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Advanced Persistent Threats: Why They Matter To Businesses in 2023

Small to medium businesses (SMBs) are an attractive target for cybercriminals, as they often lack the resources and expertise to defend against advanced cyber threats.

One of the most dangerous and sophisticated types of attacks that SMBs face is the Advanced Persistent Threat (APT).

In this article, we will discuss what APTs are, why they are a threat to SMBs, and what steps SMBs can take to protect themselves.

What are Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)?

APTs are a type of cyber attack that is highly sophisticated and targeted towards a specific organisation or individual. The main goal of an APT is to gain unauthorised access to sensitive information and maintain a presence within a network for an extended period of time without being detected.

APTs are executed by advanced and well-funded bad actors, often state-sponsored, who have the resources and knowledge to carry out complex and multi-stage attacks. They may use a combination of social engineering, malware, and other tactics to gain access to the target’s network and steal sensitive data.

Why are APTs a Threat to Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs)?

SMBs are particularly vulnerable to APT attacks, as they often lack the resources and expertise to defend against such advanced threats. SMBs may have limited budgets for cybersecurity and IT personnel, leaving them at a disadvantage when compared to larger organisations with more resources to invest in protecting against APTs.

Moreover, SMBs may store valuable data and assets that are just as attractive to cyber criminals as those stored by larger organisations. This includes financial information, customer data, intellectual property, and trade secrets.

The loss or theft of this information can be devastating to an SMB, both financially and in terms of reputation.

How can Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs) Protect Themselves against APTs?

To mitigate the risk of an APT attack, SMBs must invest in the necessary tools, resources, and personnel to defend against these advanced threats.

This may include:

Hiring a dedicated IT security team

Having a dedicated IT security team can provide SMBs with the expertise and resources needed to defend against APTs. This team can help SMBs implement robust cybersecurity solutions, monitor for threats, and respond quickly in the event of an attack.

Implementing robust cybersecurity solutions

SMBs must invest in advanced cybersecurity solutions that can protect against APTs. This may include firewalls, antivirus software, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and encryption technologies.

Regularly training employees on cybersecurity best practices

Employee training and education are critical components of a successful cybersecurity strategy. SMBs must regularly educate their employees on how to recognise and avoid potential threats, such as phishing scams and malicious websites.

Staying informed and up-to-date on the latest APT trends and techniques

It is important for SMBs to stay informed and up-to-date on the latest APT trends and techniques, so they can proactively protect against new and evolving threats.

This requires a commitment to ongoing education and training for all employees, as well as regular security assessments to identify and address potential vulnerabilities.

Regularly backing up data and critical assets

In the event of an APT attack, SMBs must have a plan in place to quickly recover their data and critical assets. Regularly backing up data and critical assets can ensure that SMBs can quickly recover from an attack and minimise the damage done.

In conclusion, APTs are a serious and growing threat to SMBs.

If you'd like to know more about the many other practical ways you can dramatically reduce the risk of APTs, get in touch today.

And for more cybersecurity tips and techniques for small to medium businesses, why not tune into the Cyber Heroes Podcast, where we talk about how to protect your people and reputation, strengthen your cyber posture, create a culture of cyber savviness, and the many cybercrime lessons being learned around the world every day?