Security for SMEs

The Internet has changed the world in which SMEs operate and grow their businesses. Infocomm Technology (ICT) and the Internet have become powerful platforms and an eco-system where SMEs can find solutions and opportunities to expend their business. However, the digital transformation brings along security threats and vulnerabilities that SMEs must be aware of.

Today, SMEs must understand that security threats are endless and they compromise business information and employees’ productivity. So are SMEs protecting themselves adequately? Do they know where to begin with in their ICT adoption exercise?

Data leakage through a network security breach is common and it can happen to small, medium and enterprise business. The firewall is the most basic security safeguard every business must have. The new generation of firewalls come with and array of security services bundled in to protect your internet gateway against viruses, worms, Trojan, Malware and Spyware, which come through undesirable websites such as free software programme downloads and shared programmes. Spyware creators use such malicious codes to infect users and steal their data. Phishing is another method used to acquire personal information such as passwords, bank account and credit card numbers. All these are detrimental to all businesses alike which use the Internet for communication, trading, and online banking transactions.

One other popular feature of the firewall is Content Filtering capability; to block user from distracting websites such as pornography, social networking, live-chat or online gambling. All these impede on employees’ productivity and are potential backdoors for Trojans to gain access into a network.

Everybody likes the convenience of wireless access. Having a wireless access point in the office can reduce cabling and cost, and most importantly it allows internal office users to move around conveniently between various departments. However, an unprotected wireless access is similar to an open house inviting any passer-by to walk in. Wireless security can be achieved with the correct configuration when setting up an office network. This will safeguard any internal wireless network and camouflage as one of them. Just imagine the hacker becoming an internal user and accessing the user’s laptop when he is in the midst of an internet banking transactions!

In summary, SMEs must keep up with the awareness and risk of internet security, as they leverage on technology to maximise their business potential. The principle of simplicity applies; regardless of business size, a simple, secure network can be planned and installed. Simplicity means containment of cost, necessary technical capabilities relevant to the needs of the business and finally entrusting the management of one’s network security to a reliable, competent service provider.