Why SMBs Need a Full IT Tech Assessment
According to the 2017 State of Cybersecurity Metrics Annual Report released by Thycotic, a cybersecurity company, two-thirds of all cyber-attacks in the US targeted small and medium scale businesses.
It is supposed to be a surprising result, but at this point, is anyone really surprised?
There is a myriad of reasons why cybercriminals would rather attack SMBs instead of going after corporations.
While the big money data may be with enterprise-level companies, they have the resources to employ high-level security protocols to protect their IT assets. SMBs, on the other hand, usually do not have as much security measures.
It makes them easier targets for cybercriminals. With fewer security layers to contend with, they have a better chance of getting their hands on important data or in sabotaging operations than going after big corporations.
SMBs failure to employ enough cybersecurity measures are caused by different reasons, including:
- Not enough budget and resources – unlike big corporations, SMBs have limited resources and budget to implement an effective cybersecurity strategy. It usually consists of setting up a firewall with some antivirus and anti-malware software then hope that is enough.
- Cybersecurity is not a priority – because of limited resources, cybersecurity is not a priority with SMBs. After all, it does not directly generate income for the company. The focus of SMBs usually falls on things that would increase efficiency and productivity.
- Not enough information – a lot of SMBs do not even know that they are in danger. As said, their focus is solely on things that will generate income that other essential stuff like cybersecurity do not even reach their peripherals
As a result, the trend of SMBs being targeted by cybercriminals will continue to grow in the coming years.
But what can a small business do to solve this dilemma?
The first step should always be an in-depth IT risk assessment.
What is IT Risk Assessment?
IT risk assessment is the process of thoroughly examining all the technology your organization use with any aspect of your business.
Your IT assessment should reveal the various vulnerabilities in your existing IT infrastructure and indicates the type of impact it can have on your business if breached.
An IT risk assessment usually looks at the triumvirate of business technology aspects, which are:
- IT Assets of the Business
- End-user devices like computers, laptops, mobile device, printers, etc.
- Business software and applications
- System and network configurations, including user roles and permissions
- Security protocols
- Backup and recovery process
- Business phone system
- Threats to the Organization
- Vulnerabilities and Weaknesses in Technology
You have to take stock of what you have technology-wise. IT assets is the inventory of all the equipment, hardware, software, and configurations that your organization use to operate. It includes your:
The most common threats to a specific business are usually different from the dangers faced by another company operating in a different industry. That is why you perform an IT risk assessment; there is no one size fits all solution to cybersecurity problems.
For example, healthcare companies are likely most concerned about keeping patient information private and confidential, not only for security purposes but for compliance with HIPAA as well. As a result, they are more wary of data breach-related attacks.
Companies in the manufacturing industry, on the other hand, are more concerned about keeping their operations up and running. They are probably more concerned about bugs, viruses, and other cyber attacks that aim to keep their network and systems down for an extended period.
It is one of the most critical parts of the IT risk assessment. It shows you the different ways your organization is compromised and makes it a likely target of a cyber-attack. It includes various weaknesses like outdated security protocols, un-updated security patches, weak encryption policies, non-secure routers, and switches, etc.
It will also take into consideration the user side of the equation like user access to sensitive files, compromised devices due to BYOD policy, and simple employee negligence.
Last, it will also consider possible disasters, both natural and man-made, that may befall the company. For example, in the case of a fire or earthquake that damages the primary server, does the organization have a backup copy of the critical data stored in a separate location?
Why Your Business Need an IT Risk Assessment?
IT risk assessment solves, or at least partially address, the reasons why SMBs do not have adequate security measures in place to guard against cyber-attacks.
First is the lack of priority to security. By showing the vulnerabilities and risks associated with inadequate security protocols, business owners will discover that they may lose a lot of money if they do not safeguard their IT assets. According to the Department of Homeland Security, cyberattacks can cost businesses more than $38,000. And that does not include lost profit due to damaged relationships with clients.
Second, it also addresses the lack of information. A full IT risk assessment will give the business owner a detailed overview of their IT assets, common threats, and where they are most vulnerable. From there, they can make strategic decisions that will eventually protect their IT assets.
Last is the limited budget and resources. By knowing the risk level of each vulnerability discovered, business owners can prioritize security-related spending to the most at-risk areas of their business technology. It is not a perfect scenario, but at least this minimizes the effects of a possible cyberattack.
For a complete and objective evaluation and assessment of your business technology, you can contact a trusted managed service provider like thinkIT Solutions, to help you out.