SMEs woefully unprepared when it comes to cyber security

Elizabeth Barry 7 September 2017

small business security

New MYOB research has found only 13% of small businesses have a cyber security plan in place.

Small businesses are embracing the benefits of cloud technology but are still dragging their feet on security measures, new research from MYOB has shown. The SME Snapshot found that the majority of small businesses surveyed (87%) consider themselves safe and attribute this to having antivirus software installed.

Head of information and cyber security at MYOB, Christie Lim, said that businesses need to understand antivirus software is not a fail-safe.

“The attackers and malware threats have evolved over time. Antivirus can only detect malware that it already knows, but there is plenty of malware in the wild which has not been discovered yet (these are called zero-day threats). As a result, the traditional signature-based antivirus software can no longer keep up," she said.

Only 13% of businesses surveyed said they currently had a cybersecurity plan in place, with many attributing insufficient expertise (38%) as the reason why. Others said they did not have a strong online presence (32%) or have a lack of understanding and find the issue too complex (28%).

It's understandable cloud security may not be in the skills scope of every small business owner, but Lim says there are small steps owners can take to beef up security.

"Businesses should look to harness the capabilities of cloud software to ensure software is kept updated. They should also choose to use vendors that adhere to best-practice security protocols as well as familiarise themselves regularly with best-practice approaches."

Human error rather than a cyberattack can be an area of security that small businesses may overlook.

"Businesses should consider security awareness programs to keep their employees informed about cyber security threats and good online security practices."

While cloud security is important for businesses to stay on top of, Lim says that cloud-based technology is one of the safest systems businesses can invest in.

"Security is constantly being updated by software providers to ensure information is secure. It’s great to see nearly three-quarters of SMEs (72%) believe their information is either moderately or completely safe when stored in the cloud.”

Picture: Shutterstock

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