The news broke this week of yet another retail giant being exposed to ceaseless cyber-attacks resulting in 10m of their customers’ personal data being compromised.
According to the news story, “Dixons Carphone has admitted a huge data breach involving 5.9 million payment cards and 1.2 million personal data records.” – BBC, 31 July 2018.
What’s probably worse is the fact that this hacking attempt started in July 2017 – one year ago.
It still astounds us how so many organisations are ill-prepared for the digital war going on under our very noses. And yet, even larger organisations, who may appear to have everything in place and in check, are still at risk. How much more so the risk of high-growth businesses who are not spending the amount of attention required, on their operational infrastructure, and in this case, their cyber security?
CFPro Ventures partnered with the Global Cyber Alliance in March this year, in an effort to be able to highlight the threat, and ways to protect themselves, to all SMEs. The GCA is “an international, cross-sector effort dedicated to eradicating cyber risk and improving our connected world.”
They do this by uniting global communities, implementing concrete solutions that reduce and eradicate cyber risk, and measure the effect of things that work, and those that don’t.
Tech risks that undermine SME Business
Warwick Ashford, security editor at ComputerWeekly.com, writes, “The threat of network failures, cyber attacks and data loss is overshadowing growing business confidence by the UK’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs), a survey has revealed. Nearly half of SMEs believe the economy will improve in the next quarter, up from 40% the previous quarter, according to the latest SME Risk Index from Zurich Insurance“. It’s the very same survey that found that one in six (16%) SMEs have fallen victim to a cyber-attack in the last 12 months (2017). Businesses, large and small, are becoming statistics overnight and many have not yet woken up to the fact that it doesn’t need to be a large, dreaded Trojan virus – it could simply be a case of someone having access to something they shouldn’t, and pressing the wrong button, in complete error.
The rise of technology means a re-write of our digital protocol – the way that we handle data, the way that we train our teams, the way that we process transactions. SME threats are no longer driven by a competitor market only – they’re driven by the technological.
And it’s no wonder that the biggest cybersecurity threats are within your business.
Tech priorities that expose SME Business
In the same article written by Warwick, it was found that, “while 27% [of SMEs surveyed] said online marketing and web trading were among the top opportunities for their business, 39% are worried about vulnerabilities associated with the use of technology.” The edge of Opportunity and Threat becomes even sharper as the need to grow and diversify also becomes the biggest risk in SME operations. “Almost two-fifths of SMEs cite the failure of local network systems as one of the three biggest technological risks to their business, followed by cyber attacks (31%) and the threat to their social media reputation (15%)”. A far cry from the pre-modern world of risk that involved premature death, famines, natural disasters, wars, epidemics such as pestilence and the plague, violent politics. (Or, are we still talking about 2018?)