Set and protect. A cybersecurity road map for small and home offices

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In the evolving world of cyberthreats, small and home offices share a single need: a reliable security solution.

If you’re leading a small office, you are likely no stranger to working 12 hours a day. It might even feel like 24/7, doing taxes, communicating with clients, and marketing your business on social media platforms.

You likely have also personally installed a firewall on your laptop, but still, one day, you find out that your bank account got breached or your business data has been compromised. This might mean losing money or the trust of your clients, and it definitely means losing precious time to put the wheels back on your business.

Today, basic protection doesn’t just mean having a firewall; it requires endpoint security with scanning tools, a password manager, and data encryption. Simply put, many businesses who invested into separate products over time to address basic risks just aren’t equipped to handle today’s threats.

Try ESET Small Business Security! 

This is the reality for a massive number of small offices/home offices around the world that face growing risks from digital threats.1 For example, 31% of businesses with fewer than 10 employees surveyed in the UK during the winter of 2022-2023 experienced a cyber-attack or a security breach. To understand the full scope of the situation, there are 5.28 million such businesses in the UK.

These cyberthreats leave users facing a diversity of complex security challenges – challenges for which individual solutions like firewalls, well-suited to block malicious traffic, are simply not built to counter. Today’s online tools and business processes require cybersecurity solutions that layer multiple advanced technologies for detection, browsing protection, anti-phishing, and botnet protection, as well as exploitation, ransomware, and network protections supported by artificial intelligence and machine learning to stop threats.

The backbone of the economy makes for an interesting target

The small offices and home offices discussed in this blog are tiny when taken individually, but collectively, they comprise a massive workforce. For example, according to the latest data gathered back in 2019, 78.5% of U.S. businesses had 1-9 employees.

The situation is similar elsewhere. Businesses with 1-9 employees make up 74.1% of Canadian businesses and 82% of all UK businesses.  

This makes these small offices/home offices sit nicely in the sweet spot user group for ESET’s Small Business Security offering; they’re the second largest source of wealth, right behind home equity. This also means that this group is substantial enough to factor into cybercriminal campaigning and simultaneously poses easy targets even for what have become common risks like simple password spraying attacks.

These businesses are often easy targets for cybercriminals because:

What threats are out there?

The complexity and scale of these threats are global, but let’s take Australian farmers as an example. In the first half of 2022, farmers fell victim to a series of cyberattacks with an accumulated loss of AUD 1.2 million (USD 792,026).

Some of those farmers fell victim to fake livestock sellers on Facebook or phishing websites pretending to sell machinery, while in reality, farmers were sending money for nothing.

Here are some of the most common attacks threatening small offices and home offices:

  • (Banking) Data breaches – Losing sensitive data, especially banking and payment information, is the most feared cyberattack among small offices/home offices participating in an ESET internal survey. This can often happen due to phishing or an account breach.
  • Compromised personal devices – Attackers can abuse employees’ personal devices to compromise business systems. According to the Samsung 2023 survey, 48% of organizations with a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy witnessed malware introduced through an employee’s personal phone.
  • Physical theft – Almost 60% of small offices/home offices participating in an ESET internal survey expressed concerns about lost devices and data. Over 2 million laptops are reported stolen each year in the U.S., with the associated data losses estimated at over $7 billion.

Setting up defenses

Such a long list of threats can be a headache considering how much should be done to protect your business: backing up your data, protecting servers, having a good password policy ideally combined with MFA, installing endpoint protection on all your devices, an anti-theft solution, and taking cybersecurity awareness training to identify common red flags for prevalent scams.

However, alongside their normal duties and responsibilities, it is quite understandable that small offices/home offices don’t find time to worry about cyberattacks. And trying to deal with all these threats by setting up a VPN, password manager, firewall, mobile security solution, data encryption, and banking protection in a piecemeal fashion is unsustainable.

Some of those businesses openly admit this: “We’re a small company. The biggest issue is trying to survive on a week-by-week basis. We can’t afford to allocate sums to cybersecurity. I’ll spend it as and when I have it, or when I need to,” said a participating managing director surveyed by the UK Department for Science, Innovation & Technology in 2023.

But there is a better way. Digital security doesn’t have to mean a long and complicated shopping list composed of individual cyber defenses. You can get one affordable subscription that covers them all.

ESET Small Business Security presents an all-in-one solution coming with ESET HOME as the complete security management platform and support that won a 2023 SC Award for delivering best-in-class customer support and services.

ESET Small Business Security offers:

  • Reliable, easy-to-use security, with a minimum system footprint
  • Multi-OS protection including Windows, Android, MacOS, and Windows Server
  • Safe Banking
  • Safe Browsing
  • Password Manager
  • VPN
  • Ransomware Shield
  • Anti-Theft
  • Botnet Protection
  • Network Inspector
  • Safe Server – The protection of company and customer data stored on a file server running on Windows Server operating system; it also automatically scans all inserted USB flash drives, memory cards, and CDs/DVDs
  • Support for 5 up to 25 devices

Let someone else put in the effort

Considering the previously mentioned surveys, it is safe to say that globally, millions of small offices/home offices fall victim to cybercrime every year. And it looks like some of those people just accept their fate. The truth is that when businesses put effort into cybersecurity, it is rarely ever appreciated. However, when something goes wrong, that failure is always criticized.

However, there is a way to mitigate those cyber risks without spending too much time and money. ESET can put in the effort instead of you with its reliable and multilayered functionalities all packed in one solution. Simple, isn’t it?

1 Small office/home office, defined by ESET as businesses with 5 up to 25 devices.