New research has revealed that almost 4 in 10 (38%) SMEs are impacted immediately if there was an internet failure, and a further half (46%) said it would only take a day to have repercussions, resulting in substantial amounts being lost rather than being pumped into the UKs economy.

The research from Trend Micro spoke to 500 business owners in the UK, in line with Small Business Advice Week (31st Aug – 6th Sept), to educate business owners on potential online threats and how they can ensure they are protected.

The research showed only 44% of businesses know how to check if their work devices have malicious software, and two thirds confessed to not fully understanding the legal or financial implications of an internet security breach. Despite this, 99% understand the importance to spend money on internet security software.

IT privacy and security (PD)

Only half of respondents (50%) said they rely on internet security software to protect them from online threats. Yet, over a third (34%) of respondents said there are 11-20 devices that are used within their business, and a further quarter (24%) said this was over 41 which are potentially being left unprotected.

To help SMEs during Small Business Advice Week, Trend Micro give their four essential pieces of advice for business owners:

Write your policy

Think your business is too small for hackers to worry about? Think again. Size is really irrelevant when it comes to online crime and fraud and smaller businesses are easier targets because of stretched IT resources. So it’s important that your business takes security seriously: teach employees and re-teach them about your security requirements. Write it. Communicate it. Enforce it.

Protect with passwords

Like it or not, passwords are the key to most small business networks, so they are important to protecting access to your networks. You don’t have to be a statistics whiz to know that the more keystrokes and characters you add the stronger your password will be.

Get critical about internet security

The Internet is a fantastic business enabler. But, it can also increase malware exposure if your security does not provide proactive content scanning to track malware and alert you to the potential problems. Select security solutions that can help you conquer the latest threats with fewer distractions for your employees:

• Stop the mad links. Don’t rely on employees to think about security or restrict where and when they can access the network or Internet. Automate updates and make security transparent for employees.

• Keep the web productive. Along with guidelines for acceptable web use, select solutions that stop unacceptable use. URL filtering can limit access to unproductive sites completely or during business hours and defends against risky links will keep your business, your employees and your data in your hands, not in the hands of identity or data thieves.

Close your doors to malware

In the same way that you wouldn’t dream of leaving your back door unlocked at night, you wouldn’t invite cyber criminals into your business. But, by not securing your computers, such as not having adequate firewalls and antivirus software, that could be exactly what you’re doing.

In fact, an alert about increases in small business attacks was sent from NACHA, the Electronics Payments Association. ComputerWorld reported, “NACHA’s alert said that the cyber crooks are apparently targeting small businesses because of their relative lack of strong authentication procedures, transaction controls and ‘red flag’ reporting capabilities. In some cases, the alert said, attackers are tricking small business workers into visiting phishing sites with the same look and feel as their company’s financial institution, where they would log on using their credentials.

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