According to the latest research the over whelming majority of cyber attacks happen to SMEs. Despite the rising statistics surveys find that many SMEs don’t believe they are at risk. But this mindset can be their downfall.

A 5 man company in the West of Ireland is nowadays as big a target as a multinational HQ in Dublin. Don’t think your company would not be seen of value to hackers. In a lot of ways SMEs are an easier target for the cyber criminals who are aware that there will have been minimal investment in and management of cyber risk in an SME making it easy pickings.

How are SMEs being Hacked?

The 3 most common occurrences are

  1. Phishing Emails
  2. Poor Password Management
  3. Known IT vulnerabilities

Phishing emails trick staff into giving away vital company or employee information. This arms the criminals to create fake emails that impersonate someone you might trust, enticing you to click on links or download files that enable the criminal to access your network.

Passwords are essential for IT security but if they are not regularly changed or are easy to guess they become a liability and are easy to hack. Passwords should be unique, complex and regularly changed.

Viruses and ransomware spreads via known IT vulnerabilities. They exploit these known vulnerabilities to spread from machine to machine. Vulnerabilities left un patched are leaving a business open to attack. Regular patching is essential and often ignored by end users.

What can an SME do?

There are some steps that can be taken to protect your business without a huge financial or resource commitment. Many SMEs assume Cyber Security measures will require a dedicated resource or will be out of their budget.

  • Implementing a firewall will put a barrier between you and the hacker
  • Educating and training your staff in how to recognise a phishing email and the importance of password maintenance will help prevent criminals accessing your information
  • Regular Patching will help prevent a virus entering and spreading through your network and devices

Dont’ make the mistake of thinking it will never happen to you. The biggest risk to a company’s IT security is complacency. For hackers every company no matter what industry they are in, what their turnover may be or how many staff they have is a target.

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