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Why cybersecurity is crucial for economic growth in the post-Covid era

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By Santanu Bhaumik, Head of Professional Services, Ingram Micro India

Almost all of the major changes that have restructured the course of human history have happened abruptly – the latest being the societal changes after the outbreak of the pandemic. Due to nationwide lockdowns and social distancing protocols, the Indian market has been forced to embrace digital transformation more aggressively than before.

It is an indisputable fact that when the world stopped, digital technologies turned the wheels of the market and now post-covid is seen as one of the most crucial factors in accelerating economic recovery.
While it is exciting to see the urgency with which crucial sectors like healthcare, education, manufacturing, government services are adopting a digital-centric approach, it also raises concerns about the security of the digital environment. The vastness of the Indian market makes it a lucrative ground for cyber attacks and other web threats. Next-gen technologies like AI, big data, and the cloud have huge potential to revolutionize the economy, but unless security concerns are addressed, their adoption cannot be accelerated.

Tackling security threats among Indian SMEs is essential
About 6 million small and medium enterprises, which form the backbone of the Indian economy, are the most vulnerable to such threats. A recent study painted an alarming picture, highlighting that up to 74% of SMEs in the country have faced cyber attacks in the past year. Government data shows that 11,58,208 cases of cyber attacks were reported in India in 2020, almost 300% more than reported in 2019.

Two questions arise from this situation. First, is a digital overhaul possible without strengthening the digital space? No it is not.

Second, what is it that makes our country’s market so vulnerable to digital threats, other than its size?

Let’s dive deeper to find the answer to the second question.

Adopt digital without realizing the threats:
A significant portion of SMEs that have gone digital as a result of the pandemic have had to go digital as the physical market was almost completely replaced by online during the lockdowns. Decisions were made in a hurry. Naturally, in-depth knowledge of the online space, especially in terms of threats, was lacking.
Coupled with the illusion that they won’t be attacked, Indian SMEs have trusted public clouds, taking security for granted, turning them into sitting ducks for common cybersecurity threats like phishing and ransomware.

Unlike large enterprises, SMEs do not have such resources that could reverse the damage caused by such attacks, increasing their need for digital security.

Human negligence in prioritizing digital security:
Incredible as it may sound, a study found that human negligence is the root cause of almost 90% of cyber attacks. While no organization would deliberately expose it to threats, the very fact that most SMBs do not prioritize educating employees about digital security puts them at risk.

To minimize the scope of human error, organizing training sessions for employees on digital security can do the trick. Make employees understand that it is vital to set strong passwords, to avoid the use of obsolete or pirated software, not to click on links from questionable sources, to explore the tools of the security system existing, regularly checking that their PoS devices are not compromised or simply not leaving the laptop unprotected in a public space can reduce the chances of falling victim to cyber attacks.

What is the way forward?
Nowadays, regardless of their size, organizations make extensive use of the digital space to function. With the security and sustainability of businesses at stake, it’s time for even small and medium-sized businesses of all sizes to invest in cybersecurity.

Myths such as cybersecurity are of concern to large companies that it is too expensive and complex to afford – must be broken. We cannot remain oblivious to the fact that the future is digital – and that future has already arrived.

Digital transformation has brought countless benefits. While it has created a new world of business opportunities for SMEs and businesses that were beyond imagination a few years ago, it also comes with its share of threats. At Ingram Micro, we envision a secure digital future and deliver services that protect your business from cyber threats, ensuring unhindered growth.

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