Data breaches becoming more common – Cybersecurity needs to be top priority

Another day, another data breach. South African businesses are becoming more susceptible to cyberattacks and seem to be easy targets for criminals. Data breaches are now a common phenomenon with Nedbank, Momentum, Lombard Insurance, Experian and Stefanutti Stocks making headline news in the last few weeks and months.

According to Cybersecurity expert and J2 Software CEO John Mc Loughlin, cyber-attacks are not new. “There has been an ongoing spike in cyberattacks that continues grow from year to year, it is only recently that businesses are being exposed in the media.”

He points out that these publicly known breaches are only the tip of the iceberg. Cyber criminals are successfully infiltrating and taking down systems on a daily basis. Until businesses take proper action, one can expect a continued increase of successful attacks.

Many small businesses assume they are too small to be attacked, but the truth is – businesses of all sizes are targets, especially since the Covid pandemic. As a result of the lockdown, many businesses had to unexpectedly fast-track their digital transformation journey to survive. “Limited experience in adopting new technology and its security, along with the massive shift to remote working due to lockdown, has made SMEs vulnerable to an increased threat of cyberattacks,” Elaine Wang, Cloud and Software Solutions Director of Rectron indicates.

“A cyberattack on an SME will often have a devastating effect and possibly mean the end for them. More and more SME’s are targeted because they are often easier to access because little or no attention is given to cyber security,” Mc Loughlin says. “Furthermore, poor advice and lack of understanding means that a small business will have a false sense of security with only the free anti-virus software between them and a cyberattack. Many SMEs do business with larger businesses and this is another reason that the SME is a very valuable target for cybercriminals.”

According to Wang one of the most effective cybersecurity strategies is to conduct regular and on-going awareness training to ensure employees can identify and avoid risky online behaviour. “Companies should also routinely perform software upgrades to ensure that the latest security patches are rolled out across the entire organisation, as these include security updates. For those small businesses without an IT division, partnering with a reseller that provides this service is an easy solution,” she advises.

Click here to view more cost-effective tips to help SMEs improve cybersecurity.

Click here to read the opinion piece by Cybersecurity expert and J2 Software CEO John Mc Loughlin.

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