As business becomes more reliant on technology, the risk of cyber crime becomes that much higher. Modern businesses that aren’t implementing advanced IT security are exposing themselves to cyber attacks ranging from basic identity theft to full-scale data theft.
Types of cyber crimes
To get a sense of how vital implementing IT security is for any business, here’s an overview of some of the more commonly-occurring cyber attacks.
One of the most prevalent cybersecurity threats is phishing. This is a dedicated social engineering attack whereby employees are lured into clicking on a malicious link – via text, email or phone call – thereby exposing critical business information.
Businesses are experiencing a growing threat from cyber attacks in the form of ransomware. This is a form of malware that encrypts a victim’s files. The user is locked out of a computer or even a network, and the cybercriminal holds the data ransom until payment is made. Usually the malware is sent in an email as a file that the user would typically open.
3. Cloud-based data storage
The benefits of cloud-based storage, including space and cost savings, has seen a number of businesses switch to this form of data storage. But as businesses have moved to the cloud, so have cyber criminals, with more cyber attacks focusing on off-site data.
4. Digital advertising fraud
Not as common as phishing and ransomware but still rising in stats is the impact of digital advertising fraud on organisations. In this cyber crime, hijacked adverts will re-direct users to phishing pop-up adverts, opening the user up to some form of data theft. Organisations are vulnerable to this cyber crime as advertisers or merely employees being lured into clicking on malware.
These are just some of the IT security issues businesses need to beware of, but fortunately there are many experienced IT organisations that offer valuable security options. Here’s what companies can consider in terms of cyber security:
1. Perform a vulnerability assessment
The best form of IT security is a thorough risk assessment before implementing any safety measures. An experienced IT company can check existing software bugs or protocols that could possibly be exploited by cyber criminals. Once a vulnerability assessment has been performed, a business is able to identify technical issues that need to be addressed to prevent a cyber attack.
2. Perform a penetration test
Another form of risk assessment to enhance cyber security is a penetration test. This is where IT professionals actually simulate a cyber attack to identify real-time issues and enhance security controls. Although this is an active test, this form of cyber security is performed in a controlled environment so there is no real risk to the customer.
3. Use password protocol
A seemingly simple technique but one that is vital to prevent cyber attacks is a stringent company policy on password use. Employees must be urged not to repeat passwords on different sites, and passwords must be changed regularly. Obviously, the more complex the password the better, which is why a password management application is best.
4. Use a managed security service
A managed security service will monitor all security events so that any potential security breaches will immediately be red-flagged. This proactive approach ensures any cyber threats are immediately neutralised before impacting business data.
5. Update the software
A business’ operating systems and internet security software need to be constantly updated because astute cyber criminals will be waiting for any opportunity to exploit flaws in software. Security patches are vital to prevent any form of cyber attack.
6. Keep educated about cyber crimes
Education is the best defence which means keeping updated on the latest cyber attack techniques. By understanding how cyber attacks work, businesses are able to ensure they are protected at all times. Constant risk assessments need to done and strategies need to be managed for business to stay one step ahead of cyber criminals.
7. Use two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication – or 2FA – is a two-step verification process for logging into highly-sensitive documents. Authentication processes will be something you know (user name and password), something you have (smartphone or token), or something you are (fingerprint or eye scan). 2FA requires two of these, minimising the risk of cyber attacks.
8. Take out insurance against cyber crime
Even if all IT security measures have been taken, there is always a threat of a cyber attack, even if it’s really small. For businesses operating in critical data, it’s really worth considering cyber-crime insurance which will cover any company against damages suffered.
9. Encrypt and backup data
Also valuable for businesses that operate in highly-sensitive data is the encryption of data. This means that, even if a cybercriminal gets hold of the data, it can be rendered useless through encryption. Valuable data that can be encrypted includes everything from customer details through to employee and company information.
Cost of cyber crime for business
Although protection against cyber attacks does cost companies money, the price of not implementing such protection measures is much more costly. The modern cyber criminal is incredibly astute, and no company is safe. Outside of the cybercriminal who is targetting valuable data for the financial benefits, there are cyber activists who frequently shut down business operations that conflict with world views; or even upcoming hackers looking to make an impact. The results of these actions could be devastating for any organisation. Working with an experienced IT compmany that can provide managed security will ensure businesses don’t suffer unnecessary loss of data, loss of income, and loss of consumer trust.