Cybersecurity is a big business, especially in today’s data-based world.
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.
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 the digital age.
Cyber threats are a multi-million dollar threat
Cyber security issues stem from the fact that we are digitally connected through networks of computers. Networking facilitates communication with the outside world through the internet, enabling us to communicate with people, businesses, and organizations worldwide.
Unfortunately, that exposure is what makes computers vulnerable to cyber attacks that include fraud, privacy invasion, stealing corporate data and personal information. Damages amount to millions of dollars annually per sector, and that can translate to an average of $200,000 per business.
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 attacks involve ransomware, resulting in damages of $500,000 or more.
Common Types of Cybersecurity Threats
Security breaches come in various forms through different mediums that include:
Databases use a language called Structured Query Language (SQL). An SQL injection occurs when hackers insert malicious code into an SQL server that results in the release of information. This can be as simple as inserting code into the search box of a website.
Phishing is a form of fraud that uses emails sent from sources that look reputable, like a bank. The end goal is to convince the user to submit sensitive financial or identity-based data.
As one of the most common threats facing businesses, phishing is becoming increasingly common, especially as more people access banking and investing services online.
A denial-of-service 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. As a result, the server is overloaded with requests and is unable to handle regular traffic.
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:
- Installs additional spyware or trackers
- Blocks essential parts of the network
- Disables or disrupts critical parts of the system
- Extracts 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 extracts additional data such as banking and identity information.
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.
An ounce of cybersecurity prevention is worth a ton of cure
Preventing cyber attacks costs less than repairing the damage. Accountants can assess the money lost in terms of litigation, but it’s almost impossible to determine the reputation cost of a data breach.
Once trust is broken, it’s unlikely that clients will want to repurchase that company’s products and services. 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 is kept secure 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 smaller businesses to access 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.
3. Enhanced Network Security
Network security encompasses 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. An effective proactive security posture to counteract this activity is to enhance security awareness through the remote monitoring of your network. 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
An overall security program requires that everyone gets 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
- Ensure that all employees receive specialized training in identifying security threats
- Do not open unknown email attachments and check sender email addresses before clicking any links
- Use anti-virus software and keep it up to date
- Enable two-factor authentication for all mobile devices
- Remove unused email or application accounts when employees leave
- Encrypt communications between network equipment
- Encrypt and segment all databases
As the business world increasingly goes digital, document security should become more of a priority. Security breaches cost more than just customers - they can permanently damage the reputation of your business.
Cybersecurity threats are common and keep on growing, 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.
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.