Today’s economy is more connected than ever before. With continued innovations in cloud-based technologies and digital transformation in businesses, there are more opportunities for connectivity and collaboration in organizations of all sizes. Adopting digital tools can have a significant impact on small business productivity, as automated solutions can free up employees from tedious and time-consuming tasks, so they can focus on helping the business grow. While these tools improve our work experience, they also increase susceptibility to cybercrime.
According to Canada’s Department of Finance, Canada has more computers per capita than any other country (129 devices per 100 people) and Canadians are the heaviest internet users in the world, spending more than 40 hours online per person, per month. This leaves Canadians as prime targets for cyberattacks.
When looking at businesses, the same government report states that about 70 per cent of Canadian businesses have been victims of cyberattacks with an average cost of $15,000 per incident. That’s almost three-quarters of all Canadian businesses.
For small businesses especially, an unexpected cost like this can be detrimental to their bottom line. But SMBs don’t have to go it alone. Now more than ever, there are tools available to help small businesses detect vulnerabilities and improve their cybersecurity preparedness.
Be aware of the risks
The first step to mitigating these risks is to be aware of and monitor how the technology landscape is changing. For small businesses exploring the latest tools to adopt, it’s important to consider how things like Internet of Things (IoT) devices and cloud-based solutions are more vulnerable to cyberattack, by virtue of the fact that they are more connected. It’s important to understand the potential vulnerabilities so small businesses can make informed decisions about the vendors they select, such as choosing ones that have cybersecurity built into the product or solution from the beginning.
And while technology has, in some cases, made cyberattacks more sophisticated, simple attacks are still commonplace. For example, invoice phishing – when cybercriminals send fraudulent invoices in the hopes that a company will pay them out – is still a frequent occurrence. Having solutions that can detect patterns and irregularities in invoices can help spot these invoices before they get paid out, preventing businesses from becoming a victim to these schemes.
Controlling the risks
Small businesses can mitigate risk by making sure they are using the latest technologies with up-to-date protections. Older systems often have little to no protection, so sensitive information such as a company’s finances can easily be accessed by hackers.
Small businesses should look for the latest solutions that provide protections for cybersecurity and fraud. Tools like SAP Concur, that automate expense and invoice processes for greater visibility and transparency, can help identify anomalies and protect against expense and invoice fraud. In addition, making sure devices are updated with the latest security software to detect malware, are password protected and require a VPN to access a company’s server on external networks are important steps to prevent cyberattacks.
According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, organizations with anti-fraud safeguards detect fraud up to 50 per cent faster than those without. Small business owners need to research and select the right solutions that will work for their organizations.
Stay ahead of threats
Canada’s Department of Finance indicates the current global market for cybersecurity products and services is expected to increase to over $170 billion by 2020. In this growing market, there are many opportunities for small businesses to find the right products and solutions that fit and can scale with their security needs.
Every small business should have a proactive plan in place to protect itself against cybercrime by harnessing the tools technology has to offer. Cybersecurity preparedness is one of the most important investments for a business, and in today’s technology landscape, it’s a necessity.
By Brian Veloso, Senior Director, SAP Concur Canada.