Data security for SMEs – don’t be an easy target for hackers

Data security threats, such as from ransomware, are becoming increasingly common and are putting a wider range of businesses at risk. While high profile attacks on large organisations attract the most media attention, smaller sized businesses are becoming increasingly vulnerable. 

 And while these types of attacks may have had limited success in the past, for example in the amount of ransoms actually paid or the time taken to halt the spread of the virus, malware threats to computer data are likely to become more numerous and effective. 

 Compared to large organisations, smaller businesses tend to be less prepared than their enterprise counterparts and need to act now to protect their computers and networks. 

 A false sense of security can be fatal to your data 

 As a business owner it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that as a small player, you won’t attract the attention of hackers – but this complacency can be risky. Hackers are aware of the fact that larger organisations tend to have stronger security defences in place compared to SMEs, which means your business could become an easy target. 

 At IT Smart Solutions, we’ve been dealing with an increasing number of enquiries from SMEs about the challenge of protecting their systems. Reports in the media of data security threats only tell part of the story – we’ve found that businesses don’t necessarily know what they need to do to keep their computers safe.
 

 A successful cyber-attack could mean loss of data, reputational damage and inconvenience to your customers. SMEs may also have obligations under privacy laws to keep their customer’s data secure. If something goes wrong and data security is breached, your small business could become high profile for the wrong reasons. 

 What is the best course of action you can take to protect your business? 

 Steps to strengthen your defences 

 If you are going to be serious about protecting your business, be aware that it’s not just about having an anti-virus (AV) program installed. For example, AV doesn’t help in a case like ‘WannaCry’ ransomware as this is a ‘zero day’ attack –  it’s not publicly reported before becoming active, therefore a patch can’t be issued and the business is not protected.  

 Your defence needs to be multifaceted – combining a number of measures together makes your protection stronger. You can’t predict exactly what type of attack could happen tomorrow so the more comprehensive your preparation the better.  

 There are a few easy steps that IT Smart Solutions can help your business with, including:  

  1. Ensuring security patches are kept up-to-date
 
  2. Installing and managing virus protection software
 
  3. Implementing a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery solution  
  4. Minimising risk by limiting admin access on PCs  

These processes can be automated which means the security of your business is monitored on an ongoing basis. For example, we receive an alert if your AV software isn’t working properly or when patches are needed, so action can be taken immediately. 

 Also, should your data need to be recovered, your businesses can get back up and running quickly as data is saved to the cloud. While these technology safeguards are crucial, it’s also important that SMEs educate their staff about how to keep their data safe. 

 Being proactive is the best strategy 

 SMEs can be the low hanging fruit for would be hackers, so you need to ensure that your business is not available for easy picking. Without in-house IT expertise, it’s difficult for SMEs to stay on top of cybersecurity issues as your priority is to focus on running your business.  

 The next major attack could be just around the corner so you need to be proactive in defence.  

 The threat to data security is real and many Australian small businesses have so far been lucky. Taking the right steps now might well avoid a future disaster for your business. IT Smart Solutions can help you put in place a multi-pronged plan to protect your SME. Contact us today. 

 

How your small business could benefit from the latest technologies

Let’s face it, in the past the IT infrastructure options for your small business have been limited. You were constrained by the level of risk you would be willing to take on and by the server capacity your budget could afford.

Luckily now times have changed, and advancements in technology can mean a big win for yHow your small business could benefit from the latest technologiesour small business. Imagine having access to the products and services that were originally only available to large enterprises with big budgets? Well now you can. There is no need to settle for sub-standard IT solutions.

Here are some of the benefits available to you:

1. Reliable connectivity

In today’s world, having consistent and fast connectivity is essential for the smooth day-to-day operations of any business.

It enables so many things – from being able to engage with your clients and partners through video conferencing channels, using cloud storage solutions to setting automated offsite online backups to guarantee the security of your data.

Improvements in infrastructure now mean that you can get a fibre connection to your small business premises at an affordable rate. Only 3 years ago this would have been outrageously expensive and price prohibitive.

Now is the best time to ensure your business is accessing the highest level of connectivity available.

2. Complex video conferencing

Utilising video conferencing can help you take your business communications to the next level. Gone are the days of having a huge expensive Polycom unit on your meeting table, and a member of your IT team needing a PHD just to operate it.

You no longer require the services of a specialist company to bind together your telephone lines to create enough bandwidth for a video call. There is also no need to try the complicated IP calling that would draw massive resources from your bandwidth.

Your small business IT budget can be improved now that you do not need to call on expensive specialists to physically visit your premises.

You can take advantage of the new world of video conferencing, where your infrastructure is set up so that you can just click the “call now” button on your Skype. You can utilise integrated systems like Skype For Business which can be linked to Outlook via Office365 and truly open up your business communications and productivity.

3. Improved team collaboration

As your small business grows, communication can suffer. Team members used to talking face-to-face to a few other people, may quickly find themselves having to communicate across states, or continents. However, having a team collaboration tool can mean increased productivity across the board, as well as happier employees!

According to a whitepaper by business communications company Fonality (fonality.com) and Webtorials (webtorials.com), “most workers waste an average of 74 minutes per day trying to contact partners or customers.”

Previously SharePoint was the best product, but it was necessary to host it on your business server. The other option was to have an intranet, but it was extremely cost-prohibitive in the past due to the resources required to properly set everything up and keep it maintained.

Often by the time the intranet was designed, built, and hosted, it would be out-of-date or lack new core functionality so many team members would not use it.

4. Mitigate risk of losing server data

So that you don’t get sidelined from important work such as driving revenue for your business, it is important to keep your IT stress as low as possible. One of the ways you can do this is to take advantage of the current technologies to change the way you store data.

A large enterprise IT environment usually has multiple servers to minimise risk, but in a small business there has traditionally been only one server. This presents a substantial danger to the small business as a “single point of failure” could impact all the business data.

By utilising cloud solutions, your small business IT doesn’t have to endure that level of risk. Keeping your data in a secure cloud environment eliminates the pressure of the single point of failure – and you can save some money too!

5. Secure backups

In the past, enterprise backup environments have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Larger businesses endured huge expenses for planning, set up and maintenance to ensure their data was secured in a locked environment – often with air-conditioning and constant monitoring.

Small businesses were unable to protect their data backups as effectively, relying on tapes or disks. These backups were then either stored in the office, or taken to an off-site location that they hoped would be safe.

Now, backups to the cloud are proving to save businesses a fortune. The data backups can be automated giving you peace-of-mind knowing less human hands are involved in the process. For example, our small business customers can run their backups and have that server up and running in the cloud in 10 minutes.

Benefit from the Cloud

Imagine if you had an IT expert that manages the security of your computers, performs maintenance and keep your IT systems optimised. Think of the disruptions that would be minimised and the reduced risk for your business.

Having the latest cloud technology, alongside managed services, your manual tasks can all be automated for a simple monthly fee per user. You can make enormous resource savings by eliminating the need for an internal IT team.

Talk to IT Smart Solutions team for small business IT support on 1300 853797 or view our packages today: http://itsmartsolutions.com.au/plans/