When you run a business nowadays it can seem you are continually battling the potential of malware threats and cyber attacks. It’s no longer enough to have standard virus software on your desktop – anyone with a digital presence needs to have a much more strategic approach to their company security.
That’s even more important now as, according to recent reports, the biggest challenges are yet to come. With cyberattacks becoming increasingly sophisticated, business of all sizes need to make sure they have the measures in place that protect them and strategies to facilitate recovery in the event of a breach.
Here we take a closer look at what you need to be thinking about when it comes to cyber security risks as we head into the next decade.
Ransomware remains a potent threat to businesses
Ransomware is a type of malware that stops your computer from working and issues a demand for money in order to free it up again. It’s normally delivered via a link in an email the user unwittingly clicks on and which then initiates the download of the malware.
According to the statistics, around 40% of businesses have been subject to some form of ransomware attack with more than 58% of these paying up to avoid damage to their operation and reputation. Only 4% of businesses that were asked in a recent survey were confident of dealing with a ransomware attack if it happened.
Our tip: Educate and train your staff about ransomware and how to recognise it, keep software up to date, and have a backup system or recovery process in place in the event of an attack.
Phishing set to become even more sophisticated
Phishing remains the easiest way for criminal actors to get access to our data. These are emails that purport to be from genuine sources that you may recognise, but attempt to coerce you into giving away vital information – such as your login credentials. While they are the most popular way of gaining access to privileged information, they can also be used to deliver ransomware, or hack systems.
Our tip: Always check who is really sending you an email before you click on any link. When in doubt, do not click.
Third-party IT that puts your business at risk
The biggest problem with today’s digital environment is that we’re all so well connected online. While this is great for better communication and productivity, it also presents problems when it comes to cyber security risks. Vendors may have information concerning your company and your customers or clients that can be at risk if they don’t have the right security measures in place. If they get attacked there could be a knock-on effect for your business.
Our tip: Be careful who you do business with and what information you share with vendors and third party suppliers. You need a process in place for handling liability and protecting sensitive data and ensuring that partners have a high level of cyber security in place.
The cyber security risks of cloud
There’s no doubt that using cloud-based services has added to the productivity and success of many businesses around the world. There are plenty of strengths here – you don’t have to worry about how to work remotely, your systems get updated without you having to do anything and you can tailor your IT provision to your needs.
But there are also cyber security risks that you need to understand here. Choose the wrong partner and you can find your company data at risk and your business subject to reputational damage.
Our tip: Make sure you partner with a reputable cloud service provider who has a good track record and protects your business while still being responsive to your needs.
The Hidden Threat of the Internet of Things
Almost everything with a digital footprint is beginning to get connected to everything else. Most of us own at least one smart device, whether that’s a mobile phone, smart TV or voice command box such as Alexa. Our heating can be connected up to our smartphone, we can even monitor home appliances while we’re on holiday, change the lighting remotely in the office or perform a host of other tasks.
The trouble is that the Internet of Things is designed for convenience rather than security. Many businesses that produce systems with an internet connection have found underlying flaws that may mean they are vulnerable to cyberattack.
Our tip: This is one to keep a close eye on, especially if you use a lot of smart technology in your office. Understand what you have and how it connects together and make sure you use strong passwords for the devices you own.
Expect to spend more on cyber security
While some business owners may baulk at the thought of paying more if you’re not properly protected it can have devastating consequences for if you are the victim of a cyber attack. It pays to make sure you have the right strategy in place and work with an IT service provider that delivers on your cyber security requirements.
According to research by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport:
- The average cost to a UK business of a data breach is £4,180 (not including reputational damage).
- Nearly 50% of businesses have identified a breach in the last year.
- Only 31% of businesses have done a cyber security risk assessment in the last year.
Businesses need to be more focused on what cyber security measures they have in place. Yes, that may well lead to a bigger spend. This is especially true as attacks become increasingly sophisticated. But it’s worth it in the long run.
Our tip: Work closely with your IT service provider to ensure that you have the right measures in place but also formulate a cyber security budget and ensure this is invested in protecting your critical assets.
Data compliance means having a robust security strategy in place
Finally, with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), even more onus has been put on businesses to include operational measures that keep the personal data of their customers safe. While a breach will damage your reputation, it also puts you at risk of a substantial fine if you are on the wrong side of the current rules.
According to recent reports, many companies are still not compliant and are putting themselves at risk.
Our tip: Get together with your IT service provider to make sure that your company meets the current regulations and has the processes and strategic support in place to deal with a data breach or cyber attack.
If you are looking for an IT partner who can deliver on all your needs, contact the team at Cyan today.