According to government figures released in February this year, 66% of small and medium-sized companies in the UK believe they’re not vulnerable to cyber attacks. SMEs have this misconception that hackers aren’t interested in them, when in reality they’re just as vulnerable.
In fact, attackers find SMEs attractive targets since they store more data than an individual, but often don’t have enough security measures in place that big companies have. Indeed, data from the 2015 Information Security Breaches Survey by PWC shows 74% of UK small businesses have suffered security breaches in the last 12 months. This is 60% up from last year’s figures. Moreover, we expect these numbers to continue to rise.
Although SME data breaches aren’t as massive as the likes experienced by Target and Sony, they are more crippling the business affected. The average cost of a single severe security breach to small companies is between £75,000 and £311,000. This may sound small against the millions big companies suffer, but if you’re an SME, you can appreciate how much this amount can eat into your profit.
With security breaches and cost increasing, it’s more critical than ever to be vigilant to threats to your IT network security. Simply assuming your IT system is secure because you’re paying someone to look after it isn’t an option. This leaves your business open to attacks.
The first step to keeping your network safe is finding its weak points. Investing on security measures without a clear idea of your network weak points is like firing a machine gun at your target and hoping one of the bullet hits it. This approach isn’t only expensive; it’s also ineffective. It leads you to invest on security measures you don’t need, while still leaving your network vulnerable to attacks.
To find your network weak points, you need a network assessment. Your existing IT support provider may already be providing this service. However, it’s to your advantage to have it done independently.
Benefits of an independent network assessment
As honest as your provider is, they are still biased towards their business. If they’ve been looking after your network for some time, and an assessment shows your IT network is filled with vulnerabilities, it’s a negative reflection on their service. This concern can potential stop them from giving you a comprehensive report.
Independent network engineers, on the other hand, don’t have the same concern since the state of your network security doesn’t reflect on them. For that reason, they can give you an honest report on your IT health and security. Also, as they are technical people rather than salespeople, they care nothing about making a sale. So, they can give you unbiased recommendations.
True, independent network assessment can cost you but it’s an investment worth making. However, comprehensive network assessment would deliver you a report mapping your network’s weak spots. Knowing the exact state of your IT network security means:
• You can do targeted repairs and set up relevant security measures.
• It is much easier for to get like-for-like quotes for any remedial work from other IT suppliers.
• You don’t have to pay for security features you don’t need, thus keeping your cost down.
In economic terms, all these can amount to large savings for your business and keep your network better protected. It also improves your business reputation. Knowing that you regularly assess your IT network reassures customers that their data is secure with you. This attitude is even greater if tests are done by an independent third-party.
When to conduct network assessment
It is good practice to do a network assessment:
• at least once a year as a general good practise.
• every time you’re making changes in your network
• after you moved premises
• if you’ve moved IT support provider, and
• after installing new IT equipment
Then every six months or yearly, depending on how quickly your network changes.
Every day new exploits and hacks appear that hackers can use to attack your IT network. Keeping the status quo of your IT security system could cost you not only your profit but also your business reputation and your clients.
If you want further information on network assessment, feel free to contact us. For a limited time, we are offering a free network assessment to selected companies. This is a no obligation offer. We will assess your IT network and provide you a report with recommendations written in plain English. There are no sales involved or annoying follow-ups.
To find out more about the offer call 01383 722225 or 0131 2081383.