2 in 3 Indian SMBs suffered over Rs 3.5 crore business loss in post-pandemic cyber attacks: Survey

Technology for MSMEs: Beyond the loss of customer data, SMBs lost internal emails, employee data, data related to intellectual property, and financial information.

Many countries put the responsibility of reporting or notifying instances of cybercrime or data breaches on companies.
Cyber security incidents in India increased 193 per cent from 3.94 lakh in 2019 to 11.58 lakh in 2020, as per data from Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In).

Technology for MSMEs: As small and medium businesses (SMBs) gradually embrace digital technologies for enhanced business efficiency, the concerns around cyber security have also grown. In the past 12 months, cyber-attacks have cost more than Rs 3.5 crore for two in three (62 per cent) SMBs in India. In fact, for 13 per cent of these 62 per cent SMBs, which sustained cyber-attacks, it cost them over Rs 7 crore while overall 74 per cent SMBs in the country suffered a cyber-attack in the past 12 months, according to a new report by Cisco on cybersecurity for SMBs.

The survey of business and IT leaders with cybersecurity responsibilities at over 3,700 SMBs across 14 markets in the Asia Pacific – Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam noted losses to SMBs beyond customer data. For instance, 73 per cent Indian SMBs claimed they lost internal emails, 71 per cent lost employee data, 74 per cent suffered loss related to intellectual property, and 75 per cent claimed financial information loss. In addition, 73 per cent of those said it disrupted their operations, 76 per cent admitted it negatively impacted their reputation, while over 70 per cent suffered a loss of customer trust.

“While in the pre-crisis era, automation was viewed as a means to reduce cost, it is now essential to damage control and survival. Most small businesses understand this, so while the use cases will vary from business to business, we expect digital technologies to see increased adoption across most Indian industries,” Panish PK, Managing Director – Small Business, Cisco India & SAARC had told Financial Express Online.

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While small businesses were always exposed to the digital threat, the need to invest in and enhance their cyber security solutions has only gained momentum during the post-Covid period. Importantly, cyber security incidents in India increased 193 per cent from 3.94 lakh in 2019 to 11.58 lakh in 2020, as per data from Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). The information was shared by MoS Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy in Lok Sabha in March this year.

Among key ways, SMBs systems were impacted included malware attacks for 92 per cent of surveyed SMBs in India followed by phishing for 76 per cent SMBs. However, the survey noted that SMBs are taking a planned approach to understand and improve their cybersecurity posture through strategic initiatives. 89 per cent SMBs have completed scenario planning and/or simulations for potential cybersecurity incidents in the past 12 months while 91 per cent have a cyber response and 92 per cent have recovery plans in place.

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