We all want to cut costs in our business, especially given the events of the past year. There are plenty of ways to save money, but one area that you should never scrimp on is security.
Whether it is digital security or physical security, it is one of the biggest ways that you can protect your finances, your property, your customers, your employees, and your reputation from coming to harm.
IT and communication technology is continuing to evolve and pretty much every business uses them as part of their day-to-day operations. As spending on this increases, so should the security measures to protect them.
Here, we look in closer detail at why you need to be investing in your business security and the ways that you can do that.
Small businesses are easy targets
As a small business, you are a prime target for sophisticated data hackers and criminals. Small businesses are a more appealing target for hackers than large corporations because they frequently have security flaws. Criminals believe that small businesses will lag behind on their security measures, so if your business is not on top of things, you are playing right into their hands.
Mobile device usage increases the risk of an attack
The use of mobile technology in the corporate world is relatively new, but is commonplace; even more so with the rise in remote working. While it is incredibly convenient for working, it is also incredibly convenient for hackers and cyber-criminals. With new models and designs coming out almost every day, it can be difficult to maintain the latest in security. They are also much more likely to be left in a cab, on a bench, on the table in the coffee shop, or at an airport, which makes them easy targets. Finally, mobile devices are more likely to be used in public on unsecured WiFi networks, making them even more vulnerable.
Robust security measures make you more appealing to customers and clients
When it comes to customer or client engagement and retention, having a credible cybersecurity infrastructure and team is a clear selling point and distinguishing attribute. It is vital to ensure that the privacy and confidential information of all stakeholders in your business is safe and secure.
Cloud systems are great – but can also increase your vulnerability
The Cloud is increasingly becoming the choice of technology, and it does make more business sense. However, it leaves you more vulnerable to cyber threats and attacks. This means that while adopting Cloud-based security models is optimum for business operations, as an organization, you should be focussing on additional security measures to protect your data.
Many businesses will not survive a cyber attack
The repercussions of a cyber attack are wide-reaching, and for many businesses, completely devastating. It is thought that as many as 60 percent of small businesses never recover from an attack on their data systems, because of the cost and the damage to their reputations.
As of 2020, the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. As you can imagine, this would hit even large global corporations hard in the pocket but would wipe out a small to medium business entirely. If they did manage to claw back that, the irreparable damage to their reputations would probably finish them off.
Stats to think about
It can be difficult to think about the impact that a cyberattack can have on your business – let’s take a look at some cyber attack statistics that might just make it a bit more realistic if you still need to be convinced.
- A whopping 95 percent of breaches are caused by human error – all the more reason to train your employees
- In 2020, it took 207 days on average to identify a data breach. Imagine the damage that can be done in that length of time.
- Some of the biggest companies in the world have fallen victim to cyber-attacks and breaches, including Twitter, MGM, Marriot Hotel, My Fitness Pal, British Airways, Equifax, Uber, and Yahoo.
- 94 percent of malware comes via email
- 1 in 13 requests on the web leads to malware. This is often known as phishing
- Over three-quarters of organizations do not have a disaster recovery plan for if a cyber attack were to happen.
- Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FBI has reported a 300 per cent increase in reported cybercrimes – obviously, many more have not been reported or are yet to be discovered.
How you can protect your business
Invest in the technology
Any business that has an online presence should invest in advanced cybersecurity measures such as firewalls, encrypted connections, data breach protection, and ransomware protection. Effective spam filters should be implemented to prevent phishing emails from reaching your staff, as well as to prevent email spoofing and to check incoming and outgoing emails. Anti-virus tools can also be used and updated on a regular basis to support protect access points.
Back up your data
Your data must be periodically backed up. This small action eliminates the possibility of losing everything if your system has failed or an attacker takes control of your system. Company-sensitive and confidential files should be backed up in a remote, unconnected storage facility (such as offline backups.) Effective backups could eliminate the need to pay a ransom.
Increase awareness in your employees
Expecting an IT department to minimize all IT security risks is no longer a reasonable expectation. Your whole team must be prepared to boost their knowledge of unique threats (such as phishing and malware and reduce their exposure to cyber-attacks. Provide them with regular cybersecurity awareness training to make sure their knowledge and understanding are up to date.
Implement a good password routine
Weak passwords are one of the most serious cybersecurity threats impacting businesses all over the world. Short length, obvious characters/numbers, and simple passcodes are some common characteristics. Enforcing stronger passwords is a simple way to enforce stronger security measures in your organization. Force regular changing of passwords too – use a password manager or randomizer to create effective and difficult to guess passwords.
Remove access to files
You want the minimum amount of people having the minimum amount of access to files for the minimum amount of time. As soon as someone leaves your company, remove their access privileges. Only give the people who absolutely need to see information access, and as soon as it is no longer needed, remove that access.
Have a disaster recovery plan ready and in place
A disaster recovery plan is a critical component of a strategic planning program that can assist in lowering the cost of a data breach. It should include the following items:
• Finding and restoring your most recent clean backup
• Procedures for interacting with law enforcement
• Methods for isolating the infected PC or device
• Methods for isolating devices that have not been contaminated
When companies are aware of the implications of a data breach or a hack and are well-equipped and prepared, they can deal with a threat more effectively in the unfortunate event that it happens.
If you run a major corporation, a mid-sized enterprise, or a small local business, you can never be too prepared for a cybersecurity breach. Awareness, ongoing training, and vigilance, as well as investing in the latest technology are critical for maintaining the security of your company and data.