Businesses today are facing double security challenges. Firstly, they are increasingly being targeted by ransomware and other cyber threats. At the same time, many businesses are migrating toward a hybrid — and potentially less secure — working environment.
Fortunately, there are several steps business owners, and their employees can take to keep their organisations safe from security breaches, no matter where employees are working. Here are some common cybersecurity threats and how to protect your business from them.
Torquil MacLeod, Director and Founder of Via Resource states, “Most attacks start from human error, not system failures. Especially when employees are fully or partially remote, using devices and networks that are potentially less secure than those managed directly by a company’s on-site IT department.”
Ransomware attacks and other cyber threats have risen in prominence over the past few years, especially in the wake of the pandemic. Many businesses that had previously worked only in person were forced to quickly shift to e-commerce or remote work setups. With rapid change, it was difficult to keep up with the IT tasks that go with that change, such as making sure every device is backed up, ensuring employees are using secure connections and passwords. In addition to training employees on how to spot a scam before they click on it.
Everyday IT tasks like installing system patches and enforcing password policies can fall to the bottom of the list. Where these types of security gaps can leave you wide open to hackers looking for ways to exploit any vulnerability they can find.
Phishing occurs when an attacker poses as a trusted contact, such as a financial institution or business partner, and requests that the user share account details or click a malicious link.
The biggest threats come from phishing scams that start with email. These emails are often designed to appear like a legitimate message from the organisation, although text phishing scams also exist.
Malware refers to malicious code created to destroy data or gain unauthorised network access. Viruses, Trojans, adware, and spyware all fall under this category. Malware often comes from spam emails and malicious downloads, though can also occur after connecting to other infected devices.
Personal devices are at a much higher risk than company computers for malware attacks. Since more than half of employees use their personal devices when working from home, businesses must take extra caution to avoid malware.
A ransomware attack occurs when an attacker encrypts company data so it cannot be used, then forces the company to pay a ransom to access it. In general, smaller companies are less likely to have their data backed up and may be more likely to pay the ransom in the hopes of regaining access.
Using easy-to-guess passwords or reusing the same password across multiple accounts makes it easier for cybercriminals to access valuable data. Strong passwords and incorporating additional security measures into the login process can help protect small businesses against data breaches.
At a minimum, businesses should implement multi-factor authentication, use strong passwords, and secure connections, like a VPN or zero trust network.
Insider threats refer to malicious or negligent actions of both current and former employees and business associates. Since these individuals have access to company data, they can cause significant damage, whether intentional or not.
Practicing and educating employees on security awareness, as well as terminating access for inactive users, can help mitigate insider threats.
Even a seemingly small-scale cyberattack can be detrimental to a business. A loss of data often results in a loss of time and money, as well as potential damage to a company’s reputation.
Here are some simple steps you can take to protect your business data.