Need To Safeguard Smaller Businesses With Digital Solutions Amid the Changing Time

The onset of COVID-19 has ushered small businesses to integrate digital technology as part of their operational strategy

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In 2019, no one would have predicted that the bulk of the workforce and businesses would transition to a remote working arrangement. Time is an uncertain entity and the pandemic's arrival was unexpected, but it has ushered in much-needed digitalization and investment in digital solutions for small businesses.

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The onset of COVID-19 has ushered small businesses to integrate digital technology as part of their operational strategy. Businesses have grown accustomed to the reality of full-fledged remote working and are thriving by operating in the online sphere. As enterprises transition to the digital era, a slew of new startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses have also emerged.

As per a new report by NASSCOM and Zinnov: 'Indian Tech Start-up Ecosystem: Year of The Titans', 2021 witnessed a rise in more than 2,250 startups, which is more than 600 higher than the previous year. The startup ecosystem's total valuation increased two times from 2020 to 2021, to an estimated $320-$330 billion, illustrating the sector's growth and recovery during the pandemic. The government is also pushing for a digital inclusion agenda through its Atmanirbhar Bharat vision, which aims to create India the world's startup hub, with businesses flourishing across all industries.

While the world is pivoting towards a digitally-enabled era, the cases of cyber-attacks and security breaches have also increased drastically. As a result, SMBs across the globe are becoming increasingly concerned over the cybersecurity threats. On one hand technology is greatly enabling SMBs, creating more opportunities and facilitating new avenues, on the other, it is posing a huge threat. SMBs must be on the lookout for certain threats that could hinder their business continuity and growth in the coming years.

According to a Cisco report titled Cybersecurity for SMBs, about 74 per cent of Indian respondents have encountered a cyber incident in 2020, with most of them losing client data to malicious hackers leading to substantial business loss. Small business websites are more frequently targeted by hackers due to lack of awareness and information about cyber risks.

Every entrepreneur recognizes that client trust is essential to build a fruitful business, and that security is of the utmost significance to retain that trust. In these changing times, businesses need to revamp their strategy to protect themselves against threats and enhance their cybersecurity system.

  • One of the tactics that can prepare SMBs for future threats is through simulation scenarios, wherein artificial representation can be created to upgrade the security mechanism from the real world threats. This can also assist SMBs in gaining a fair understanding of any existing flaws, allowing them to improve their security ecosystem.
  • It is also critical to have a strategy in place to deal with any possible cyber events. Businesses should have a thorough understanding of both internal and external hazards. They need to be future-ready against cyber threats like phishing, spoofing scams, malware, systems hacking, pharming etc.
  • In addition, Educating and training employees is a healthy practice  and businesses must take steps to train all employees, regardless of their position, to have a basic grasp of cybersecurity and the role they may serve in safeguarding the company.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stimulus for technology and digital adoption across sectors, and technology has been one of the only areas to show robustness. However, business leaders need to assess possible threats/dangers and employ protective measures in order to safeguard their functioning and prosper in the digital era. With businesses hoping to recover from a widespread economic disruption, ensuring stability and growth of the new business segment should be a top priority in the upcoming Budget 2022. SMBs across the country are expecting some announcement to help their digitalisation journey inclusive of measures for protection of data and information from cyber threats.