Most businesses rely on the internet and technology. Such reliance has grown tremendously since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just like everything, there are major risks associated with technology and the internet in general. Such risks include cyber attacks. If you rely on the internet, you also have to keep in mind that you are constantly exposed to cyber criminals.
Your business needs to be well protected. Your systems, networks, and company traffic need to be secured. This is where the term cyber security comes from. Cyber security is the protection of information and electronic data from attackers and possible data breaches.
Your business has assets like servers, networks, phones, and computers. All of which need to be protected since some may also contain valuable data that might be stolen. Your business, even if it is small, should be cyber secure. Your consumer’s data needs to be safe with you.
Here are the different types of cyber attacks you need to be aware of;
- Social engineering
Apart from cyber attacks, there are other reasons why cyber security is important for your business. Here are some of them;
- Users are vulnerable – many cyber attacks have been attributed to users. No matter how strong your system is, your users remain the biggest threat factor. This is why you have to ensure all your users are trained on how to be cyber secure. You should train them in activities that may fuel attacks and teach them ways of responding to them. Cyber criminals may also target a specific employee which is called a spear-phishing attack.
- There is a drastic increase in cyber attacks – Security risks are on the rise as the reliance on the internet continues to grow. Almost everything in businesses relies on the internet be it social media for marketing or even cloud computing for backup. This means that there is a lot of valuable information in constant traffic. Some surveys have given a figure of around 21 billion for mobile devices which are always networked. This fuels the development of the dark web which creates a fertile ground for cyber crime.
- Increase in the use of cloud computing –consumers are shifting to cloud computing. Everything, think of passwords, login details can all be stored in the cloud. Back-ups can also be stored in the cloud. Businesses are shifting to this since it still serves the purpose and it’s even more affordable. However, cyber criminals are on the radar. Although cloud computing is the new trend and highly efficient, you should take the necessary precautions before you settle on a vendor for cloud computing services for your small business.
- To increase credibility – Just imagine your business relies on a website for your consumers to buy products from. A hacker mutates your website and starts luring your consumers into the wrong website through phishing links. This will make your services not credible and you might also lose customers. With proper cyber security, you will minimise such incidences and ensure the services you provide are legitimate.
- To ensure compliance –there are different laws and procedures that all businesses and companies need to follow. These procedures may be industrial standards or imposed by the local government. In case of a cyber attack, the responsible authorities will review these general data protection regulation and compare with your policies. If your business was not compliant with such policies, you may even face a lawsuit. If your local government or industry has policies like PCI DSS OR HIPAA, you should ensure they are strictly followed. User data should always be protected.
Impacts of Cyber Crime
Cyber crime can affect your business negatively in many ways. Your users’ sensitive data might be exposed. Many cybersecurity threats will affect your business in different ways including;
- Reputational damage -it is a requirement for all businesses which experience cyber attacks to notify their relevant users. Your consumers will not trust you anymore with their personal data. With a loss of trust, there will probably be a loss of future consumers. Your competitors might also use your misfortunes to their advantage. The media coverage might also do your business reputation more harm.
- Regulatory costs – There are several data breach laws that all businesses and companies need to follow. Such include GDPR. If you are found to defy such laws, you have to pay some regulatory sanctions and fines. This is why all your staff need to understand the magnitude of cyber security and the impact of security breaches. Your business ought to have a security framework to reduce the risk of a data breach or the loss of trade secrets.
- Financial costs – the aftermath of a cyber security breach is always undesirable. You may experience business disruption, theft of intellectual property, or even corporate information. You might also have to meet the cost of repairing the damaged systems after the data breach.
Protecting Your Business From Cyber Crime
Using antivirus software is only a small measure you can take to secure your business and computer systems against malicious attacks. Here are other measures:
- Train your staff – A study in 2019 attributed 90% of cyber attacks to human error. When you educate your staff well on how to properly handle cyber threats, your business is likely to be more secure. You should have cybersecurity programs set in place frequently.
- Use a third-party solution – your company can rely on third-party technology to simplify some activities that might involve scanning. This should be part of your cybersecurity risk assessment policy. The tools you rely on should reduce risk against new threats. New technologies like machine learning are beneficial for your business, before you implement them, you should ensure they come from the right vendor.
- Conduct regular security audits –your business should rely on the right cyber security professionals to conduct audits o your systems and networks. You need to ensure that the measures you have put in place will work. This is why you need to rely on the services of security professionals like Kaesim cybersecurity. Such cyber security professional will give your business a security health check and ensure everything is how it is supposed to be. They will also provide a report of their findings, and suggest ways to improve your cyber security and protect customer data.
The budget for protecting your business should always include cyber security. Every business has critical infrastructure that should be protected against cyber attackers.
You need to encourage good practices like strong passwords, security on online platforms, and general information security. Your security measures should also be tested through security audits to ensure they work and protect your sensitive information to avoid identity theft.
How cyber-secure is your business? Find out with our free cybersecurity health check.
It’s a 30-minute Zoom call that walks through a checklist to assess your current cybersecurity levels and provide a short report with some advice and recommendations.