Cyber protection where your small or mid-sized business needs it most - TechCentral

Cyber protection where your small or mid-sized business needs it most

A cyberattack can cripple your business. You need the ability to assess your IT vulnerabilities and harden your system — at a price point that suits your operating expenses.

South Africa ranks sixth in the world in the Global Cyber Exposure Index. While many enterprises are targets for cyberattacks, the reality is that small and medium businesses (SMBs) are under threat, too.

Data is the new gold, and the result is a multitrillion-dollar industry as cyberattackers hold businesses to ransom, shutting them out of their systems and mining and selling their data. The 2019 Cybersecurity Ventures Official Annual Cybercrime Report estimates that cyberattacks will likely cost the world in excess of US$6-trillion by 2021.

For SMBs, who will also be affected by cybercrime, the danger is three-fold. First, being shut out from your e-mails, customer information and applications makes it almost impossible to operate. The cost of even a few hours of downtime can be devastating for a small or mid-sized business.

Second, ransomware doesn’t just shut your system down; your data is also held hostage. Even without paying a ransom, the cost of recovering and restoring data by using cybersecurity experts to help you can be immense in both time and rand value. Lost productivity is also added to the situation that businesses could already scarcely afford.

Finally, many SMBs are viewed as the gateway to larger enterprise-level clients. A breach in a smaller organisation can often compromise larger clients whose data has now been inadvertently exposed.

The challenge: Where is your organisation exposed, and how can you protect yourself?

According to Microsoft, in most businesses, traditional vulnerability scanning that reviews IT systems and evaluates where an organisation is most vulnerable to cyberattacks only happens periodically.

This leaves organisations with security blind spots between scans. Cyber-threats are constantly evolving, and IT systems and applications, and how employees use them, are also always changing.

Besides, a one-size-fits-all approach that traditional security solutions typically use ignores the individual organisation’s critical, business-specific context, as well as the dynamic threat landscape.

The solution: System hardening with Microsoft 365

System hardening is the process of securing an IT system by ensuring that all known security “vulnerabilities” are either eliminated or mitigated.

Remember, attackers are continuously trying to exploit systems for malicious reasons. They’re not there to play nice — they’re there to do your business harm. A hardened system means your business’s specific vulnerabilities have been assessed, and threats are being mitigated as far as possible.

The challenge is that system hardening is not a once-off exercise. Vulnerability management and maintaining a hardened system are inseparably linked to proper change management. This means that any configuration changes, whether through patching or other system maintenance, can introduce vulnerabilities to the entire system.

However, when you activate the advanced security benefits of Microsoft 365 that suit your organisation’s specific needs, you can protect your employees, data and customer information against malware, even when your company data is accessed from your employees’ personal devices.

SMBs and cyber-threat protection

The 2018 State of SMB Cybersecurity Report revealed that internationally, a large percentage of SMBs are concerned about their ability to keep their data safe and protect their businesses from cyberattacks. In fact, 71% of SMBs feel vulnerable to a cyberattack, and up to 87% of organisations have already experienced a breach.

Despite these concerns, only 41% of SMBs say they can remove data from a lost or stolen device remotely, and only half said they use e-mail encryption — two capabilities considered essential by larger enterprises. The problem is that many SMBs believe they lack the expertise to implement sophisticated IT solutions, which are unaffordable and too complicated in their view.

But there is a solution: Microsoft 365 Business is built for SMBs. With best-in-class services designed for small and mid-sized businesses, you get enterprise-grade protection without the need for an enterprise-sized IT department.

With a hacker attack happening somewhere every 39 seconds, you need reliable, tested protection for your digital environment. The Microsoft 365 and Office 365 collection of threat-protection technologies help protect against and provide visibility on spam, malware, viruses, phishing attempts, malicious links and other threats.

The result is a business that is protected against:

1. Phishing and ransomware
Cybercriminals use phishing and ransomware attacks to get people to download viruses and malware or unwittingly give out sensitive information. These attacks can cause significant issues for a business, ranging from loss of customer trust to financial woes.

Microsoft 365 Business bolsters your defences against phishing, malware and viruses with sophisticated scanning of attachments and AI-powered analysis to detect and discard dangerous messages; automatic checks of links in e-mail to assess if they are part of a phishing scheme and prevent users from accessing unsafe websites; and device protection to prevent devices from interacting with ransomware and other malicious Web locations.

2. Unintentional leaks of business data
Like most SMBs, your business handles sensitive information, from ID numbers to banking details. Preventing accidental leaks of these types of confidential information can be a challenge, despite the best efforts and good intentions of employees. Microsoft helps you protect your sensitive business data with the following:

  • Data loss prevention policies to identify, monitor, and protect confidential information.
  • Information protection in Outlook to let you and your employees manage access to sensitive data in e-mails. For example, you can set encryption rules to prevent an email from being forwarded, copied or pasted into other programs. You can also enable e-mail archiving and preservation policies to help ensure data is correctly retained with continuous data backups and compliance.

Protect your business today

With Microsoft 365 Business and the support of a Microsoft partner such as AVeS Cloud Secure Cyber Security, whose business is focused on safeguarding the IT of your business, your organisation can enjoy enterprise-level protection, including:

  • Protection against spam and malware in e-mail: Get enterprise-class reliability and protect against spam, malware, and known threats while maintaining access to email during and after emergencies.
  • Defence against advanced e-mail threats: Microsoft Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) helps protect against sophisticated threats hidden in e-mail attachments and links, and it provides cutting-edge defences against zero-day threats, ransomware and other advanced malware attempts. Rich reporting lets you investigate why ATP flagged a threat, and it gives you details about the users who received malicious emails and malicious links.
  • Enhanced visibility and control: Identify high-risk and abnormal Internet usage, security incidents, and evolving threats within your Office 365 environment and set up detailed anomaly-detection policies and controls with Office 365 Cloud App Security. Gain enhanced visibility into your Office 365 usage and uncover unauthorised usage of cloud apps within your organisation,
  • Rich insights into the latest cyber-threats against SMBs: Research threats from a dashboard, track phishing or malware campaigns aimed at your users, and search for threat indicators from user reports and other intelligence sources with Office 365 Threat Intelligence.

To discover where your business is most vulnerable and where to apply security hardening best practices to keep your organisation safe from cyber-threats, take your free vulnerability scan with CloudSecure, powered by AVeS Cyber Security. Click here to find out more.

About AVeS Cyber Security
AVeS Cyber Security help organisations in Southern African achieve confidence in their digital information. Following its tried and tested six-step methodology, it holistically assesses IT strategies and operations, advice both business and IT on how to align their efforts to business objectives, and implement best-practices in governing and architecting information and technology investments with less risk, more built-in efficiency and better adoption across the organisation.

About First Distribution
First Distribution is a value-added distributor of leading global brands, providing complex ICT solutions to the enterprise and SME markets. The First Distribution model is based on delivering solutions through trusted, established resellers. Its client base has been built up through a history of consistent, trustworthy service and nurturing resellers as business partners. For more information visit First Distribution.

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