Cybersecurity for small-and-medium enterprises in Asia Pacific


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By Ricky Kapur, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Operations, Microsoft Asia Pacific.
© Provided by Microsoft Ricky Kapur
The past few months have brought unprecedented change to people and organizations around the world. Retail moved almost exclusively to e-commerce platforms and businesses had to rapidly pivot their operations online and in the cloud. As our CEO Satya Nadella puts it, in 2020, we’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months – a truly phenomenal pace.
The immediacy and scale at which we had to adapt brought new security challenges. Our recently launched Digital Defense Report revealed that attackers have taken advantage of these challenging times to capitalize on opportunities every day, with every country in the world having at least one COVID-19-themed attack. Attackers have also exploited gaps in traditional security policies, which didn’t cater to an all remote workforce – we’ve seen entire networks ransomed in under 45 minutes, and an increased number of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
SMEs NEED A SECURE, REMOTE WORKFORCE
As digital transformation continues apace across all sectors, every business regardless of size is at risk of a cyberattack. This Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we must build safeguards and be prepared to combat lurking cyber threats.
And small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) are often more vulnerable.
Many small businesses don’t think about cybersecurity until after a security breach. Not having cybersecurity can cost your business money, time, and result in lost sensitive information.  Based on industry conversations, we learn that a large percentage do not know how to protect their companies, lack dedicated IT staff and have inadequate computer and network security.
Failing to invest in cybersecurity actually costs more in the aftermath of a cyberattack, in terms of money, time and loss of sensitive information. In the past year, SMEs were the target of 43% of cyberattacks, and on average, the cost of each attack was $184,000, with a report suggesting that 60% of small businesses fold within six months of a cyberattack.
These statistics are concerning for the Asia Pacific region, where SMEs comprise more than 98% of enterprises and employ 50% of the workforce. They are an integral part of the region’s social and economic well-being, contributing up to 40% of the national GDP in countries like Malaysia and Singapore.
COMMON CYBERSECURITY THREATS FOR SMEs
The first step of preparedness is awareness and as an SME, you need to know the threats to watch out for. Here are some common ones:
TIPS FOR SECURING YOUR SME FROM CYBERSECURITY THREATS
With business continuity at stake, SMEs can guard their organization’s intellectual and personal information.
SECURITY IS THE FOUNDATION OF DIGITAL EMPOWERMENT
Cybercriminals will always be looking for ways to attack and steal data. So security should be an individual responsibility and practiced conscientiously. We need to adopt good internet habits and remember that we all have a stake in the security of our personal and organizational data.
While we can’t predict the threats, it’s essential for every business leader and employee to have a digital security first mindset. It’s equally important to have digital empathy to ensure our remote workforce continues to feel engaged and ensures your business continuity and resilience.
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