Securing information for SMEs: A practical approach

Information security is not just something large companies must deal with. SMEs are increasingly experiencing threats to their digital assets. In this article, we look at how small and medium-sized businesses can strengthen their information security with limited resources and focus on practical measures relevant to their situation.

Risk understanding

The first step a business needs to take is to understand what risks it faces regarding information security. This can include threats such as phishing, ransomware, and unauthorised access to sensitive data. To understand the risks associated with these types of threats, one must map which data is critical and where it resides. A good approach is to start with the company's processes and then map which ICT solutions that support these. We call this a valuation process. Once you have identified the values, you need to understand what can happen to the data and how it can happen. One must identify the risks and then prioritise the risks based on the consequences. By identifying and understanding these risks, SMEs can take targeted steps to protect themselves.

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Implementation of basic security measures

Even with limited resources, small and medium-sized businesses can implement basic security measures that have a great impact. This can include regularly backing up data, using password management services to secure strong passwords, and educating employees about common cybersecurity risks and best practices. That is why frameworks such as NSM's basic principles are so important because they provide a recipe for what measures to introduce that provide great value in terms of effort.

Set requirements for your service provider

Many SMEs rely on external IT service providers to manage and maintain their IT infrastructure. Outsourcing IT operations can provide a false sense of security if you aren’t aware of the division of responsibility between the operating supplier and the customer. The Nordlo case established the service provider doesn’t have overall responsibility for information security. It’s the customer himself. A company is thus responsible for understanding its most important ICT risks and identifying what measures it should have in place to secure its company "adequately". Set suitable requirements for your operating supplier and work systematically to follow up on the measures you agree on. There is an enormous amount of expertise on the part of the operating suppliers if you use this expertise correctly and have a good framework for discussing and following up, for example, NSM's basic principles.

Continuous monitoring and adaptation

Information security is a continuous process and not a one-time activity. Establish routines for regularly monitoring systems and data and adapt security measures in line with changes in the threat landscape and technological developments.

Invest in training and awareness

An important part of information security is raising awareness among employees. All businesses should invest in training and information campaigns to raise awareness of cybersecurity threats and how to identify and deal with them.  

By following these guidelines, SMEs can also take control of their information security and minimise the risk of cyber-attacks. Keep in mind that even small measures can have a great impact when protecting your company's valuable data and reputation. There is also no doubt that a good safety culture and the ability to document how to work with safety will be a significant competitive advantage.

Cyber Security
Risk Assessment