No matter the size of your business, cybersecurity threats should be taken seriously. Cybercrime can cost your business a lot of time, lost productivity, reputational harm and massive amounts of money. It can also cost your entire business.
According to a report by Syn Ack Fin Network & Computer Services, “93% of companies without a Disaster Recovery solution who suffer a major data disaster are out of business within one year.” That’s staggering but unsurprising. Planning ahead for cyber attacks is the only way to ensure your business will survive potential threats. Appropriate planning involves both preventative measures and a recovery plan.
As a business advisor in Denver, I hear stories all the time about companies dealing with cybersecurity problems. It’s not just a big business issue, either. Small to mid-sized companies especially are getting hacked, paying ransom, and having to deal with the headache and pain associated with data breaches.
Cyberthreats Are On the Rise
Stig Ravdal President & Founder of Ravdal, Inc., a leading cybersecurity company, recently pointed out that “cybercrime is the fastest growing criminal activity in the world, with damages expected to hit around the $6–trillion mark globally in 2021. So while the cybersecurity sector is putting in a herculean effort, the industry is challenged by the sheer scope of threats, the increased sophistication of bad actors and even a stressed employment dynamic.”
The industry costs of cybercrime have doubled since 2015 – when data breaches and cyberattacks cost businesses approximately $3 trillion. The rise in crime means that more and more businesses are being targeted. Major companies might yield higher payouts for criminals, but that doesn’t mean that smaller companies are outside their scope. Criminals are hunting for the easy prey, and many small to medium-sized businesses offer ample opportunities for them to strike.
Your company doesn’t have to deal in credit card information or customer financial records to be a tempting target. If cyber criminals are able to get ransomware onto your system, it will bring your company’s operations to a grinding halt. No matter your industry, product or service, cyber criminals can find a way to exploit your system to earn a payout.
Remote Work and Human Error
Most companies were unprepared for 2020’s abrupt transition to remote work, which opened the door to a wave of attacks. As noted in a recent report by The Thompson Group, “The COVID-19 pandemic forced many organizations to have their staff work from home for the first time. Unfortunately, these telework arrangements led to a rise in cyberattacks, as many cybercriminals have targeted remote employees in various phishing incidents.” After the pandemic hit, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center began receiving three times as many complaints. Prior to March 2020, they received an average of 1,000 per month, but as of October, it had increased to a staggering 3,000 monthly complaints.
For employees used to relying on a company’s network security, it’s all too easy to fall prey to malware and phishing. Without proper training and vigilance, employees can fall into bad habits – like reusing passwords – that can quickly lead to major consequences. “Human error is the number one cause of security and data breaches, responsible for 52% of incidents,” according to Syn Ack Fin’s report.
Moving operations out of the office and onto personal and home computers has opened gaps in many companies’ security protocol. Without the professional setting or advanced network security infrastructure in place, it’s easy for employees to get lax in their vigilance. And that’s exactly the kind of behavior criminals are hunting for.
Simple Cybersecurity Precautions Go a Long Way
No matter the kind of business you run, there are steps you can take to make your company more secure. I’ve seen too many business owners balk at investing in security measures when they haven’t felt the pain of an attack. But the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You can’t afford to take cybersecurity lightly.
Thankfully, improving your company’s security doesn’t have to cost you huge amounts of money. Ravdal, Inc. offers a few simple precautions you can take to improve your company’s security. The following list is part of a longer post about protecting your company through the transition to remote work.
The following are a handful of cybersecurity solutions to consider implementing:
- Password Manager and Multi-factor Authentication wherever possible
- Next-Generation Antivirus or Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR)
- VPN (Virtual Private Network )
- Secure Remote Storage for protection from access and loss
- Security Awareness Training
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I also recommend having a disaster recovery plan in place. This will help you to avoid panicking in an emergency. It will also go a long way to ensure you don’t lose your business. Similarly, looking into Cyber Liability Insurance can offer a great deal of peace of mind.