Cybersecurity proving crucial for SMEs in remote working era

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COVID-19 and remote working have highlighted several inefficiencies in the ways that businesses have prepared their employees. While access to technology and necessary tools/services is one aspect, another glaring one is cybersecurity.

Since lockdown began a few months ago, South Africa in particular has seen a surge in the number of cyberattacks, with those employees working from home being targeted specifically by attackers.

According to Sabine Dedering, regional sales director at Dell Technologies South Africa, it highlights the precarious position that SMEs and those in smaller organisations now have to contend with given their constrained IT budgets. 

“At a time when many medium businesses are looking to curb expenditure and baton down the hatches for an impending economic shock, one area that cannot afford to be skimped on is security,” Dedering point out.

“Moreover, cybersecurity strategies need to be adapted at speed to the new ways of working in order to protect businesses. For smaller and medium businesses with less cash flow to buffer a cyber-attack, it could be disastrous,” she adds.

As the sales director explains, those in SMEs are being disproportionately targeted, and as such need to have all stakeholders involved in the process of securing the business. Unlike larger corporations that can afford to have in-house specialists tackle them kinds of issues, every individual in an SME has to become cybersecurity savvy.

“Apart from a lack of awareness putting smaller businesses at risk, the larger businesses that may rely on their goods and services also risk being exposed – creating both reputational as well as financial consequences. This is a critical consideration for any company, large and small, as some local companies already have experienced,” she highlights.

“Security is a collaborative effort, requiring all stakeholders to be aligned, alert and prepared to take the appropriate action in the event of an attack,” says Dedering.

The sales director advocates for ensuring the SME’s workforce has a good understanding of cybersecurity essentials as a key part of its strategy, along with developing an appropriate instant response plan.

“This includes being aware and having a plan for many different threats, including internal or insider damage to data,” she adds.

In her opinion, this can be handled by an effective cyber recovery solution. This solution would normally include a secure digital vault that is disconnected from the network via an automated air gap and stores all critical data off-network to isolate it from attack.

“This promotes business resiliency, provides assurance following extreme data loss or destruction and includes both business and technology configuration data to enable rapid recovery of the environment and resumption of normal business operations. This is true for any customer, any industry, size, region or workload,” according to Dedering.

Here the sales director points to the expertise of Dell Technologies, which has trusted advisors to share a clear security roadmap for businesses to follow.

“Dell Technologies’ security experts help to tailor cyber strategies to businesses, providing a threat intelligence network using AI technologies, while ensuring the ecosystem of partners is covered. Medium businesses are not alone – but they do need to act,” she adds.

While every SME is not able to utilise the services of a Dell Technologies to tighten up its cybersecurity, the necessities outlined by Dedering remain.

In the remote working era, security has become an imperative that every member of the organisation, big or small, should be aware of, and where possible, it’s best to leverage the knowledge of industry experts.

[Image – Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.