Cybersecurity is a major investment, especially in today's data-based world. More than ever, successful companies rely on software solutions and protected data to manage customer relationships and drive revenue.
Data is the fuel powering the digital transformation of all aspects of modern businesses, from manufacturing to services, and all along the supply chain. As its value increases, so do cybersecurity threats. That's why conducting a risk assessment and taking steps to protect your business data is critical in this digital age.
Some hackers are amateur, others are professional. What they all have in common is the ability to identify weak points in a computer system or network. Once that vulnerability is breached, they gain full access to your entire network and the data it contains.
Learn four ways your business can protect against top cybersecurity threats by increasing security measures to prevent data breaches and cyber attacks.
Cyber attacks are a multi-million dollar threat
Today, businesses operate systems that are digitally connected through multiple networks of computers. Networking facilitates communication within an organization as well as with the outside world through the internet. When properly protected, these networks enable people, businesses, and organizations to safely send and transmit sensitive information worldwide.
Unfortunately, networks also come with the risk of exposure. Computers , especially when connected to the internet, are vulnerable to cyber attacks. These attacks can result in fraud, privacy invasion, or theft of corporate data and personal information.
Damages amount to millions of dollars annually per sector. Data breaches–whether malicious attacks or accidental exposures–aren’t exclusive to organizations of a particular industry, size, or structure.
According to John Chambers, the former CEO of Cisco: “There are two types of companies: those that have been hacked, and those who don't yet know they have been hacked.”
While the average damages may amount to $200,000 per business, over 50% of businesses suffered ransomware attacks, resulting in damages of $500,000 or more.
Common Types of Cybersecurity Threats
To effectively prevent security breaches, cyber security teams need to prioritize their efforts to protect against top cybersecurity threats. Here are common cyber attacks that your business should be ready to identify and remediate:
Databases use a language called Structured Query Language (SQL). An SQL injection occurs when hackers insert malicious code into an SQL server. The code prompts a server to share protected information from a database without receiving appropriate credentials (such as a login ID and/or password). This can be as simple as inserting code into an unprotected search bar of a website.
Phishing is a form of fraud that uses emails sent from sources that look reputable, like a bank, an internal team in your business, or a government entity. The end goal is to convince the user to submit sensitive identity-based data or financial information, like credit card numbers.
As one of the most common threats facing businesses, phishing emails are becoming increasingly costly, especially as more people access banking and investing services online.
A denial-of-service (DoS) attack compromises servers, networks, and systems by flooding them with requests that exhaust their resource capability. A typical example is the use of “bots” that crawl the web looking to extract data. Once the server is overloaded with requests, it is unable to handle regular traffic, interrupting functions that your business may rely on.
Malware is short for “malicious software” and is used to describe programs that can harm a computer, such as ransomware, spyware, worms, and viruses. Malware usually penetrates a network through a security vulnerability such as a user clicking a dangerous link or opening an email attachment that executes a risky software installation. As one of the most common security breaches, malware comprises systems in the following ways:
- Installing additional spyware or trackers
- Blocking essential parts of the network
- Disabling or disrupting critical parts of the system
- Extracting data through the use of spyware
Man-in-the-middle attacks occur when hackers steal data by inserting themselves between a device and a network (like WiFi). This can result in extra software installed on the victim's device that allows hackers to gain access to additional data such as banking and identity information. The rise of remote work, with employees working from coffee shops, libraries or other businesses make this a more relevant threat.
A zero-day exploit is launched once a network vulnerability is identified, but before a solution is found and implemented. Combatting zero-day exploits requires constant monitoring after vulnerabilities are determined to prevent possible attacks.
Four strategies: Prevent cybersecurity incidents instead of just responding
Preventing cyber attacks costs less than repairing the damage. According to a study from the Ponemon Institute, “The economic value of preventing a cyberattack ranges from $396,000 to $1.37 million, depending on the type of attack.”
However, while business analysts can assess and estimate how much money a data breach costs in terms of litigation, time spent, and lost opportunity, it's almost impossible to determine the cost to a business’s reputation.
The best way to avoid cyber attacks is to avoid letting them happen through the following security practices that increase document safety and reduce the risk of data loss:
1. Secure Document Management
Document management ensures that your digital property and the sensitive data it contains are kept secure. An effective document management approach includes using strong passwords, access restrictions, invisible folders, and confidential contract fixes.
These security strategies ensure that your information is protected from anyone that shouldn't have access, including your competitors, identity thieves, hackers, and even uncredentialed employees.
2. Cloud-Based Security Solutions
Moving data to the cloud allows businesses to access and scale world-class data security infrastructure through third-party services. Cloud services allow companies to hide, protect, and remove any data that should be controlled or viewed only by credentialed employees. This ensures that documents are kept safer when compared to legacy local file systems and hard copies, making it more difficult for bad actors to steal data.
3. Enhanced Network Security
Network security should encompass all data transmission within your company. Most business networks have back doors that create massive vulnerabilities waiting to be exploited by hackers, and that can lead to data breaches.
An enhanced network security plan first identifies any potential threats to the network, including WiFi, laser printers, mobile devices, and cloud services. Strategies to prevent data breaches include antivirus software, data encryption, malware protection, asset tracking, and all other measures that close those gaps and mitigate any potential cyber attack security risks.
4. Remote Monitoring
Hackers are always on the move, roaming the internet looking for vulnerable businesses with open networks. Businesses should take a proactive security posture to counteract this activity. Your security team can enhance system visibility and control using security solutions that support remote network monitoring.
Along with ensuring that someone is always on alert for issues within your network, remote cybersecurity professionals can immediately resolve problems before they turn into major issues.
Tips To Help Keep Systems Secure
Modern businesses need a top-down cybersecurity security program that ensures that your people, processes, and systems have integrated, layered security.
Your business should implement a security strategy that gets everyone involved, from IT personnel to employees. Here are some easy tips to prevent security breaches that can lead to big problems:
- Use encrypted passwords with a combination of letters, numbers and special characters.
- Perform appropriate background and screening checks for all employees and contractors.
- Train non-technical and IT staff on how to avoid and report security risks, including social engineering attacks.
- Implement a policy to filter out unsafe emails and train employees not to open unknown email attachments and check sender email addresses before clicking any links.
- Use anti-virus software and keep operating systems, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, computing hardware, and software up to date.
- Enable two-factor authentication for all secured systems using mobile devices, email, and/or one-time-password (OTP) applications.
- Remove unused email or application accounts when employees leave.
- Encrypt communications between network equipment.
- Encrypt and segment all databases and grant access and accounts based on the Principle of Least Privilege–limiting authorizations to people who need access for their direct work.
As the importance of data continues to grow, an investment in information security management can go a long way in protecting your company's assets and reputation.
Standley Systems can help protect against top cybersecurity threats.
As the business world increasingly goes digital, document security is becoming more of a priority. Security breaches cost more than just customers–they can permanently damage the reputation of your business. The team at Standley Systems can help your business prevent cyber attacks, protecting your systems, networks, and sensitive data.
Cybersecurity threats are common and will continue to grow as digital transformation continues across industries, costing businesses millions of dollars per year. Using secure document management measures, cloud-based security solutions, enhanced network security, and remote monitoring can help seal up vulnerabilities and protect your business.
Standley Systems has cybersecurity experts ready to help implement a comprehensive security strategy to protect your business’s networks and prevent cyber attacks and data breaches. Contact us today to learn how we can help you audit and protect your business’s information systems.