Cybersecurity: What Every Business Owner Should Know

While organizations and workers have certainly benefitted from the advancement of technology, it has also introduced an unprecedented number of business risks. Cyber threats can arise from across the world, to next door, to someone within your own business. Ransomware attacks, for example, hit businesses every 11 seconds in 2021.1 Therefore, if you want your business to grow and succeed, you must understand the realities of cybersecurity.

The Reality of the Current Threat Landscape

Did you know that the cost of cybercrime downtime is typically higher than a ransom? 

Almost every organization will encounter cybercrime at some point. It’s not a question of IF, but rather WHEN it will happen. While that reality can be alarming, there’s no need to panic. There are proactive steps you can take to protect your business and achieve peace of mind. But first, let’s discuss what you need to be aware of.

Here are some of the most serious and prevalent cyberthreats facing business owners right now:

  • Ransomware 

Ransomware is malicious software that threatens to reveal sensitive data or prevent access to your files/systems until you pay a ransom payment within a set timeframe. Failure to pay on time can result in data leaks or irreversible data loss.

  • Phishing/Business Email Compromise (BEC) 

Phishing is a cybercrime that involves a hacker impersonating a legitimate person or organization mostly through emails or through other methods such as SMS. Malicious actors employ phishing to send links or attachments that can be used to extract login credentials or install malware. 

Similarly, business email compromise (BEC) is a scam in which cybercriminals use compromised email accounts to trick victims into sending money or revealing sensitive information.

  • Insider Threats 

An insider threat arises from within a company. Disgruntled current or former employees, vendors, or other business associates who have access to important corporate data and systems all have the ability to cause harm. Insider threats are hard to detect because they emerge from within. It is important to note that insider threats do not need to come from the disgruntled, but could be unintended accidents.

  • Denial-of-Service/Distributed Denial-of-Service (DoS and DDoS) 

These attacks are widespread and easy to carry out. When a DoS or DDoS attack occurs, hackers flood the targeted system with repeated data requests, forcing it to slow down, crash or shut down.

If you are still unsure whether you should be concerned about these sophisticated threats or not, the following statistics may help you make up your mind:

  • It takes an average of 280 days to identify and contain a breach.2
  • Malicious attacks with financial motivations were responsible for 52% of breaches.2
  • Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is compromised in 80% of data breaches (PII).2

Implement These Measures to Secure Your Business

Now that you know what types of cyberthreats to look out for, let’s take a look at some measures you can put in place to protect your business against cyber crimes.

  • Strict Password Policies/Management Tools 

Strict password policies and the use of proper password management solutions can help improve your organization’s overall password hygiene. It is, in a way, the first line of protection against cybercriminals.

  • Strong Identity Controls – Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) 

To combat the current threat landscape, strong identity controls that go beyond traditional username-password authentication are required. Consider using Multi-factor authentication, which includes features such as one-time passwords (OTPs) and security questions.

  • Regular Risk Assessment 

This process aids in the detection, estimation and prioritization of risks to an organization’s people, assets and operations. Risk assessments should be conducted at a minimum, every year.

  • Virtual Private Network (VPN) 

To avoid a security breach, you should set up a corporate VPN that encrypts all your connections. Make sure your employees test it in their respective locations to avoid any hassles. Note that not all VPN connections are the same, some are more secure than others and misconfigurations can be catastrophic.

  • Business Continuity Strategy 

When disaster hits, a solid business continuity strategy ensures that mission-critical operations continue uninterrupted and that IT systems, software and applications remain accessible and recoverable. This plan should be well structured, written down, easily accessible (have a couple printed copies), and should explain everyone’s role and have all vendor contacts for any outside managed systems. This should also be revisited and updated at least yearly.

  • Continual Security Awareness Training 

Continuous security training empowers your employees to recognize complex cyberthreats and take appropriate action, resulting in a transformative security culture within your organization. The more they know, the more they recognize something as being a legitimate threat, the better they will be to be able to report on that threat and have the threat shut down sooner. Your employees are the eyes of your company, they are more likely to notice something being wrong sooner, and being able to identify and realize they should report on that is critical.

If you’re ready to strengthen your cybersecurity posture but aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry. We can help your company build a digital fortress of protection solutions. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.