Cybersecurity: seen but not heard, until now

Andrzej Kawalec, Head of Cybersecurity at Vodafone Business

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The security landscape is constantly changing.

As technology develops, so do the methods being used by cyber criminals. And it’s not just large organisations that are at risk.

Small and medium-sized businesses often think they’ll be overlooked but that simply isn’t the case. Working with a variety of partners and suppliers, their data is just as valuable and it’s also usually much easier to steal – making them enticing targets for bad actors.

On top of this, the way the world works has completely changed in 2020. We can’t continue to operate how we always have, and that applies to cybersecurity too.

Let’s look at the stats

At the start of the year, research from the Vodafone Business Future Ready Report found that while 93% of SMEs believed cybersecurity to be vital for business continuity, only 64% were using cybersecurity solutions.

 

This has increased by 8% since the start of the pandemic, bringing it up the technology check list after must-have fundamentals like fixed, mobile and broadband services and cloud.

In fact, when you compare this increase to the other technologies on the list, cybersecurity has jumped up to being the joint third most adopted technology over the past few months, after unified communications (11%) and cloud (9%).

When looking into the statistics further we found that 28% of ‘future ready’ small and medium-sized businesses have purchased or upgraded their cybersecurity systems during this time period, in comparison to 19% of all other SMEs. That’s only an average of one in five businesses.

So why, when businesses know the importance of security, are the figures still so low?

There could be many reasons, such as it’s too complex to implement, it’s too expensive or solutions simply don’t focus enough on the user.

When it comes to cybersecurity, protection is not the same for every business. Large multinational organisations can work with specialists and larger firms, while smaller counterparts, with less complex needs, can choose from a wide array of online providers, leaving businesses in the middle struggling to get the right level of security services, at the right cost.

Attacks on the up

COVID-19 has added another layer of complexity too.

Causing so much disruption, it’s perhaps not surprising that organisations have been prioritising the technologies that help with business continuity and, therefore, survival. But the risks posed by having so many employees logging on from home shouldn’t be ignored.

You can be sure this opportunity is not being missed by cyber criminals.

Phishing attacks are on the up, with attempts rising by 600% since end of February and ransomware attacks rose by 148% in March.

As this way of working is likely to continue, understanding your risks and getting the right security basics in place are important to avoid a potentially crippling attack.

Simple steps like installing phishing protection and firewalls across all devices, doubling down on authentication methods or regularly updating anti-malware can all help. Just don’t forget about your employees.

Building cyber resilience

The so-called ‘human firewall’ is one of the biggest challenges for businesses. Phishing and spear phishing emails, for example, impersonate senior stakeholders and attempt to trick employees into clicking on malicious links and attachments.

On top of this, retaining or recruiting knowledgeable staff in security is highlighted as the biggest challenge for most small and medium-sized businesses in the Vodafone Business Future Ready Report.

To combat this, invest in training for all employees, formalise remote-working security processes and elect security champions to work hard at keeping the issue top-of-mind.

With a workforce ready to identify, protect, detect and respond to threats or breaches quickly, you’ll be in the best position possible to fend off attacks, minimising the risks and costs to the business.

Find out more about cyber security or read the full Future Ready Report.

Also you can view more Vodafone Business content here

Vodafone Business

We partner with businesses of every size to help them progress and thrive through digital communications technologies - today, tomorrow and into the future. Vodafone Business is a leading technology communications company helping organisations succeed in a digital world and keeping society connected. With our expertise in connectivity, our global scale and our leading IoT platform, we can deliver the results you need to progress and thrive. Whether you are looking for a particular solution or simply advice, you can count on our team to provide you with the support and expertise needed throughout your business’ digital transformation.

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