Your data is pivotal to running a successful company. If you don’t have proper security measures in place, bad actors can steal your data and take you out of business.
Cybercriminals might be the biggest threat facing your company. Besides gaining access to your money and accounts, they can also compromise critical infrastructure, preventing your company from functioning.
Any organization can fall victim to a cyberattack. However, small, and medium businesses are particularly at risk.
All too often, owners of SMB companies do not focus on cybersecurity when launching their business. They do not know how to shield themselves from online attackers, making them low-risk targets. As a result, these organizations often go under due to the loss of sensitive data. It is not a risk a business owner should take.
To help you understand the risk involved with not making cybersecurity a focus of your businesses Information Technology stack, I will introduce you to several types of cybercriminals and explain how to protect your business from them.
Personal Information Thieves
Many cybercriminals are dying to get their hands on the personal information of your clients and employees. This includes birth dates, financial data, and Social Insurance Numbers.
Social Insurance Numbers might be the most valuable asset they want to get ahold of since cybercriminals can use them for various purposes. For instance, they can perform tax fraud, open credit accounts, and make other significant identity breaches.
In addition, financial data can be utilized for fraudulent activities and purchases, especially if it lacks robust digital security systems.
Digital Infrastructure Hackers
Storage and data servers are expensive – and cybercriminals know that.
For them to cut costs, cybercriminals may aim to store their applications and data on your infrastructure instead. The better your infrastructure, the more likely cybercriminals are to target it. This can strain your network to the limits and have devastating effects on your business.
Unsurprisingly, tech companies are some of the most common victims of this type of hacking.
The common indicators that a hacker has tapped into your digital infrastructure include:
- Running out of storage faster than usual
- Your network performance suffers slowdowns
- You may have unknown devices on your network.
Confidential Information Thieves
Few business aspects are as important as your intellectual property (IP). Your products and services enable you to stand out from the competition and strike a chord with the target audience.
A huge problem arises if cybercriminals steal the design of your upcoming product before you launch it or submit your patent. A competitor may obtain the information, allowing them to hit the market first and undercut your sales.
Worse, if you are a business who handles your clients’ IP; in the event of data theft, you could potentially be liable for the losses experienced by your client(s).
Account Data Thieves
Ask yourself one question, “Am I and my employees’ accounts secure?”
If cybercriminals compromise an account within your organization, this could allow them to commit fraud and gain information to disrupt your business operations.
A notable example is the loss of CEO login credentials. This can be devastating for a business. Besides granting cybercriminals access to sensitive information, it also helps them impersonate the CEO. In return, they can solicit information from employees or clients and halt your operations.
This data breach can lead to widespread confusion, monetary loss, and tarnishing you and your business’ reputation.
Network Control Hackers
These are the most dangerous form of cybercriminals, as they are not just after data. They want to gain control of your entire network. To do so, they launch ransomware attacks at unsuspecting businesses.
These attacks enable cybercriminals to lock you and your team out of your systems and make data inaccessible via encryption, until you pay a ransom. These attacks are typically initiated through spam, phishing emails, online ads, and malware infected websites.
On top of the threat of having your data held ransom, many of these attackers will steal your data before encrypting it to then sell on the dark web.
The average ransom amount is approximately $30,000 USD. Something not factored into a ransomware attack is not only the ransom, but also losses incurred by business disruption, which can be significant.
How to Protect Your Business
Now that you know how cybercriminals can compromise your company, let’s review some effective ways to protect yourself and your business:
Invest in Security Resources
A key factor ignored by many business owners is the amount of money and time devoted to cybersecurity. Avoid this mistake by allocating enough resources to set up solid defensive measures. Make sure to invest in a reliable Technology service provider to help you implement these solutions.
Doing so will make sure that your online accounts, hardware, and network(s) are secure.
Train Your Team
Regardless of the number of security resources you invest in, if you don’t train your employees on how to protect themselves and the company from cybercriminals, you are leaving a serious gap in your Cybersecurity.
For this reason, HR managers and CEOs should ensure their staff follows optimal security measures, both in-office and at home. They must all remember that any device they use for work can be a weak point and entryway for hackers.
To introduce your employees to best security practices, consider arranging security education and training on a regular basis. You can talk about various aspects of your company and the steps necessary to deter cybercriminals.
Sound education can go a long way in promoting a healthy culture of security.
There are many valuable tools you can use to fend off attackers. One of them is Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) – also known as two-factor authentication (2FA) – a simple yet effective weapon against those who would try to access your various accounts and services.
This measure requires each user to verify their identity to access your systems. This is something we highly recommend you use on all business-related accounts to reduce the chances of cybercrime.
Encourage your team members to activate MFA on personal accounts. They will be more likely to follow appropriate security practices, reducing the risk of compromised devices and data breaches, if they are utilizing cybersecurity measures in their personal life.
Leverage Artificial Intelligence
Malware is an effective tool for cybercriminals to gain access to or cause damage to your technology environment. Unfortunately, in today’s world of cyberthreats, traditional Anti-Malware solutions from vendors such as Bitdefender, Sophos, or Symantec just aren’t enough to protect you and your users from advanced malware threats. Ransomware creators are continually evolving their code to utilize sophisticated tactics to avoid detection by Anti-Virus software.
Endpoint Detection and Response solutions are the best line of defense to protect you and your business from malware attacks. They utilize Autonomous Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to identify these threats before they have an opportunity to spread across your network.
Each machine that can access work resources should rely on and be protected by your EDR solution.
Stay on the Safe Side
Battling cybercriminals may not be the most exciting part of running a business. However, neglecting cybersecurity turns your company into a sitting duck for bad actors. Even though you cannot see them, there are real threats out there to your company’s ongoing success. There is real risk of monetary and data loss, and your reputation could suffer irreparable damage.
While there is not a single bulletproof solution, adopting these best practices are a strong starting point.
Contact Aggeris today if you want to discuss your cybersecurity in greater detail and pinpoint potential risks. We can arrange a quick chat to discuss how we can help.
This Article has been sourced with Permission from The Technology Press.