By Marcus Leach

Following the huge success of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards we caught up with Kirill Slavin, MD at Kaspersky Lab, one of the event sponsors.

What risks do SMBs and startups face if they fail to proactively address online security threats?

There are four major risks for SMBs and start-ups in cyber space:
• Loss of customers’ personal data
• Breach of the bank-client transaction security, potentially leading to the money held in the bank being stolen
• Damage to reputation, leading to a lack of customer trust
• Infringement of intellectual property rights
The latter is especially important for IP-intensive businesses as their intellectual property might not just be misappropriated but also become an easy target for patent trolls’ litigation.

What business assets do cybercriminals target?

Cybercriminals normally target the low hanging fruit – money in the bank or the customer’s data, which, at the end of the day, is also about the money in the bank. However, in the case of particularly precious intellectual property rights, the business’ network might be subject to a targeted cyber-attack.

If an SMB is a victim of a cyber-attack, what impact does it have on its supply chain?

If a small or mid-sized business suffers a cyber-attack, its reputation within a major supply chain might be at risk. For example, if a farm supplies produce to a supermarket chain and its cyber security defences have been breached, it could affect the supply chain as a whole, which would make the buyer question their use of the farm as a supplier.

A small company can also be used as a stepping-stone to reach a larger organisation. If, for example, one company manufactures a small component for a large company, they may well have access to some of the larger company’s designs (or other intellectual property) or even have access to part of its network. We recently saw damaging proof of this in the notorious Icefog campaign, which saw targeted attackers going after the supply chain in short hit-and-run attacks.

How can SMBs best protect against cyber-attacks?

To protect themselves against cyber-attacks, businesses don’t need to reinvent the wheel. First it is imperative that they do a risk assessment, asking themselves why someone would attack the business, how they would go about it, what the effect would be of an attack and how would they mitigate these effects. There are then simple solutions to keeping a business secure, including investing in antivirus software, encryption, firewalls and email and web monitoring and management.

How does Kaspersky Lab help SMBs guard against online security threats?

Kaspersky Lab offers a range of products for different needs. Kaspersky Small Office Security has been built specifically for businesses with fewer than 25 employees. This solution includes new features that help small businesses stay ahead of modern security challenges, and includes Kaspersky Lab’s latest anti-malware technologies in an easy-to-use product that doesn’t require business owners to be IT experts.

Kaspersky Small Office Security includes the following protective technology:
• Kaspersky’s Safe Money, which protects businesses when online banking.
• Support for Android tablets and smartphones, equipping these devices with an array of anti-malware, web browsing protection, and privacy controls.
• Automatic Exploit Prevention, which prevents cybercriminals from using emerging vulnerabilities in legitimate software to launch malware attacks.
• Password Manager to ensure employees follow best practice when it comes to secure log-in.
• Online Backup, which automatically saves businesses’ critical data securely in the cloud or to a local hard drive or server.