Small business owners are least worried about cyber attacks – but are just as vulnerable as large companies

Charlie Taylor

Published: March 22, 2022, 11:19Swedish small business owners are less worried about security breaches than colleagues at large companies – but the smaller companies are affected almost as often. This is shown by the new report Telia’s digital index 2022. Here are three common mistakes when it comes to IT security – mistakes that can be avoided: – With relatively simple means, you can prevent up to 99 percent of all attacks, says Fredrik Nyberg, IT consultant at Telia .Make it easier and safer to be a small business owner – start with free advice The larger companies, the more those responsible for security breaches worry, according to the new report Telia’s digital index 2022, where Swedish companies have had to answer questions about IT security. – Six out of ten large companies are worried about breaches, compared with four of ten small businesses. The smaller companies are mainly worried that computers and other IT equipment will stop working – while the large companies to a large extent also fear that customer registers will fall into the wrong hands and that trade secrets will be spread, says Fredrik Nyberg, IT consultant at Telia .But small business owners have as much reason to worry as their colleagues in large companies. The companies in Telia’s survey have had to answer whether they have been subjected to intrusion attempts in the past year. Among companies with 50-250 employees, 25 percent answer yes – compared to 22 percent of the smaller companies, 10-49 employees. – We know that about seven out of ten attacks are aimed at smaller companies with up to 50 employees, so it is not only large companies and organizations that are targets.

Three classic mistakes

Fredrik Nyberg believes that there are several relatively simple measures that prevent up to 99 percent of all attacks. To begin with, you can make sure to avoid some common mistakes:1. Do not get backupA common mistake is that companies do not get backup because they have a cloud solution and think that their data is stored securely in the cloud. – But if you work in Microsoft 365, Microsoft takes no responsibility for your data if it is cut. Then you need a secure backup, so it is important to invest in one.2. Do not activate services includedAnother common mistake among companies that work in Microsoft 365 is not to use the security services that are included. – Many companies have simply not activated the security services you paid for and have access to, it can be a scanning service of the email that reduces the risk for intrusion. My tip is that you contact your IT partner and ask for help.3. Negligence with passwordA third very common mistake is to have too simple passwords, to use the same password in several places and not to install MFA (multifactor authentication). – MFA proves the employees’ identities with an extra verification method when you log in to the company computers. It is a good basic protection, without one you open the company’s network for attacks.

Smart to educate

Another important piece of the puzzle is to continuously train employees in safe behavior. – A tip is to let your IT partner do tests in a controlled manner where the staff is exposed to fictitious attempts at intrusion. We at Telia will offer such training where we do just like the hackers and send, for example, emails that there are packages to pick up from the postal agent. In this way, we can see if any group in the company may need more support in the training. Afterwards, we can measure and ensure that education has had an effect.

Three quick tips from Fredrik Nyberg in cyber-safe behavior:

• Do not click on links or attachments from strangers. Do not download programs that come via e-mail, text message or web pages if the sender is unknown • The criminals work hard and often attract offers under time pressure. If the sender requires you to act quickly, it is therefore a warning bell. • Be suspicious of messages about payments and transfers that appear to come from an employee, such as the CFO or the company’s CEO. The account may be hijacked.Make it easier and safer to be a small business owner – start with free advice

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