Common cybersecurity blunders threatening SMEs

Small-business owners are predominantly focused on major breaches to their business data, unaware that the real threats to their cybersecurity occur on a more micro scale, according to recent research undertaken by Servcorp.

With an increasing number of business activities moving online, more businesses are finding themselves burdened with financial losses, damaged reputations and serious threats to their customers’ data that result from common cybersecurity compromises.

Alarmingly, 77 per cent of small-business owners whom consider technology to be critical to their business have done things that could compromise the security of their IT system, exposing themselves and their customers to costly consequences.

The study also revealed businesses employing five or more staff members were found to be much more likely to have been affected by a virus (60 per cent) than those that do not employ additional staff members (29 per cent).

Small-business owners perceive the greatest threats to their business data and email to be viruses (78 per cent), malware (63 per cent) and spyware (51 per cent), however, two thirds of SMEs (66 per cent) have unknowingly exposed themselves a data breach that compromises the security of their IT systems, customer data and databases.

Despite one in three small-business owners (36 per cent) referencing technology as critical to their operations, they admitted to the following:

  • Downloading files from a USB stick (49 per cent)
  • Using the same password for multiple internet sites (39 per cent)
  • Opening an attachment in an email from an unknown source (11 per cent).

“These findings reinforce the need for business owners to ensure that their facilities and associated IT services are managed and operated in a secure manner. Data security is easy to overlook, especially when business owners’ first priority is generally sales and business management,” Liane Gorman, Servcorp General Manager ANZ, said.

“Data security and compliance are vital to the management of any business. If you are a business you need to ensure your infrastructure has sufficient measures in place to protect information and IT systems, provide secure access to internet services and maintain the security of the workspace,” Ms Gorman added.

“For our clients, it’s part of the reason they look to a serviced office solution – it offers surety, security and stability in their operations. It Is not enough for workplaces to simply rely on on a secure internet connection or refer to a procedure document when they employ staff. Especially in lieu of the recent changes to the Notifiable Data Breach laws,” Ms Gorman concluded.

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