The importance of information security for SMEs
Today, it is also unthinkable for SMEs to function without information technology or access to the internet, let alone remain competitive with the larger companies and multinationals that are firmly committed to digital innovation in a world where products and services must be available faster and continuously via the digital highway.
There are many benefits, but also risks, associated with information technology. For example, hackers, competitors and malicious employees can damage your business in many ways.
For example, one can:
- steal your information and lose a competitive advantage.
- leak your information, harming your reputation and possibly also causing you to be investigated by a supervisor (e.g. data protection authority), resulting in fines.
- encrypt your data (ransomware).
- cause your website/systems to fail, thus compromising business continuity.
The likelihood, impact and visibility of information security incidents have only increased in recent years. In addition, SMEs run a higher risk as they have less IT budget, staff and expertise than larger companies.
Moreover, the importance of the right expertise is continuously increasing due to the increasing complexity of the IT and information security landscape.
Cybercriminals are all too aware that smaller companies are highly dependent on their information (resources) and are less secure and therefore often focus their attention on these ‘easy preys’. This was confirmed, among other things, by a Symantec study which showed that 60% of cyber attacks were targeted at SMEs.
On the other hand, SMEs (wrongly) see themselves as unattractive targets for cyber attacks and consider the chance of ever being a victim as (very) low. As a result, SMEs continue to invest structurally too little in information security.
They often only start investing after they have been the victim of a cyber incident. As is often the case, prevention is better than recovery and a number of targeted interventions can greatly reduce the probability and impact of incidents.