Supply chain attacks: No more budget excuses and procrastination—small and medium-sized enterprises can become zero-sized tomorrow—unless these critical cyber tips are heeded.

Supply chain attacks are not new. Unfortunately, when such attacks hit smaller businesses that in turn supply the larger enterprises, the impact is especially prohibitive.

For small- and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) already feeling the prolonged impact of the pandemic, the added pressure of dealing with sophisticated and frequent cyberattacks in real time is a heavy burden. It is now more important than ever for them to implement strict security hygiene and effective cybersecurity processes.

Due to a common lack of budget and cyber expertise SMEs often do not have a dedicated IT or security department. Adding to this, SMEs usually have employees performing multiple roles, thereby having wider access to valuable areas of the business: compromise their credentials and they pose a threat to multiple areas within the organization. In addition, the SME’s IT infrastructure is often shared for personal use communication as well, such as social media messages and personal emails.

How SMEs can prevent supply chain attacks

The key factor to preventing cyberattacks is threat prevention. With minimal time and lack of cyber expertise or manpower, SMEs must adopt a prevention mindset to minimize cyber risks and threats. 

Bear this in mind: budgetary constraints to keep computers and corporate networks protected should never be an excuse, as keeping sensitive data and information protected offers many advantages and benefits. This can range from overall cost savings, compliance with data protection laws, gaining of customers’ and suppliers’ trust, and the protection of sensitive data that can make or break the organization if leaked.

By applying stronger cyber defenses, SMEs are in a position to provide larger organizations with assurance that larger firms they supply to will not be compromised via the supply chain. While there are multiple means to prevent supply chain attacks, the first step is to have good software capable of covering the entire organization, protecting endpoints and devices, supported by regular backups so that, in the event of a cyberattack, all compromised data can be fully restored. Furthermore:

  • Any device that connects to the network can become a security breach, so it is important to secure all endpoints.
  • It is especially critical for remote or hybrid workforces to avoid security breaches and data compromise.
  • All employees should be trained in cyber awareness so that they themselves become the first barrier to any attempted attack, such as phishing via email or SMS. Keep in mind that prevention is one of the best protection measures available. 
  • A viable option for SMEs is to consider engaging a reputable Managed Security Service Provider with the skilled resources, updated security software and experienced expertise to monitor for and analyze threats on their behalf. This is especially useful for SMEs that have neither the time nor the resources to adequately enforce threat detection and response.  

Ultimately, SMEs seek a simple plug-and-play solution with best-in-class threat protection, given their modest financial funding and skills. With the proper sense of urgency and the right cyber mindset, forward-thinking SMEs will be better placed to demonstrate their credibility as secure partners to larger organizations, opening up even more business opportunities.