Technology has come a long way. While we streamlined business processes to stay connected to clients in many ways, that technology comes with a price. Technology has provided an unprecedented number of cybersecurity risks to your business. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, ransomware attacks alone have hit businesses every 11 seconds in 2021. For companies to protect themselves, grow and succeed, owners and C-level executives must understand the realities of cybersecurity.
What the Current Threat Landscape Looks Like
Nearly every business will be a victim of a cybersecurity event at some time. As we like to say, it's not a question of IF, but WHEN it will happen. There are ways to protect your business. First and foremost, you need to understand the most severe and widespread cybersecurity threats facing businesses today. Here are the four most prevalent attacks happening right now:
- Ransomware. Ransomware is most often a malicious type of software that can do one of two things: a) steal sensitive data or b) lockdown access to your files and systems. In either case, the hacker demands a ransom payment within a specified timeframe. If the business does not pay the ransom, the hackers may release your sensitive data to the dark web for sale, resulting in irreversible data loss. It's also important to note that paying the ransom does not guarantee the release of your data or unlocking your systems. A recent study by Proofpoint indicates that of those businesses who did pay a ransom, 22% never got their data back and 9% were hit with MORE ransomware!
- Phishing & Business Email Compromise (BEC). Today's cybercriminals are incredibly good at impersonating legitimate people, including CEOs, CFOs and other leaders within your company. Through AI, they create highly believable emails and SMS messages that send malicious links and attachments, and when clicked, they can extract login credentials or install malware on your systems.
- Denial of Service/Distributed Denial of Service (DoS and DDoS). This form of cyberattack is pervasive and easy for cybercriminals to do. A DoS or DDoS attack happens when hackers flood the targeted system with repeated data requests, forcing it to slow down, crash or shut down entirely. Just last month, major VoIP services were disrupted for days as a DDoS attack caused intermittent downtime.
- Insider Threats. Nobody wants to believe that a current or former employee, vendor or other business partners would use their access to sensitive data to harm your business, but it does happen more than you'd think. Insider threats are often difficult to detect because they come from within the company and aren't intentional.
Knowing the types of threats that exist is imperative to keeping your business safe. But if that hasn't yet caused you enough agita, here are some alarming statistics to drive the point home from IBM's Cost of Data Breach Report:
- The average time it takes to identify and contain a data breach is 280 days!
- Attacks motivated by financial intent were responsible for 52% of data breaches!
- Personal identifiable information (PII) is compromised in 80% of data breaches!
How Can You Secure Your Business
While cyber threats are ever-present in the business world, there are things you can do to protect your company against them. If you have in-house IT staff, make sure they're employing these tactics. If you are using a Managed IT Services Provider, talk to them about implementing these practices. A reputable IT services provider like Fraser will listen to your concerns and work with you to ensure the safety of your business.
- Multifactor Authentication (MFA). Strong identity controls that go beyond the traditional username and password authentication are imperative. Consider using multifactor authentication that includes features such as one-time passwords, security codes and security questions.
- Virtual Private Networks (VPN). Set up a corporate VPN that encrypts all connections. Have your employees utilize this VPN when working outside of the physical office to protect your data.
- Strong Password Policies and Management Tools. By utilizing strong password policies and using proper password management solutions, you will improve your company's overall password landscape. Compromised employee credentials are one of the quickest ways for a hacker to gain access to your business.
- Consistent Security Awareness Training. Empower your employees to recognize cybersecurity threats before they become attacks and take appropriate action. This type of training must be consistent and ongoing, as new threats are constantly popping up. Through this type of program, you can create a security culture within your organization that will ultimately provide you with some of the best protection.
- A Clear Business Continuity Strategy. Many companies think they are prepared for a disaster. The key is having a clear strategy that outlines how all mission-critical operations will work uninterrupted when the disaster strikes. Having a plan isn't enough, however. Test your system regularly to ensure that all steps work for your business and provide you with the necessary pieces to keep your business accessible and operate.
Cybersecurity can seem like a daunting task for many businesses, especially if you don't have an in-house IT team. With a Managed IT Services Provider like Fraser, we can help you strengthen your cybersecurity posture with our full slate of solutions. We offer services including MFA, VPNs, data backup and recovery, network monitoring and security awareness training that can keep your data safe.