Data breaches are becoming increasingly common these days. Therefore, it’s vitally important that your company takes steps to prevent them from happening.
Data breaches can have serious consequences for your business. It can damage the reputation of your brand when you could have prevented it.
However, there are ways to reduce the risks of a cyber attack and ensure that you take precautions if one does occur.
The Role of Cybersecurity and Threats in Your Business
Here’s an overview of how cybersecurity and online threats play a role in your business.
Cyber Threats Come in Many Forms
Cyber threats come in various forms, and every business is at risk. They can be internal or external and range widely — from hackers gaining access to steal data to malware infections causing downtime.
There’s no way of knowing what form a threat will take. The good news is there are various steps you can take to mitigate these threats.
Cybersecurity Is More Than Protecting Your Data
Cybersecurity goes beyond protecting your data. It also protects the privacy and confidentiality of your customers’ information. And that’s not all — cybersecurity is integral to safeguarding your company’s reputation. Breaches can occur anytime, and millions of businesses are affected by them each year. Consider the data in the graph below.
So far, in the first half of 2022, 817 cases of data breaches have occurred — affecting over 53 million individuals. You can see the impact a few hundred compromises can have by looking at how many people it affects.
And if a breach were to occur, it could damage it in various ways.
You could lose customer and employee trust and vendor relationships. Meanwhile, customers can pursue a lawsuit against your company. And it could result in hefty fines due to breaking compliance with government regulations.
It takes a long while to recover from a data breach after losing money and business, while some don’t recover at all.
Cybercriminals Are Using New, More Sophisticated Tactics
The security landscape has changed drastically over the years, and cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated. The latest strategies include:
- Targeting supply chains.
- Using social engineering and phishing to hack into networks.
- Deploying malware that is harder to detect and remove.
In addition, criminals are using ransomware — a type of malware that encrypts your data and holds it hostage until the hacker receives payment.
A 2020 survey revealed that 68% of companies had experienced a ransomware attack and paid the ransom. As a result, many organizations don’t fully recover from such attacks, and the files they receive back aren’t always in their original state.
Therefore, it’s important to be aware of the latest tactics that hackers use to ensure you stay on top of every possible risk.
Remote Workers Have Poor Security Habits
Working from home can be a great way to save money, encourage productivity and reduce commute time. However, it also comes with major cybersecurity risks.
And now that many people work from home since the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations have accelerated digital transformation efforts — increasing the demand for secure digital work environments.
According to Statista, at least 94% of organizations are securing their digital transformation initiatives worldwide.
People who work from home have poor security habits. Typically, it’s because they aren’t aware of the risks. This usually involves unsecured Wi-Fi networks and not having the right security software on their devices.
Even if they are aware and take steps to mitigate them, they’re still many ways in which cyber criminals access and steal data.
Incorporating Security Into Every Aspect of Your Operation
A security breach isn’t only an issue for the IT department. You must incorporate strong security practices and involve everyone in protecting the business.
That’s why you must take a multi-layered approach to protect your business’s assets.
1. Create a Comprehensive Security Policy
A comprehensive security policy protects your business from a data breach. Consider creating one by including the following in a document:
- A statement of commitment to information security.
- An overview of the company’s values, objectives, and goals regarding information security.
- A breakdown of how you expect employees to protect data and how they should report suspicious activities.
- Instructions on how contractors should handle sensitive information.
2. Use the Right Tools
Using the right tools can protect your company against the latest threats, including:
- Firewall: An essential tool that filters and controls traffic flow between the internet and your company’s internal network. It prevents unauthorized users from accessing your network while allowing authorized users to connect safely from remote locations.
- Anti-viral software: Detects malicious code and prevents it from damaging your systems or stealing sensitive data.
- Anti-malware: Identifies and removes viruses, spyware, adware, and other malicious software that could infect your devices. It also prevents them from coming back again.
- Password manager: Prevents employees from using weak passwords by generating strong ones automatically when accessing corporate applications remotely.
3. Educate Your Staff About Good Cybersecurity Habits
No matter how good your security team is — or the layers of protection you have — it takes one team member to fall victim to a cyber attack. Cybercriminals can easily dupe a person into falling into a trap, whether a phishing email or a fake website.
Your employees are the ones who interact with customers and vendors daily. Therefore, they must understand how to spot these malicious links so they can report them immediately.
This means providing them with basic cybersecurity awareness training. That way, they know what to look out for and what questions to ask if something seems off.
4. Use Cloud-Based Solutions to Mitigate Risks
Using a cloud-based solution can help mitigate the risk of a cyber attack. Here are a few reasons you might consider using cloud services:
- Cloud-based solutions are more secure than on-premise solutions. They’re accessible only to authorized users and stored in designated data centers.
- Cloud providers offer greater control over who has access to your data and tools that allow you to monitor your use.
- The accessibility of cloud-based services makes them easier to manage and maintain, especially if you have multiple employees or partners that need access to your system.
5. Use Incident Response Plans to Manage Attacks
Should an attack occur, you must have a plan of action to help you manage it. Here are some helpful tips:
- Create an incident response plan: Ensure your plan includes contact information for those who need notification of an attack. Additionally, you’ll need processes and procedures for dealing with the incident. The incident response plan should also include strategies for recovery from the attack once it occurs.
- Test your incident response plan: Regularly testing your incident response plan ensures that everyone knows their responsibilities in case of a cyberattack. Consider trying various scenarios and how each employee reacts. That way, you can identify weaknesses before they become problematic.
- Keep employees informed: Employees should be aware of what actions they can take if they notice suspicious activity on company networks. This will allow them to flag issues early to prevent further damage.
Taking Steps to Secure Your Company’s Network
As a business owner, it’s important to secure your IT system. While the strongest firewall and security applications may protect your data, nothing is foolproof. There are always vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to access valuable information.
Ensure you take steps to protect your business against cyber criminals. It will go a long way in keeping them at bay. Understanding the threats is one of the first steps toward taking and ensuring your business isn’t vulnerable in any way.
About the Author
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.
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