As a nation, the UK loses more than £27 billion every year to cyber criminals. This number is higher than the GDP of many countries. But even scarier is the fact that this trend shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know to protect your small and medium enterprise (SME) from cyber criminals. This includes the average cost of a cybersecurity breach in the UK, tips to improve online safety levels, and the biggest threats to look out for.
Do Small Businesses Need Cybersecurity?
According to recent studies, around half of UK SMEs are constantly being targeted by cybercriminals.
The reason for this is that SMEs usually have lax security measures in place. This, in turn, is often caused by a low-security budget and a general lack of knowledge about the topic.
As an SME owner, it’s crucial to build a security system that keeps employee and customer data safe. The same goes for the internal information of the enterprise itself, which can be used to conduct attacks like phishing or malware campaigns.
How Do I Make My Business Cybersecure?
It’s no secret that cybersecurity costs billions of pounds every year, but what can you do to protect your business?
The UK government released practical resources that help you safeguard your business, whether it’s a digital, traditional, or hybrid enterprise.
Furthermore, in this article, we also include a list of tips to help you build a better cybersecurity system in your SME.
Is Cybersecurity in the UK Expensive?
A strong cybersecurity system doesn’t necessarily have to be complex. It does, however, represent an investment.
The cost of cybersecurity varies depending on your industry. For some firms, it’s common to spend around 22,000 GBP every year on cybersecurity alone.
The only way to determine an accurate budget for your business is to assess your industry, consider the number of employees, and build a security system personalised to your needs.
Biggest Cybersecurity Threats in 2022 and Beyond
Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving. Here are some of the biggest threats you need to look out for in the rest of 2022 and beyond:
- Phishing attacks, including spear phishing and whaling;
- Advanced forms of malicious software, including ransomware;
- Attacks targeting mobile devices (especially those used by remote employees);
- The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to conduct attacks;
- And hacking via IoT devices.
Your Cybersecurity SME Checklist
Cybersecurity is not only yours, but it’s everyone’s responsibility. However, as a business owner, it’s necessary to give your team the tools they need to safeguard the company’s information at all times.
Here are 5 steps you can implement to improve your SME cybersecurity across the board.
1. Create a Backup Strategy for Your Business
Cybercriminals often try to limit access to your data or erase it altogether. Even if this type of attack is successful, you can counter it by creating a solid backup strategy.
Your backup strategy should include multiple physical and digital copies of your data and a backup syncing schedule that keeps your records updated with the latest details.
2. Build a Robust Anti-Malware System
Worms, viruses, and ransomware are just a few examples of malware that can infect and render your entire network useless.
One of the biggest challenges is that malware can enter your network through many access points. Therefore, you need to build an automatic, robust anti-malware system that combats and contains malicious software attacks.
3. Protect Devices Across Your Entire Team
Every laptop, tablet, and smartphone that your employees use for work represents an access point to your network. To create a wholesome security system, you need to protect one of these devices and follow best practices across all business gadgets.
Some of the steps you can take include:
- Require your teams to connect to your network through a VPN for the UK;
- Install password managers, ad blockers, and other security essentials;
- Keep operating systems and apps updated.
4. Educate Team Members About Phishing and Other Attacks
As we just mentioned, hackers and cybercriminals can access your networks through many different points.
The best way to protect every single one is through a team effort. This, in turn, is only possible if you teach your team members about the different threats and how to combat them.
The UK government has published some great resources, so take a look at them and see if you can implement them into your team training sessions.
Over the last decade, small business owners in the UK have put cybersecurity on the back burner. Today, this isn’t a luxury these organisations can continue to afford. At least, not without major repercussions.
The average cost of a cybersecurity breach in the UK can be devastating to any business, let alone a small company. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to protect your employees, customers, and your company as a whole.
Establishing a successful SME requires an endless amount of hard work, business savvy, and the ability to adapt to new challenges.
One of the most important obstacles you need to prepare for is the rise in cybersecurity threats. But, as long as you take the right steps to prepare, you should be able to set up an effective system that warns you whenever there’s a potential breach.