Cyber security risks for businesses have been growing exponentially over the past few years. Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report: SMB snapshot states that small businesses accounted for nearly 86% of breaches over 2020.
It’s time to protect your business from cybercrime.
TL;DR: Cyber security risk management requires you to know the ways cybercriminals attack – and then prevent those attacks from happening as best you can. You can do this on your own by following 7 tactics. Or you can get help from IT experts.
Verizon’s 2021 report also determined that small businesses and enterprises experienced the same types of breaches. This is good news because it means your organization has a clear path to improving IT security, starting now.
Top protection methods to reduce cyber security risk include:
Outdated software provides one of the most common attack vectors for today’s laziest cybercriminals, who often purchase malicious software that automates cyberattacks by leveraging known vulnerabilities. There’s an easy way to fix this: Make sure you patch your software immediately.
A lot of business leaders don’t realize they need to update their hardware. It can take some work to track down updates for your equipment (called “firmware” updates), but it’s worth it to make sure you update hardware regularly. While you’re at it, you may want to consider hitting the power button for a refresh – it turns out that’s pretty effective at stopping cybercrime.
You’ve heard of ransomware, which encrypts your data so it’s unreadable and then demands a cryptocurrency ransom to release the decryption key. Though ransomware can lead to other issues, such as the sale of your data on the dark web, there’s an easy way to get all your data back without paying a ransom: back up your data regularly so you can restore it when you need to.
The Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021 from the cybersecurity experts at Ponemon Institute and IBM found that compromised credentials were the leading cause of data breaches in 2020. Train your employees about good password habits (which require long, complicated, impossible-to-remember passwords), and then make sure your employees use those tough passwords by giving them a password management app.
One of the top cyber security risks for businesses is loss of sensitive data. This is because losing data like customer financial records or Social Security Numbers results in hefty fees, as well as a lot of paperwork. Do yourself a favor and encrypt sensitive data automatically. That way, cybercriminals can’t use it if they manage to steal it.
Are you old enough (or nerdy enough) to remember that Atari game Pitfall? In it, this guy ran through the jungle (and swung on vines!) while avoiding a bunch of hazards like quicksand and crocodiles. It was awesome.
Point is: the internet these days is kind of like Pitfall, but the crocodiles and quicksand are harder to identify. They arise from risky situations like using the free Wi-Fi at a coffeeshop (crocodile) or clicking on links in emails or text messages (quicksand). If you train your employees to spot these hard-to-identify risky situations, your organization will be well prepared to avoid falling into a Pitfall-esque trap. (Training for swinging on vines is optional.)
Sometimes, things just go wrong. Remember, cybercriminals are working every hour of every day to break into business systems and it only takes one successful cyberattack for them to wreak havoc on your company. In other words: the odds are on their side. Make sure you have a plan in place, so you can act quickly and decisively if the worst-case scenario happens.
We get it. You’re reading this list and nodding your head at the logic of it… but in a moment, you’ll realize that implementing these seven steps will take a ton of time and effort on your part. You’ll be tempted to close this browser window and forget all about our logical suggestions – don’t do that!
Instead, reach out for a helping hand. It’s easier than you think to get cyber security assistance from an expert managed IT services team.
For 20+ years, the friendly and knowledgeable IT services team at Interplay has helped business leaders across a range of industries get more out of their tech, stress free. Not only are we always (and we mean always) happy to offer the best managed IT services, support, and advice, we’re also the team you can trust for the best cocktail recommendations here in Seattle or in Disney World – we’re versatile! All humor aside though, we’d love to help you get your IT running smoothly and securely, around the clock.