What small businesses should do to protect their IT infrastructure from cybercrime

The best method for SMEs is to implement a comprehensive set of security measures and security awareness training to ensure that people are aware of security threats.
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Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly using the internet as a means of conducting business, which has exposed them to cybercrime threats. As a global means of communication and commercial operation, Information Technology (IT) has provided a variety of opportunities to SMEs over time. SMEs' reliance on IT, on the other hand, has made them vulnerable to newer IT security concerns. Because of their relationships with larger corporations as clients, SMEs might be an attractive target for cybercriminals. As a result, safeguarding SMEs from cybercrime and cybersecurity threats should be a top priority. However, in the Small and Medium Enterprises world, cybercrime prevention is still a challenge.

Surge in cybercrimes

According to Statista, India had a considerable increase in reported cyber crimes in 2020 compared to the previous year. Over 50,000 cybercrime instances were reported that year. Consumers in India lost approximately $18 billion in 2017 as a result of cybercrime, according to estimates. These were, however, projections based only on reported data. Because of a lack of cybercrime awareness and classification procedures in a country like India, the true figures are likely to be under-reported. Recent government initiatives, such as a dedicated online platform for reporting cyber crimes, could very well emerge to be the driving force behind an increase in online crimes starting in 2017. This situation has worsened due to the pandemic-induced disruptions.

Business companies are continually seeking lower IT costs and, as a result, are adopting trends that ensure the same. Aligning the company with technological trends allows them to leverage the use of the most up-to-date technology. Cloud computing, BYOD, Big Data Analytics, and social media usage are some of the technology trends.

Types of cybercrime in MSMEs

The following are some of the ways that most MSMEs become victims of cybercrime:

Ransomware: This type of attack encrypts all data, and disrupts the company's operations. This should be kept in check.

Email attacks: Email accounts are hijacked and used to contact customers or vendors in order to redirect funds to fictitious accounts.

Confidentiality threat due to employees: An inside employee exposes confidential information to competitors, resulting in significant economic losses.

Fraud emails and websites: Phony emails lead to phoney websites, which steal password credentials.

Hacking into networks: In these types of attacks, networks are infiltrated by hackers. They exploit resources such as the internet to mine bitcoins or attack other networks.

Pirated software threat: An employee installs pirated software that causes potential liabilities. In such a scenario, the company could be held legally accountable, with severe consequences.

Cybercriminals calculate the resources they will need to attack in order to perform a cybercrime. It's more lucrative if they target a huge corporation, because the reward they get is significantly greater than what they can get by targeting a large number of SMEs. As a result, huge corporations must hire cyber-soldiers and outfit them with cyber-security tools. In general, cyber-criminals utilise automated programmes to spot vulnerabilities in MSMEs’ networks. If an SME network is tough to get into, these automated tools will leave it and go on to another SME network.

Solutions to fight cybercrime

A few solutions that MSMEs can adopt in order to fight the threat of cyber crime are:

VPN: Remote access tools must not be used by SMEs for technical support from external agencies or data access from the outside. When accessing files and apps remotely, SMEs should always use a VPN. On low-cost routers, VPN deployment is free. It will undoubtedly protect small businesses from ransomware.

Standard Email System: MSMEs should stop using a low-cost, unlimited third-party ID email system. They can use a standard email system like G-Suite or something similar. Some technologies can save G-Suite costs by 70 percent while also improving security and attentiveness. This will assist SMEs in preventing email identity theft fraud.

Routers: Intrusion detection firewalls are not necessary for SMEs. They require a low-cost router to manage multiple internet connections and to block all ports and use VPN for incoming traffic. It will almost certainly make hacking the network nearly impossible.

Antivirus: Antivirus software prevents malware from inflicting damage to your device by identifying, quarantining, and/or destroying malicious code. Antivirus software nowadays updates itself automatically to provide protection against the latest viruses and malware.

Employees: Internal data theft dangers are more dangerous to SMEs than external data theft threats. They require an Insider Threat Mitigation System. In this case, the disclosed data / IPR will assist a SME's competitors more than a hacker. SMEs should sign a solid confidentiality agreement with their staff and disable any data theft methods such as USB drives, emails, and the internet. There are methods readily available to ensure that data leakage or theft from the SME network is exceedingly difficult. There are methods and solutions that can put these policies in place all at once.

Forego piracy: Servers, CALs, professional versions of operating systems, and MS Office on all computers are not required for MSMEs. They require a genuine single-language Windows OS that is delivered with a preloaded branded desktop or laptop at a low cost. Do not install pirated server operating systems or Microsoft Office, as these can be used by cybercriminals as back doors. There are products that can replace the need for Server licences, MS Office, CALs, and RDP CALs while maintaining enterprise-level security. This would undoubtedly reduce SME IT investment costs, as well as the risk of being hacked by cybercriminals who use unlicensed software as a backdoor entry.

Small businesses are currently experiencing a variety of threats. SME cyber-attacks can cause significant damage to their company's reputation, as well as lead to the loss of essential assets, and incur the costs of repairing the damage. The best method for businesses to protect themselves from these dangers is to implement a comprehensive set of security measures and security awareness training to ensure that people are aware of security threats.


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