What is Cyber Security?

What is cyber security for SMEs?

Many smaller businesses don’t think that they’re of any interest to a hacker, because they don’t believe their data is valuable or worth stealing. Unfortunately, this is a myth. The increasingly sophisticated techniques used by modern day hackers allow them to target multiple SMEs at once, making them a more attractive proposition.

But what are hackers looking for? Well, data can take a lot of different forms. It could be the financial details that customers provide you with in order to make a payment, or those of your employees. Or it might be confidential documents outlining your business strategy, upcoming product releases and market research. Depending on the industry you work in, you might even hold copies of individual’s medical records, insurance information or other equally sensitive data.

Whilst advances in technology have brought so many benefits to SMEs, including greater flexibility, scalability and communication, it has also made them more vulnerable. Having left the traditional 9 to 5 in the office behind us, we are now working in a whole range of different locations on a variety of devices. You might spend a train journey catching up on emails on your tablet, take meeting notes in a coffee shop or recording a conversation that you have in the car.

Wherever and however you choose to work, your business still needs protecting.

What is cyber security protection?

Cyber security protection is all about putting technology, processes and training in place in order to keep your data and systems secure. Much in the same way that you would install CCTV to reduce the risk of your office being physically burgled, cyber security protection is that first line of defense against cyber attacks. That defence takes many forms but can predominantly be categorised as either technological or people.

Technological cyber protection is all about ensuring that you have the necessary software and systems to cope with unwanted intrusions. A cyber security expert will be able to recommend the most suitable option for the unique needs and priorities of your business.

On an everyday basis, you should be checking all of your devices and applications to see if any updates have been released and not continuously putting off downloading them. If a software developer has chosen to release a patch to their product, it’s because they’ve identified a vulnerability which needs addressing.

By failing to update, your entire business could be put at risk.

After a period of time, a developer may inform you that they will no longer be actively supporting a particular system or software. At this point, you should seriously consider investing a new technology rather than running the risk of becoming an easy target for hackers. A good example of this is Microsoft XP, whose support ended in 2018.

Human cyber protection is all about education. It’s about ensuring your employees are fully informed of how their actions can inadvertently lead to a cyber breach, and showing them how they can improve their awareness. We recommend training employees on how to identify malicious links in phishing emails, create strong passwords and consider whether the person they’re communicating with is who they say they are. In the age of social media, it is becoming easier for hackers to glean the necessary information to make their harmful emails look realistic, a type of cyber attack known as social engineering. Remember, it’s not just the people who work in IT that need to be clued up. When everything is so connected in a business, a breach anywhere can have significant implications.

What’s the difference between cyber security and data protection?

If you’re wondering what cyber security is, you might also have come across the idea of data protection. Whilst both data protection and cyber security are concerned with data, there are distinct differences between the two. Data protection concerns, such as those covered by GDPR, focus on how a company collects its data and what it then does with it. Cyber security experts on the other hand, want to check how the data is being stored and shared. Both are vitally important to the success of a modern day business, and can have significant consequences if not carefully considered.