What SMEs and startups should do to ensure they are not soft targets for cyber threats

India has the third largest start up ecosystem in the world, and industry reports suggest that it will double up to cross the one lakh mark in the next few years. The country is also home to around 3.36 lakh Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which account for significant employment generation. According to the SME Chamber of India, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises account for a considerable 37.54 percent of GDP.

India’s startups and SME network are crucial to its aim of reaching the $5 trillion economy target. However, SMEs and startups are prone to several problems; the most prominent are ubiquitous cyber threats. 

SMEs and startups operate on a low scale with limited means, and do not have the resources to bear the loss of even a single day of work. However, the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t allow them to prepare for the ensuing remote and hybrid work culture.

They rushed through the transition to opt for mechanisms that could ensure the flow of productivity. And more often than not, they chose to ignore the essential security precautions taken by larger enterprises. The result was that several organisations became prone to cyber threats.

There are several downsides to cyber attacks. While the company incurs upfront financial losses, they also lose business and reputation. In addition to this, they have to face lawsuits and regulatory penalties as an implication of the breach. Most cybercrimes result in the loss of sensitive data, making it pertinent for the authorities to take action against the organisation.

Increasing cases of data breaches and cyber attacks

SMEs and startups readily embraced digital transformation over the last one and half years as it opened up new avenues for businesses, but it has also created opportunities for cybercriminals to target their weak or non-existent cybersecurity infrastructure.

According to an industry estimate, India is now second in global ransomware payouts in cyberattacks. The coronavirus pandemic emerged as the biggest challenge for businesses and IT organisations in 2020.

Amid the pandemic, the volume and sophistication of cyber threats and data breaches grew at a rapid pace and the biggest victim of these…