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MSMEs are vulnerable to cyber threats with growing digitisation: Officials

There is a need to equip MSMEs with knowledge and hands-on training on how to identify and combat cyber threats and become more cyber-resilient.

With growing digitalisation globally, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are vulnerable to cyber attacks with a lack of understanding of security risks and limited capital allocation to mitigate such threats, officials said in a statement.

In the workshop organised by the US Consulate General Kolkata and CUTS International, in collaboration with MSME-Development Institute, Ranchi, and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Union MSME ministry's director SK Sahoo said there is a need to equip these businesses with knowledge and hands-on training on how to identify and combat these threats and become more cyber-resilient.

"Cyber security remains an "area of serious concern" for the MSMEs, and the vulnerabilities of these businesses stem from several factors such as the "lack of understanding of cyber security risks, less prioritisation for safety, and limited capital allocation,'' he said in a workshop.

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It is important to bridge these gaps by imparting skills and knowledge on how to react when faced with cyber security breaches, he said.

Noting that limited awareness resulted in a drastic increase in cybercrime, C-DAC Patna Director and Centre Head Aditya Kumar Sinha said the risk of SMEs increase many folds seeing their cyberspace vulnerability.

Experts believe that while large organisations usually have a planned SOP when it comes to their digital presence and its security, SMBs tend to de-prioritise this aspect of their business. It is no longer a question of "should they invest in cybersecurity?" but "how much is enough?"

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Based on an AIG report, SMBs are targets of business email compromise, followed by ransomware attacks - both of which are a direct hit on their business. In fact, according to Reuters, ransomware attacks are causing an increase of 25 percent in premiums on cyber insurance rates for SMBs.

In this scenario, SMBs know that they have to ramp up cybersecurity investments and bolster their risk posture, lest it is too late. However, the biggest roadblock is the ability to convey the reality of cyber threats and risks to the company's board.

(Background info has been added to this PTI copy for context.)

Edited by Suman Singh

Press Trust of India
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