With SMEs facing business challenges on multiple fronts, their online security can be overlooked – especially when it comes to cloud-based channels. Liron Barak, CEO & co-founder of BitDam, looks at strategies SMEs can employ to effectively secure their business against online threats, in general, and cloud-based threats, in particular.
Today, small and medium-sized businesses face challenges beyond ensuring cash flow and managing employee insurance needs. The unique issues of today range from managing remote workforces to COVID-driven uncertainty regarding future revenue streams. Given these collective business pressures, it is easy to overlook a business’s cybersecurity needs.
Now though, more than ever, online security is critical to ensure businesses can meet their data security challenges head-on without being derailed by a cyber incident.
Where should an SME start? And what are the most essential aspects to cover first? We’ll look at these questions, and more, to ensure SMEs can confidently navigate their business challenges and ensure that their organizatoin and its data are protected to their best of their ability.
The Way We Work Has Changed – So Should Your Security
One of the most prominent changes in the way we work today is our SMEs are moving to the cloud. Our business communication, our collaboration, everything is now cloud-based. This goes for email, instant messaging, productivity tools, video conferencing, file sharing, and the list goes on. Most businesses use platforms such as Office 365 or G Suite to host these services and they rely on them for protection from cyber-attacks.
Unfortunately, businesses – and SMEs in particular – are seeing that these channels are the most exploited entry points for cyberattacks, accounting for 95% of advanced content-borne cyber-attacks today, with this trend accelerating over the past year. This brings us to our first step: an analysis of SMEs’ current exposure to cyberthreats.
1 – Assess Your Weaknesses
The first step is to take stock of the business’s current security setup. With cyber threats constantly evolving and getting past the best security solutions, it is critical to be aware of your business’s security posture. There are various vulnerability assessment tools out there, and many of them are free. In most cases, within an hour, a business can have a fair picture of its potential exposure to cyber threats.
2 – Choose a Comprehensive Solution
The ideal security solution is one that creates holistic protection for your SME, while at the same time keeping overhead and costs down. Central to this approach is employing a solution that can provide protection for all different channels, and specifically cloud-based tools. SMEs should also look for a solution that can be managed from one place. Compared to separate security solutions for each channel – one for email, another for cloud drives, and so on, this is a significantly more effective way to ensure ongoing security. As Gartner noted in their Cool Vendors in Cloud Office Security, May 2020, “Security and risk management leaders overseeing applications and data security related to cloud office security should evaluate a threat-protection tool that can work across multiple enterprise collaboration platforms.” The ability to protect all channels is key to protecting all of the assets in an SME.
3 – Keep It Simple
As an SME, you don’t need a dedicated Security Operations Center (SOC) or an IT team. Additionally, SMEs typically do not have the resources for a multi-layered security stance. Not to worry. There are security services and tools out there that do not require ongoing maintenance or updates and can effectively keep your organization protected. If your business uses Office 365, try the Azure Marketplace. There you can search for the right security product for your needs including Email Protection, OneDrive Protection, and Teams Protection. Many of the security products on the market today also offer free trials, which is helpful when evaluating products to see which solution is the right fit.
4 – Don’t Break the Bank
Effective protection does not necessarily equate with massive costs. There are plenty of security tools out there that are free, and security vendors that offer free trials. An SME should not commit large amounts of money to cybersecurity until the available options have been explored to ensure fit and function.
Staying Safe as an SME
With more and more businesses becoming cloud-based, an SME’s security risks will certainly change over time. Having said that, SMEs that are proactive and aware of the tools and security products available to them, are the ones that can ensure that their business is protected when it comes to its cybersecurity stance.
Liron has over 10 years of experience dealing with the most sophisticated cyber threats and exploitation techniques. Prior to founding BitDam, Liron served in the elite inteligence unit Unit 8200 of the Israeli Intelligence Corps where she managed teams of highly skilled individuals and was responsible for the development of cyber technologies used by the entire intelligence community. Liron earned her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science during high school and completed a master’s degree in Computer Science, with a specialization in Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, while serving in the army.