When it comes to cyber security and online encryption, SMB owners need to approach it from the top down… and the bottom up.
SMBs are in a rush to acquire the latest and greatest software for online privacy and encryption to protect business data in transit, but it’s pointless having such solutions if a culture of security does not already exist in the business.
Most UK businesses rely on some form of digital communication to carry out their day-to-day operations, and on that basis, not only do they need some form of online encryption to ensure their online communications are protected – typically a VPN – but they must also educate employees on the importance of using one.
The reality is that online encryption is only as strong as its weakest link, and the weakest link is often a business’ employees. If employees don’t actively use or understand the business prescribed encryption software when transferring critical business data over untrusted networks, what good is it?
When you consider that the WannaCry attack cost the NHS approximately £180,000 and could have been prevented if it had ‘acted on critical alerts from NHS Digital’, as well as a warning from the Department of Health and the Cabinet Office in 2014 to ‘patch or migrate away from vulnerable older software’ you will appreciate just how important it is that an encryption culture is ingrained within your business and your employees.
The ongoing cultural neglect of security
Historically for SMBs, online security has always been managed by the business owner or in-house IT administrator. If there were any software, online security or encryption issues, employees would raise a ticket and wait for a response.
In those days, the only time employees actually took online security into their own hands was when they installed mandatory system updates (some employees still “forget” to install them), and even though it was managed by the business owner or IT administrator, it was never considered to be a main business priority.
Creating a culture of security
To build an online encryption culture, start by assigning responsibility to influential individuals and stakeholders in the business; people who work closely with employees and communicate with them regularly. The idea is that these individuals lead by example and explain to employees that there are certain online security policies that need to be followed and tools to be used.
At the same time, enlist the help of IT experts and specialists to come in and regularly educate employees on IT security and best practice. These experts can conduct workshops and assessments to get employees thinking about online security risks and how best to respond. Gradually, everyone in the business becomes aware of your business’ practices in relation to online security and how best to respond to threats. With better cyber security understanding, employees will be less likely to ignore or delete security emails, pop ups or warnings. Getting employees to think about and discuss security, and work together to find a solution, will reinforce the importance of the security culture.
Use the right software
Last but not least, acquire the right software for your business. In response to the growing threat of cyber attacks, many business owners have jumped head first into the market looking for the most feature-rich solution, rather than solutions that will facilitate their business’ needs right now – and in the future.
But when it comes to online encryption, most of the solutions on the market are not built specifically for SMBs and as a result, business owners must either try to expand a consumer-grade solution to deliver the functionalities required, or configure a complex enterprise-grade solution and manage it on a weekly basis – difficult to manage without a dedicated IT department.
This problem is precisely why SMB owners believe that online security and encryption is a time-consuming and resource-intensive affair that affects productivity and flexibility: the available solutions don’t meet their business’ needs!
Privatise Online Encryption, however, is designed and engineered specifically for SMBs and comes without the complexity associated with configuring enterprise-grade privacy solutions or expanding consumer-grade solutions.
Privatise Online Encryption provides everything you need to ensure robust data privacy and security. The software runs automatically in the background, without modification or change, to meet your business’ needs. Every device added to the solution can be managed through a single, centralised portal; and authentication of authorised devices is automatic, meaning employees don’t have to remember usernames or passwords.
Privatise Online Encryption provides a flexible, scalable and always-on online encryption solution – and when combined with good practices and security policies, will add further protection to your business’ online security programme.
If you want to find out more about the software and how it can empower your business’ online encryption, click here.
For more information about the overwhelming challenges associated with deploying and managing the complex, multi-tiered security models that are required to safeguard your small business against cyber security attacks, download our eBook.
Privatise’s business VPN solution is the first internet privacy protection tool developed specifically to meet the practical needs of small and medium businesses.