Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need to view cybersecurity as a priority for their organisation while digitising and growing their operations. Failing to prevent cybercrime has severe and sometimes irreparable implications for SMEs.

In 2018, almost half of all cyber-attacks reported worldwide were targeting smaller-sized enterprises with less than 250 employees, according to the 2019 Official Annual Cybercrime Report released by Cybersecurity Ventures.

Most SMEs may be ill-equipped to deal with the damaging consequences of such cyber attacks compared to the corporate sector, resulting in substantial financial losses and business closures. Fortunately, small business owners can mitigate any potential cyber risks by adopting preventative behaviour. Here are three ways to get better prepared.

1. Introduce stringent password and data encryption policies

Firstly, business owners must implement and enforce strong password policies across all levels of their businesses. This is usually the first port of call for cybercriminals on accessing information with programs that can decipher passwords.

Train the workforce to employ strong passwords and change these regularly, and use multifactor authentication. Ensure security business systems can perform data encryption and make use of technologies such as fingerprint or face ID for mobile applications.

Our Integrated Management System (MSX) merges all organizational systems and processes in to one common cohesive framework that drives business excellence and ensures continual improvement. MSX enables business leadership to view management performance across the business activities and assists leaders to make informed actionable decisions.

2.  Ensure ISMS and cybersecurity systems are up to date

As cyber threats become more complex, it is important for SMEs to update regularly all malware, spyware, and firewall protection programs to ensure the business is well protected and benefits from the latest version of security software.

Invest in an ISMS that performs automatic updates and software upgrades to eliminate the possibility of cybercriminals exploiting vulnerabilities in outdated systems. It may seem expensive to update your system constantly, but a cyber attack can cost the business more.

3. Implement a company security awareness programme

Prevention is better than cure. Adopting an integrated security management software that can automatically identify and prevent cyber threats is half the battle.

Ultimately, business owners need to implement a comprehensive security awareness programme to educate employees to enforce security protocols, reduce any vulnerabilities and curb manual errors to avoid the cost and reputational damage caused by cybercrime.

MSX Cyber, part of the XGRC product range, assists organisations in driving performance and compliance with its integrated information security management system built on AI and ML technologies and the ISO 27001 Information Security framework.