Cybercrime on the rise, SMBs in the firing line

Local SMBs are failing to adequately protect themselves from rising cybercriminal activity, a new survey has found, increasing their chances of becoming victims to online data theft. Here are some expert tips for securing your valuable business information.

The vast majority of SMBs are leaving themselves vulnerable to online crime, with less than one in ten businesses setting automatic updates for their systems, a survey conducted by Australian Business Assessment of Computer Use Security (ABACUS) found.

The combination of rising mobile use in the workplace and a failure to employ basic protections, means businesses are making themselves easy targets for cybercriminals.

AVG security advisor Michael McKinnon is warning SMBs to safeguard their data, as even the smallest of companies are at risk.

“If you are the owner of a small growing business, chances are you think you are too small for cybercriminals to be interested in you.With many cybercriminals using automated scanning tools, unless you protect yourself they’ll eventually find you,” he said.

McKinnon believes SMBs are more concerned about traditional IT vulnerabilities, such as e-mail and web viruses as well as lost access to files and replacing hardware, rather than emerging threats.

“Without safeguarding against emerging trends such as information theft and social engineering, SMBs are leaving themselves wide open to cybercriminals. No company should be operating without stringent online safety precautions in place, particularly when affordable, effective measures are readily available to them,” he added.

With this in mind, here are six simple ways SMBs can better protect against cybercriminals:

1. Update protection for computer and mobile computing devices

2. Ensure backups up automatically updated and plan for reducing disaster recovery restoration times

3. Promote strong password management within the workplace. Remember the best passwords are long with a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols

4. Ensure staff logout of every application or social networking site

5. Provide staff with written security guidelines to keep your business network safe. Don’t assume they’re all tech savvy

6. If visitors need internet access, invest in networking equipment that provides a DMZ “De-Militarised Zone” that will give your visitors restricted access so they cant infect your systems, install or log into your files.

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