Intelligent Issue 13 | Page 17


// TECH TRENDS // online , hackers and scammers are looking to exploit organisations ; especially those that are not adequately equipped to handle such an attack .

SMEs in particular are more vulnerable as they often face these challenges with smaller teams and new organisations might not be around storage best-practice and ongoing knowledge-sharing around how changing legislation could impact data storage for UK businesses . One option to immediately minimise risk for European businesses is to choose European providers that adhere to GDPR – rather than those that have to work under other legislation too .
By understanding the issues at play , and then exploring the solutions to the skills gaps , SMEs can take steps to ensure the business is as prepared as possible and can react effectively if a threat strikes .
How can SMEs with limited resources and budget ensure their teams are equipped with adequate cybersecurity / data protection knowledge ? fully aware of the risks that currently exist within their businesses . Cybersecurity skills shortages , as well as lack of knowledge around data protection legislation , are therefore issues that every business must pay attention to .
Why is it important that SMEs understand the issues around the IT skills gap ?
These skills gaps are leaving organisations , especially SMEs , extremely vulnerable to disruption and exploitation . Without the proper knowledge , SMEs are not able to understand where vulnerabilities may lie within their business , or how those gaps could be putting the business at risk .
For example , with many having set up new hybrid working models , this could result in more endpoint devices , such as laptops or smart phones , that haven ’ t got the right malware protection in place .
Not comprehensively understanding data protection laws can also put the business at risk through substantial fines . That ’ s why for SMEs there ’ s a vital need for education
One of the best ways to protect the business is to put in place a proactive , rather than a reactive , approach . Cybersecurity risk assessments are key to this strategy and SMEs which have not yet conducted an audit should do so . We ’ d recommend they are conducted yearly to factor in any changes across the business , like new software being used .
If businesses are unsure where to start , the UK government has resources available to help guide SMEs . The Cyber Essentials readiness toolkit gives guidance on creating a personal action plan to meet cybersecurity requirements . Following this , Cyber Essential certification schemes are also available to help ensure protection from cyber related attacks .
Additionally , those that factor cybersecurity into a wider business strategy will reap the rewards , such as investing in secure cloud services . It can feel like an added expense , but the protection and longer-term cost savings from a potential attack are worthwhile benefits .
Finally , SMEs should ensure an open dialogue with their employees to ensure cybersecurity and data protection knowledge is shared across the business – perhaps during regular training sessions , or via a company ‘ champion ’. Whether that ’ s to remind them of the basics , or to answer any new questions , it can help ensure cybersecurity and data protection best practices are front of mind , at all times . �

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