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Local SMEs vulnerable to cyberattacks, Cisco says

/ 05:10 AM October 15, 2021

Most small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the Philippines do not know what to do in case of a cyberattack, a lesson that more than half of them learned the hard way last year, according to Cisco.

This was one of the findings of a study entitled “Cybersecurity for SMBs: Asia Pacific Businesses Prepare for Digital Defense”, which was based on the results of a survey of 3,700 business and information technology leaders with cybersecurity responsibilities across 14 markets in Asia-Pacific, including 158 respondents from the Philippines, the technology company said.

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Almost all of the local respondents said they saw issues in their cyber defenses after they simulated a cyber attack. They were able to detect an attack, but they did not have the right technologies to block it or mitigate its impact. Moreover, 94 percent said they realized that they did not have a clear process in place on how to respond to a cyberattack.

Out of the 158, 57 percent said they got hit with a cyber attack in the past year, which came at the expense of losing important assets like company and consumer data. Out of those that had been attacked, 28 percent said it cost their business $500,000 or more in the past year, while 10 percent said it cost them at least $1 million.

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“Over the past 18 months, SMBs have leveraged technology to continue to operate and serve their customers even as they tackled the implications of the pandemic. This has seen an acceleration in digitalization of SMBs across Philippines,” said Robin Llamas, officer in charge, managing director, Cisco Philippines.

This digital transformation, while good, also means that SMBs have become more attractive to malicious actors, which launch cyber attacks like malware and denial of service (DOS). A DOS attack essentially makes the enterprise’s website inaccessible to its users.

“In addition, digitalized SMBs generate more data, which the malicious actors put a high price on. All of this is fueling a critical need for them to invest in solutions and capabilities to ensure they are safeguarding themselves on the cybersecurity front,” he added.

Cyberattacks have tangible consequences on business. A downtime of less than an hour results in a severe disruption to their operations, 16 percent of local SMBs said. That short amount of time would already cause a severe impact on revenue, said 15 percent of the SMBs.

Moreover, a downtime that would last for one day—at a time when staying online has become akin to staying alive for businesses—would result in a permanent closure of their organization, 16 percent of the local SMBs said.

“We are living in a world where customers seek instant gratification. They no longer have the patience for lengthy downtimes. It is critical for SMBs to be able to detect, investigate and block or remediate any cyber incident in the shortest time possible,” said Juan Huat Koo, director Cybersecurity, Cisco Asean.

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TAGS: Cisco, cyberattack, small and medium businesses (SMBs)
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