Cyber attacks and cyber threats to companies have become a key issue, and national and international regulations related to cybersecurity are becoming increasingly stringent. Large companies have recently begun to incorporate dedicated departments and staff specialised in the prevention and management of cyber risks. But micro-enterprises, freelancers and SMEs still ignore or neglect IT security all too often. Yet according to the latest findings, these are precisely the preferred targets of cyber criminals.

Micro-enterprises and freelancers in the cross-hairs of cyber attacks.

The average profitability of cyber attacks has now shifted – also as a consequence of the war between Russia and Ukraine and its international socio-political consequences – towards sole proprietorships and small/medium-sized enterprises. Indeed, these subjects are generally easy to target with easily circumvented defences, more likely to pay expensive ransoms, and often have extremely valuable data, for example inadequately protected patents.

In short, minimum expense, maximum yield.

It is cheaper and more profitable for hackers and cyber criminal organisations to plan attacks against these types of companies. That’s why it’s crucial these subjects also protect themselves and are able to counteract a steadily growing trend.

Unfortunately, the outlook is not optimistic: according to a recent survey by PurpleSec, around 70% of sole proprietorships, freelancers and micro-enterprises are not adequately informed and equipped to manage their company’s IT security, with scarce budget available to protect themselves and prevent loss of data and turnover. While it’s true that SMEs have recently had access to numerous European and governmental funds for adapting to cybersecurity and GDPR regulations, the large number of micro-enterprises (companies with fewer than ten employees and an annual turnover less than €2 million) and sole proprietorships (artisans and freelancers) are still left in jeopardy.

Five tips for managing cybersecurity in companies and professions without IT departments and staff

If you’re reading this article, you’re likely a freelancer or the owner of a small/medium-sized company seeking solutions to prevent computer risks and the loss of vital data. We at Boolebox have always been very clear about the problems faced on a daily basis and are aware that the issue is both broad and complex. We are therefore at your disposal to help with specific and customised advice. Meanwhile, in this article we will try to show you the five most important steps to structure your company or business so that it can be considered safe and secure.

1. Secure passwords and two-factor authentication.

How often have you gone to an office and seen printed sheets filled with usernames and passwords hanging on the walls or next to computer screens? And how often are passwords to company PCs or emails still dates of birth and other readily available information? Indeed, the time has come for a change.

E-mail accounts, access to PCs, business tools and CRM, access to cloud services: everything must absolutely be carefully protected by secure, inaccessible passwords. We therefore recommend purchasing a password manager that you and all your employees can use. For example, our Secure Password generates secure passwords, synchronises on PCs, Android and iPhones, manages and organises all your passwords with various access levels and grants access via two-factor authentication.

2. Be careful with cloud services: opt for encryption. 

Physical archives have now effectively been replaced by digital archives (cloud), accessible from different locations and devices. They are convenient and indispensable, but also highly exposed to risks of data loss and cyber attacks. It is therefore essential to have cloud services that guarantee data encryption and maximum protection at every level. To meet this need, we at Boolebox have developed Secure File Manager, a comprehensive tool covered by military-grade encryption.

3. Secure e-mails and encrypted communication.

One of the most widespread vulnerabilities lies in sending e-mails, with the exchange of data (in the text of e-mails or in attachments) that is often confidential. Make sure you have encryption and protection systems for all company e-mail accounts. At Boolebox we have designed Secure E-mail: a specific, truly intuitive platform. Alternatively, we offer encryption solutions for Outlook and Gmail.

4. Advanced protection of company PCs.

Up to this point, we have discussed security for accounts and web applications. However, physical devices must also be equipped with advanced protection. In the event of theft or loss, company PCs and telephones must guarantee inaccessibility to confidential and private data. For example, we at Boolebox have developed an application (File Encryptor for Windows) that allows to apply the security and encryption logic of all our other solutions to folders and files on PCs and network folders.

5. Information and training.

Keeping abreast of new IT challenges and technological evolutions with regard to security is crucial to ensure your company’s continuous, up-to-date protection. Likewise, it is important to educate yourself – and educate your staff – to prevent and recognise risks and threats. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive news, updates and lots of useful tips to help you untangle this complex but decidedly interesting world.

Structuring a company to ward off all kinds of cyber threats is indeed complicated, but we hope we have given you some initial advice on how to do this and begin to better protect your company or business. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need more information or you’d like to try out our applications with a free trial.