 2: Attacks come from an external source.
The truth: External attacks can also originate from an internal source: malicious insiders, ex-employees or negligent workers. Furthermore, as found in a security survey compiled by Dell, a third of employees say it’s common to take business data with them when leaving a company, while nearly three fourths (71%) of the companies don’t even know what or how much sensitive data ex-employees have taken to other organizations, they lack a specific strategy and coordination within teams, no wonder 96% of companies find it a challenge to protect data from insider risk.
Cyber security myth 3: If you lack resources to build strong cyber resilience, then just forget it: if you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all, because it is just a waste of money!
The truth: There’s no perfect defense. Even affordable, cost-efficient tools and smaller cyber security measures can make huge improvements in your overall security status. The key is prioritization!
Cyber security myth 4: Implementing cyber security measures can decrease productivity, it requires additional human resources and might disrupt daily business operations.
The truth: Finding the right tools, such as security automation, can save you tons of manual labor and minimize human error. It can also relieve the burdens of the already overwhelmed IT and HR department.
Cyber security myth 5: There’s no ROI, it eats up money with no visible results.
The truth: Prevention is the cheapest defense, even if it’s invisible, it could cost you a lot later if you ignore the importance of cyber security. Good news that certain security tools have a positive impact on your company’s budget: monitoring license usage for example can save you a decent amount of money on an annual basis, plus security automation can save you on human resources as well.
Do you know what’s at stake?
Apart from the above-mentioned misconceptions, the biggest mistake is underestimating the consequences of a cyber attack.
Business data, in many cases, are never recovered, even after paying hefty amounts of money to the attackers, such financial damage can decapitate a smaller business, but even downtime or “getting back to normal” can seriously affect the company’s integrity.
So you can lose data, money, time, but the worst of all is always:
Losing customer trust and business reputation.
Once trust is broken, it can’t be fixed – or it will never be really the same. It’s true for all relationships, also the ones you have with your cherished customers.
The importance of cyber security awareness
Cyber security awareness means more than the acknowledgement that it is a serious issue. We can’t press hard enough the importance of cyber security training for employees.
To start with, 90% of cyber attacks are specifically aimed at unsuspecting employees, in the form of spear phishing emails, what’s even worse this kind of attack is often a precursor to a malware attack as well.
Your employees are the bloodlife of your company, so information and knowledge should flow easily between them to maintain the overall health of your company. A risk-aware workplace culture can save your business from the majority of the attacks, but you can’t eliminate human error from the equation – and more than 93% of cyber attacks can be traced back to human error.
Consequently, awareness shouldn’t be just about training and talking, it’s about doing and implementing security measures to minimize these mistakes and build system-wide transparency.
Access risk management is key
So we can’t eliminate human error, but we can minimize it. First step is to identify what amplifies human error the most: it is undoubtedly access risk. Even if an unsuspecting employee falls for the phishing attack, but his access rights were assigned following cyber security best practices such as the least privilege principle and the segregation of duties then the attacker can’t reach highly confidential business information.
In theory…Unfortunately in practice, these cyber security best practices are prone to error as well, such as privilege creep. When it comes to access rights management, companies can make many mistakes, so we compiled a checklist on the 7 sins of access control management and how to use automation to minimize cyber security threats.
Set the right priorities for defense
Fast reaction time and setting the right priorities is key to building strong defense and it is the foundation for an effective cyber resilience strategy.
You’re probably familiar with the Eisenhower matrix, also known as the Priority matrix. You can’t do everything at the same time, as you lack human and financial resources.
If we evaluate the importance of cyber security tools, the urgency, plus add one extra dimension, as “most rewarding cyber security measures”, then automated access control becomes definitely a top priority.
- It is important, because your employees’ access rights are your last line of defense, and it is heavily targeted by cyber criminals. Automation minimizes this risk.
- It is urgent, because fast reaction time is often what makes a difference between an access risk and cyber attack. If you discover it in time, you can minimize the attack surface.
- It is rewarding because it relieves the burden from the already overwhelmed IT and HR department, enhances overall productivity, saves you time, and money by monitoring license usage.
- It is affordable, even for SMBs who lack significant financial resources.
Imagine your company as a house: you want to protect it from burglars. Setting up an expensive surveillance system with cameras, security people and dogs, sounds like a good option, but closing the doors and windows would definitely be the fastest, easiest and cheapest solution.
It seems to be obvious when it comes to our house, but regarding business, this fact is still overlooked by many business owners.
Your employees’ and third party members’ access rights are like these doors and windows, if they’re left open, then cyber criminals can walk easily in and out, even without you knowing it – many SMEs might be unaware that they’re already under attack: according to IBM, the average breach lifecycle is 287 days – this is the time it takes for the discovery and containment of the breach.
Imagine if there would be an automated control over all of your employees and third party members, that alerts you the moment an access risk is detected, leaving no open doors for cyber criminals!
Think big, start small: automate access control. Although it might seem to be a small step in the over-all cyber resilience framework, the improvements are huge and visible in daily operations with a less overwhelmed IT and HR department.
Get effective defense with the least effort: use automation!
Automation is the key. According to a recent survey, data breaches cost significantly less for businesses who deployed automation in their cyber security strategy. Furthermore, in IBM’s annual Cost of Data Breach Report, the cost difference is 80% between companies who fully deployed automation vs those who haven’t yet.
It is stated that in 2021 security automation and AI had the biggest positive cost impact. So it’s definitely worth a try.
If we take into account that the vast majority of cyber attacks can be traced back to human error, it is no surprise these technological advancements are so successful, as they aim at minimizing such security failures.
Luckily, these tools are not only available for enterprise-level players. We created our software, TheFence with SMB owners in mind to provide them with effective and effortless defense for an affordable price. Automation would improve daily operations in several ways:
- Automated risk detection: Identify potential risk factors without relying on manual tasks prone to human error.
- Automated notifications and alerts: Prevent suspicious activities from turning into security threats. Reaction time is crucial, it can make a difference between an access risk and a cyber attack. Automated alerts help you address potential access risk issues asap, and prevent substantial damage and data theft.
- Maximize transparency in your company: Our user-friendly dashboard gives you maximum awareness and system-wide transparency, nothing blocks the flow of information, all access risk issues are in one place. Stay always up-to-date and get a detailed overview of your employees’ security status.
- Pass any security audit: Auditors can cause constant stomach cramps, especially if you work in an industry where you have to be compliant with IT security standards. Be prepared instead of being scared.
It’s not just about security: it’s cost-efficiency!
Monitoring your employee’s license usage can save money by revoking unassigned licenses. You’ll get a report of potential annual license cost savings. Check how much you can save!
Automated defense is the future
The cyber security landscape is constantly evolving, what might have been a good strategy a few years ago, is probably outdated today. There’s no tool that can provide complete immunity from cyber security attacks, but investing in the future is always a good idea. According to recent statistics, industry trends and technological forecasting AI and automation is definitely the engine behind cyber security advancements.
Now, it’s available for SMEs as well to stay ahead of cyber threats. TheFence is a cloud-based cyber security software that maximizes your defense with automated access control. Secure your inner circle, empower your workforce and defend what’s yours from cyber attacks!