Small businesses are the growth engines of India, accounting for nearly 30% of GDP and 40% of its exports. With these impressive stats, it is no surprise that they play an instrumental role in making India a $5 trillion economy soon. Moreover, their growth trajectory will likely skyrocket further as they strive to digitize themselves.
This transition is not easy. It comes with several challenges, with data security being one of the most alarming concerns, hampering their growth and preventing them from reaching their full potential.
In the last few years, especially after the pandemic, India has witnessed multiple cyber incidents across industries. Small businesses are an easy target for threat actors, mainly due to their need for more awareness and preparedness. Unfortunately, 60% of such businesses still don’t see these events as a risk, and about 40% don’t prioritize security, making them more vulnerable to threat actors in today’s digital-first world. This article discusses some top data threats and how small businesses can address them.
One of the most common and damaging threats, phishing, involves threat actors posing as authentic persons contacting the target through email, call, or text message. Due to the authenticity factor, the target naturally gets lured to click on a malicious link or share sensitive credentials.
The recent phishing SMS scam faced by 40 bank customers in Mumbai who lost lakhs within three days confirms the rapid evolution of these threat actors and their innovative phishing techniques. Thus, small businesses must implement cybersecurity protocols like multi-factor authentication (MFA) and email security gateways and conduct security awareness programs to educate employees about the security measures to protect themselves and the business.
In this event, threat actors usually encrypt company data to prevent its usage and access. They ask the victim organization to pay a ransom to return the compromised data. Research shows that over 75% of companies in India were affected by such events. With each breach costing an average of INR 35 crore of damage. How can we forget the recent ransomware attack on India’s premium medical institute, AIIMS, which compromised nearly 40 million health records?
As the world goes digital, nobody is 100% safe. However, to respond to such events, organizations must have a leading cybersecurity.
This threat is caused by the actions of existing or former employees with access to enterprise data. Usually, a data breach, in this case, occurs due to an individual’s intent to leverage enterprise data for personal benefit.
Insider threats were commonly observed among small businesses in India. Causing significant financial damage while putting employees and customers at risk. With threat actors aggressively using social engineering tactics to trick insiders into sharing sensitive data. We can expect more sophistication in this threat category in future years. Organizations must therefore take safety measures such as limiting access or associating with an incident response company that can spot such threats.
Other key measures
While these security measures can help mitigate cyber risks to a great extent. Other initiatives like building a zero-trust architecture and increasing smartphone vigilance will also go a long way in ensuring safety against the ever-evolving threat landscape.
The idea behind a zero-trust architecture is to assume that networks are hostile by default. Hence, it will be mandatory to verify every interaction to reduce the possibility of threat actors barging in. Likewise, with increasing smartphone penetration across India. Companies must invest in smartphone security as employees frequently use these devices for internal communications and other office purposes.
By investing in these security measures, organizations can ensure constant vigilance and stay agile to combat threat actors at every point possible. It is pertinent to note that cybersecurity is not an option for businesses anymore. But a crucial long-term investment to keep their data secure, customers safe, and operations activities.