Microsoft proposes cybersecurity actions for small businesses

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    MORE than half of organizations in the Philippines have either experienced a cybersecurity incident or are not sure if they had one as they have not performed proper actions or data breach assessment.

    This was revealed in a study by Frost & Sullivan commissioned by Microsoft. As Filipinos’ are getting increasingly Internet-savvy, compromises on cybersecurity and data protection also rise. Keeping digital assets safe must be a top priority for small to medium enterprises as much as it is for big enterprises.

    Ninety nine percent of the nearly 1 million registered businesses in the Philippines are considered micro and small enterprises. These SMEs employ less than 100 workers and have assets of P15M or less, excluding value of land if they own the property they work in. Oftentimes, properties are leased or rented.

    The exponential growth of SMEs over the years, calls for a rapid adaption to digital transformation, while simultaneously putting in place cybersecurity practices that would protect businesses along the way.

    October was National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in the Philippines.

    To celebrate it, Microsoft shared valuable tips that would allow SMEs to recognize the dangers and risks of cyberattacks and help organizations better prepare for data breaches. Below are some of the best practices that one’s company can consider in improving its defense against cybersecurity threats:

    Phishing threats. It takes a hacker only 4 minutes long to get into a network and 99 days for businesses to discover that they’ve been breached. Refrain from opening suggested links or never reveal confidential information unless you are certain that the person you are talking to is genuine. Even when you know the person asking, gauge if they are entitled to sensitive information about yourself.

    Strong password needed. Customize your password by making your password longer or more complex. Strong and complex passwords should include a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters which makes it harder to guess and harder to crack.
    Password protect everything. It is important for all, and that includes all employees’ phones, laptops, tablets, and files, to set up their accounts with the multi-factor authentication for added security. Multi-factor authentication is a security system that verifies a user’s identity by requiring multiple credentials such as, code from the user’s smartphone, answering security questions, a fingerprint or facial recognition.

    Keep your data safe in the Cloud. No one likes to lose their data. Back-up all your files to keep and transfer everything behind firewalls into the cloud. Patch everything and keep your systems up to date.

    Plan for the worst. Every small business owner can put an affordable, actionable plan in place to mitigate risk to save time and money. Prevention is just as important as a response plan. Develop action plans with your staff in case something goes wrong.

    Microsoft recommends that all organizations be in a continuous state of compliance. These practices should not just be tool-sets but also a training employees but need a continuous investment in good technology solutions and hardware. Leverage technology advancements by acquiring top-quality protection and not underestimating cyberthreats.

    Investing in digital tools is one thing and applying these best practices is another.

    Filipino SMEs must realize the need to be aware of all potential cyberthreats and the steps to prevent them. It is never too late to safeguard their businesses accordingly and further grow the company to its full potential without any fear and doubts along the way.

    “It is imperative for small to medium enterprises to embrace 21st-century technology in order to survive in the competitive business landscape today. We, at Microsoft, are committed not only to bring these organizations the right solutions but also the best cybersecurity tips and practices one should take note of when running a business,” Microsoft Country Manager, Andres Ortola said.