3 In 5 Singapore SMEs Faced A Cyber Threat In 2018. Is Your Business Safe?
Did you know that Singapore is one the most vulnerable countries in Southeast Asia when it comes to certain strains of cyber attacks?
If you are running a business, cybersecurity should be one of your top concerns. In the last 12 months, over 56% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore admitted that they experienced a cyber attack. The impact of a cybersecurity threat on your business could be devastating – a Frost & Sullivan study estimated that mid-sized organisations in Singapore incurred an average loss of US$177,000 due to cybersecurity incidents.
It’s therefore vital for businesses to have protective measures in place. Here are a few ways you can help protect your business against cyber threats:
1. Implement a cybersecurity policy
A cybersecurity policy is a document that outlines how a business plans to protect their physical and information technology assets.
Creating this policy involves outlining what assets need to be protected, what actions or guidelines are needed to protect them, and who is enforcing these guidelines. It should be reviewed periodically to stay up to date with the latest developments.
Depending on the scale of your business, a cybersecurity policy could be just be a single sheet outline or a huge multi-page document. The policy may include guidelines on the following:
- Password management
- How to create strong passwords
- How often to update passwords
- Email standards
- Avoid opening attachments from unknown senders
- How to tell apart malicious emails from legitimate ones
- How to delete and block spam
- Handling confidential data
- How to identify confidential data
- How to digitally and physically store confidential data
- Identifying when it is appropriate to share such data
- Internet access standards
- What sites are appropriate to be accessed in the workplace
- What sites can employees sign up for using their work email addresses
2. Install anti-malware protection
Malware is an umbrella term that refers to malicious software like viruses, spyware and ransomware. Its impact on your devices is a running list of horrors: it could slow down computers, steal confidential data, take your data hostage in exchange for ransom and more. Detections of malware rose a massive 270% among Asia Pacific businesses over the last year, so it’s more important than ever to protect your organisation against these threats.
Employing anti-malware protection for your devices is the most straightforward measure for reducing the risk of these attacks. Consider Singtel Business Protect Basic, which protects your computers, laptops and mobile devices from malware and abnormal system and application behaviour.
In addition, phishing email scams is a common cause of ransomware infection. In 2017, businesses in Singapore lost around S$43 million to email impersonation scams, up from S$25 million in 2016. If your business uses Microsoft Office 365 email and applications, the Advanced Threat Protection email filtering service can protect your organisation against unknown threats and harmful links in real time.
3. Protect your business network
While anti-malware tools can prevent malware from infecting your devices in real-time, you’ll also want to prevent web threats from reaching your network in the first place.
Investing in network protection can help you process all internet traffic to eliminate web threats before it reaches your system. With the ever changing sophistication of cyber attacks, having an additional layer of protection is important.
Protecting your business network also involves installing a content filtering service. A content filter reduces the risk of being exposed to web threats by making it difficult to access such content in the workplace. Employees would not be able to visit websites that are malicious, such as those that deliver spam or malware. It also has the added advantage of potentially improving productivity, as you can restrict access to distracting content like gambling sites or instant messaging.
Consider Singtel Business Broadband that comes with Broadband Protect and Content Filtering, which guards your network against web threats, as well as restricts access to malicious or objectionable websites.
4. Back up your data
Neglecting to back up your data is could put it at risk. Around 28% of companies who experienced a security breach in the past year said that ransomware was the most frequently encountered threat. This could be disastrous for businesses without a proper backup policy, as ransomware can infiltrate computers and take important business data hostage. To regain your data from cyber attackers, you may need to give in to ransom demands.
However, not all threats come from malicious forces trying to take down your business – employee negligence can also put your data at risk. Human error accounted for 20% of business interruption or data loss among Singaporean SMEs last year.
To mitigate these risks, make sure to regularly back up all important information. Store your backups in the cloud and in portable devices like an external drive. Don’t leave your portable devices connected after the backup process, as a compromised computer could also infect your backup.
5. Physically secure your hardware
Cyber breaches don’t just happen online – your digital data can be stolen or compromised through physical means too. Here are a few ways you can physically secure your hardware:
- Use password protection. Make sure that each device is protected by a strong password, and only share that password with those authorised to use it.
- Physically attach equipment. When you think of a data breach, your first thought may not be of employees or third-party contractors discreetly swiping office devices, but physical theft happens too. To prevent this from happening, consider keeping an inventory of all IT equipment and physically attaching computers to desks.
- Restrict the use of portable devices. To prevent data theft or installation of malware (inadvertently or not), establish guidelines for using portable devices like USB sticks or external drives on office equipment.
Establishing guidelines for the usage of portable devices doesn’t always mean that they will be adhered to, of course. Fortunately, Singtel Business Protect Basic can help you enforce these guidelines through its Device Control feature, which limits access of USB drives and other attached devices to prevent data loss and block threats from compromising your hardware.
Don’t underestimate the importance of cybersecurity
Cyber attacks happen more often than you think, and their consequences can be disastrous. These steps could greatly reduce the risk of having your business fall prey to an attack – or at the very least, reduce the impact of one.
Here’s a final tip to help bolster your cybersecurity strategy: having the right broadband plan can go a long way in protecting your business from cyber threats.
Singtel Business Broadband comes with the optional SME Security Pack add-on, which gives you access to Business Protect Basic (for 2 users) and Broadband Protect and Content Filtering. If you’re looking for a high-speed fibre broadband plan that also offers comprehensive protection against web threats, this could the solution your business needs.