How cybersecurity readiness prevents SMBs from fueling supply chain attacks –

Supply chain attacks are nothing new. If the past two years have taught businesses anything, it’s that the impact of cyberattacks on the supply chain is now universal, from the fallout from the SolarWinds software breach to the Apache Log4j vulnerability exposed and Kaseya the year last.

Unfortunately, when such supply chain attacks hit small businesses, which are usually the suppliers of large corporations, their impact is particularly prohibitive.

For SMBs already feeling the prolonged impact of the pandemic, the added pressure of dealing with frequent, sophisticated cyberattacks in real time is a heavy burden as they try to protect their business from financial, legal and reputational damage. , as well as their own suppliers. and the safety of large customers.

It is now more important than ever for SMBs to implement strict security hygiene and effective cybersecurity processes to ensure their business is prepared in the event of cyberattacks.

SMEs as an indirect vector of cyberattacks

The “new normal” has opened the door to several new vulnerabilities; Cyberattacks increased by 50% on average globally in 2021 compared to 2020. Our Check Point Threat Intelligence report found that an organization in South Africa suffered a cyberattack 1,675 times. per weekagainst 1,117 attacks per organization worldwide.

While security breaches are on the rise, the top threats affecting SMBs have remained the same. In Check Point’s 2020/2021 Small and Medium Business Security Report, we revealed that phishing, malware, credential theft, and ransomware were the top four threats affecting these businesses. So what does this mean for them?

The reality is that threat actors have taken advantage not only of the now entrenched remote working model to target organizations, but also of the usual limitations preventing SMBs from bolstering their cybersecurity defenses – primarily lack of budget and lack of resources. expertise. SMBs often don’t have a dedicated IT or security department.

With no in-house security expertise and reduced focus on security patches, these companies are easier to engineer and socially infiltrate.

In addition to this, SMEs usually have employees who perform multiple roles, and therefore wider access to valuable areas of the business and information is given to them, and therefore in the event of a breach, they pose a threat to several areas within the company. Additionally, corporate IT infrastructure is often shared for personal-use communication, such as social media and personal email, allowing easier access for hackers as the data is often insecure.

Threat actors often target SMEs as low hanging fruit due to their vital role in supply chains. This is especially true as such attacks wreak havoc not just on an organization, but on entire businesses within supply networks.

By leveraging tactics such as phishing, cybercriminals gain access to an organization to launch a malware attack, steal data and credentials, or launch ransomware.

Take for example the attack on Target USA where hackers used credentials stolen from an SMB provider that managed the HVAC systems in Target stores, to gain access to the retailer’s network and then move laterally to the systems that kept customer payment information. As a result, the global retailer was breached and 40 million credit and debit card details were stolen.

The key factor in preventing cyberattacks is threat prevention. With minimal time and lack of cybersecurity expertise or manpower, SMBs need to adopt a preventative mindset to minimize cyberattacks and potential threats.

Why cybersecurity readiness is critical for SMBs

Beyond the immediate financial impact and damage to reputation as a reliable and trustworthy partner, SMEs may also face legal or regulatory repercussions, operational disruptions, remediation costs system and a response to cyberattacks, customer attrition and loss of competitive advantage that can make or break a small business.

In fact, a tarnished reputation as a route of attack can be even more detrimental to an SME, as loss of trust with a larger organization could mean loss of business and potential revenue with them or other newcomers. potential customers. .

With this in mind, budget constraints to protect corporate computers and networks should never be an excuse, as protecting data and sensitive information will bring many advantages and benefits to businesses.

This can range from overall cost savings, compliance with data protection laws, gaining trust from customers and suppliers, to maximum protection of your documents and information by preventing any type of data breach.

How SMBs can prevent supply chain attacks

By applying stronger cyber defenses, SMBs are able to provide large organizations with assurance that the large enterprises they supply to will not be compromised via the SMB partner or third-party vendor.

While there are several ways to prevent such supply chain attacks, the first step is to have good software that can cover the entire enterprise, protecting endpoints and devices from the company, and backed up by regular backups so that in the event of a cyberattack, they have the ability to restore all data.

Any device that connects to the network can become a security hole, so it’s important to secure all endpoints.

Avoiding security breaches and data compromise is especially important for remote or hybrid workforces.

Also, all employees must be trained in cybersecurity so that they themselves become the first barrier to any attempted attack, such as phishing by email or SMS. Keep in mind that prevention is one of the best protective measures available.

A viable option for SMBs is also to consider hiring an experienced Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) who will have the skilled resources, up-to-date security software, and experienced expertise to monitor and analyze. threats on behalf of the SME actor. This is especially useful for SMBs that don’t have the time or resources to properly apply threat detection and response.

Partnering with a cybersecurity expert equipped with industry-leading security and a scalable solution such as Check Point Software can position SMBs to protect against the most sophisticated attacks and generate trust among the biggest. potential actors.

Ultimately, SMBs are looking for a simple plug-and-play solution with the best threat protection given their lack of funding and skills.

With an effective cybersecurity strategy, SMBs are in a better position to demonstrate their credibility as secure partners to larger organizations, thereby opening up more business opportunities.

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