Cybersecurity is an increasingly relevant issue as businesses move to the digital world. While cloud computing opens new opportunities, it has also exposed businesses to new types of risks, and SMEs in particular, are ill-prepared for such threats.
Threats to cybersecurity are on the rise, including fraudulent activity and scams, a trend that is expected to continue with the new year. With such a technological landscape, it is important, especially for the more vulnerable sector of SMEs, to stay on top of cyber threats they could face.
Top 5 cybersecurity threats facing SMEs
The issue of cybersecurity is not limited to SMEs, but such organizations face the greatest risk in terms of recovering from such attacks. Here’s a look at the top 5 cybersecurity threats facing SMEs in 2023:
1. Malware Attacks
Malware attacks comprise a whole host of cybersecurity threats, which include viruses that can infect a system, and worms and trojans, which can destroy data. It, therefore, includes all that code created by malicious agents to gain access to your secure network and steal or destroy data.
It can also come from multiple sources, such as infected files that are downloaded onto the system, spam mail, or direct connections with an infected device.
For SMEs, such attacks can be particularly crippling. The type of damage and data loss such attacks can cause can be hard to bounce back from, as SMEs often have fewer resources to utilize in extra backups or implementing security protocols.
Once a breach occurs, it also becomes necessary to replace infected devices, leading to higher costs. Certain business practices, such as allowing personal devices for work, also leave businesses at greater risk of an attack.
Ransomware is a type of malware created and executed in much the same way as other types of malwares. However, it is different in that it prevents businesses from gaining access to their data unless a ransom is paid for releasing data critical to business operations, hence the term ransomware.
The choice between paying potentially large sums of money or losing essential business data is particularly crippling for SMEs. Current ransomware trends suggest that by 2023, a ransomware attack will occur every 2 seconds and cost businesses north of $2 billion annually.
Either choice for an SME is difficult, as they are likely to neither have the resources to pay off the ransom nor can they afford to lose important business data. It can then be hard to come back and rebuild from the financial cost or the data loss ransomware results in. Malware-type attacks require efficient and sophisticated cybersecurity measures to keep businesses safe around the clock.
3. Phishing attacks
Among perhaps the most prevalent and damaging top 5 cybersecurity threats facing SMEs in 2023 are phishing attacks. The previous year’s last quarter showed a 61% increase in phishing attacks compared to 2021. Such attacks can seriously cripple a company’s IT infrastructure, and SMEs often find it harder to bounce back due to limited resources.
An attacker performs a phishing attack by pretending to be a trustworthy source or contact and then getting the user to click on a malicious link, download harmful files, or reveal sensitive information or restricted credentials. From there, a business’s integrity and security are compromised.
Not only have phishing attacks become more sophisticated in recent years, but they are also that much harder to prevent. This is because they do not target a system that can be protected with typical firewalls or cybersecurity means. They use social engineering to target individuals within the business; even one person falling for such an attack can compromise the whole business.
4. Compromised Business Email
Business Email Compromise (BEC) or Email Account Compromise results in defrauding attempts by gaining access to business emails. It can become a very costly attack and ranks under the top 5 cybersecurity threats facing SMEs in 2023.
The attack occurs by first comprising business security and gaining access to internal data, such as payment systems. Business employees can then be duped into making payments or revealing sensitive information to an email that looks very much like their business account.
The falsehood of such requests can be difficult to determine, especially if employees have no reason to suspect malicious intent. In the end, it ends up costing the business and employees a significant amount of money.
5. Insider Threats
One often overlooked threat SMEs face is internal. Such threats arise from the deliberate or accidental actions of employees or other current or former members of the organization. Anyone with access to critical or sensitive business data is a potential threat, and their actions can lead to data breaches or loss. It doesn’t have to be intentional, but it can irreparably damage the system either way.
Oftentimes, such threats arise from the accidental actions of employees. This can include using weak passwords that can be breached, falling victim to malware or phishing attacks, and not ensuring limited and secure access to sensitive information.
Unfortunately, such insider threats remain a constant risk for businesses. One of the ways to safeguard against it is to ensure employees are properly trained in cybersecurity awareness. If employees know which of their potential actions can lead to the business being compromised, they are in a better position to control such actions.
Cybersecurity threats are a major risk for any business, but for SMEs, they can be especially crippling. Many SMEs lack the resources to implement sufficient cybersecurity techniques and cannot afford attacks that make it impossible to recover from. For such businesses, outsourcing IT services is a more viable option.
Functioneight has over 20 years of experience in providing for businesses’ cyber security needs. Our IT support services ensure you never have to worry about attacks and that your business and data remain safe. Our outsourcing services are guaranteed to give you access to top-of-the-line cybersecurity. Get in touch to secure your business today!