To guard against phishing and other cyber-attacks, SMEs need to invest in IT security. Is your business prepared?
Cybersecurity has become a major issue in today’s markets. The growth of your business, and perhaps even its survival, depend on it, because a cyber-attack can have serious consequences. Beyond the ransom payment, it can cause, among others:
- the shutdown of the company’s activities;
- loss of trust with clients and partners.
No organization is safe: 71% of Canadian businesses were victim to a cyber-attack that had an impact on their organization in 2019. This statistic only includes businesses that reported an incident.
Protect yourself from phishing and data theft
Did you know that hackers are often present for more than six months, without your knowledge, before triggering more serious attacks?
Many SMEs are not sufficiently protected against cyber-attacks. Cybercriminals target them, in part because they act as a gateway to the large companies they do business with.
SMEs can fall victim to several types of incidents. Through phishing, hackers can:
- gain access and break into the computer network in order to steal data;
- access e-mail accounts (imagine the consequences if a cyber hacker manages to send a message to your customers from your e-mail address asking them to pay you for a new bank account);
- disable corporate defence systems;
- affect data backup systems.
Ransomware, a new form of fraud
Ransomware is another common type of threat, especially since the emergence of cryptocurrency, which now allows cybercriminals to monetize their actions in an undetectable way.
In the classic scenario, cybercriminals break into a company’s computer system and paralyze it by encrypting files. They then demand a ransom to unlock the system but, in the meantime, the company may have to shut down all operations.
Moreover, there is no guarantee that the hackers won’t start their game again a few days later or that they haven’t deleted all the company’s strategic data.
Secure your data to stay competitive
Does your company meet the minimum cybersecurity requirements that must now be included in calls for tenders? If not, many contracts are in danger of slipping through your fingers.
Given the frequency and scale of cyber-attacks, large corporations and public organizations want to ensure that their suppliers have information security controls in place and that they comply with increasingly stringent industry standards.
In order to remain competitive and do business with large companies and organizations, including governments, it is essential that your company include cybersecurity measures in its strategy.
Prepare a plan to prevent security incidents
A business interruption due to a cyber-attack could prove costly to your business. To protect yourself from the consequences, it is important to prepare an adequate incident response and business continuity plan. Being prepared for any eventuality will make a huge difference in the event of an attack. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Prevent financial losses
The financial losses associated with the partial or total suspension of your activities can be very high. In addition to the direct costs (resources devoted to responding to incidents, lost data and contracts, ransom payments), you may also have to pay fines, particularly if you violate the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
Remain vigilant and invest upstream rather than incurring excessive expenses.
Maintain the bond of trust with your customers and partners
Of course, the theft of personal information and sending of false messages to customers and business partners as a result of e-mail account hacking are extremely damaging to a company’s credibility.
Did you know that 81% of Canadians would never do business with an organization if their personal data had been compromised during a cyber-attack?
It is all the more important to preserve your reputation by properly equipping your company against cyber-attacks and other computer security incidents.
Avoid costly lawsuits
SMEs that are victims of a cyber-attack are exposed to lawsuits and litigation from their customers and business partners. This could be the case, for example, following the theft of personal information or if a paralyzed SME can no longer honour its contracts.
Establish a computer incident response plan to preserve and document evidence to defend yourself in the event of a lawsuit.
Conserve your resources to take advantage of business opportunities
An SME that has to work hard to recover from a cyber-attack may postpone or even cancel an important project because it no longer has the time or resources to carry it out.
Although the threats are numerous and serious, SMEs can protect themselves adequately by calling on specialized resources that will provide them with state-of-the-art solutions and tailor-made strategies. Do you have questions about this? Please contact us for more information.