Cyber security – it’s a subject many SMEs prefer not to consider, and New Zealand is a country dominated by SMEs.
Nearly 500,000 enterprises from Northland and the Bay of Islands to Southland make a significant contribution to our economy, accounting for an estimated 26 percent of New Zealand’s GDP. A probable reason for the significant contribution SMEs make to New Zealand’s GDP has to do with the ease of establishing and doing business here.
In fact, New Zealand has been ranked number one in the world for ease of doing business according to the World Bank.
Of the world’s 190 countries, we have the smallest number of procedures and the shortest amount of time required to start a new business. Almost anyone can quickly and easily begin a new business in New Zealand using affordable, accessible online technology.
However, with easy online access to both local and international markets comes the risk of security breaches from global threats.
As the recent global ransomware attacks from the wannacry virus have shown, no company or computer is safe.
Even small or medium businesses here in New Zealand are susceptible to online and Internet security threats from cyber terrorists. Hackers are actively looking for ways to disable or access your company database, causing havoc or significant financial damage from downtime.
Many SMEs make the mistake of believing they are too small to be actively targetted or impacted by online security issues, but in fact, as a smaller enterprise you need to focus more on protecting your valuable data – which is most often the lifeblood of your business.
As a New Zealand business owner, you need to expand your risk management thinking and considerations to ensure that the most valuable information in your organisation is protected. This will help you prevent the potentially devastating consequences of an online security failure.
Not convinced? Read on for the type of costs that can impact your company and some sobering statistics for any business owners who do not believe it can happen to them.
Cyber Security Risks for SMEs
The 2015 NZ Cyber Security Strategy report that cyber security breaches had cost New Zealand almost $257 million in the year prior and that 56 per cent of businesses had experienced an attack once a year.
According to the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, technology strategist Mark Shaw said they saw an increase of 163 percent in ransomware attacks, which equates to almost 108 attacks per day in New Zealand.
At CodeBlue, we recognise the risks faced by companies like yours that do not have the expertise for full in-house protection. That is why we offer fully managed or blended Cyber Security Services to our customers from five branches across New Zealand.
Eight Things You Can Do To Protect Your Data Today
While we have the strategies and services to keep your business secure online, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can do on your own to start protecting yourself from security threats. Here are the eight essential IT risk recommendations we suggest establishing as a first step to minimise information or online security incidents.
- Whitelist Applications: Establish a whitelist to allow only selected software applications to run on computers.
- Disable MS Office Macros (untrusted): Ensure those macros that automate simple, regular, repetitive tasks and are untrusted are deactivated.
- Application Patches: Ensure any security vulnerabilities in software applications are fixed with patch updates.
- Harden User Applications: Uninstall (if possible) Adobe Flash Player, and block web ads or Java code.
- Administrator Privilege Restrictions: Provide them only to those who require them for managing systems, installing legitimate software and applying software patches.
- Multi-factor Authentication: Ensure access is only granted after the user provides multiple forms of evidence (e.g. passphrase and other data uniquely known to the user).
- Operating System Patches: Ensure any security vulnerabilities in the operating system are fixed with patch updates.
- Data Backup (daily): Regularly back up all important data and store it securely offline.
Business decision-makers can no longer ignore online and Internet security. Cyber protection is critical to your success. Contact us today for free on 0508 IT SERVICE or email here to learn more about how we can help you stay safe