Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has not been the same. We have had to rethink and reshape our behaviours and interactions to keep moving on with our lives and comply with the ‘new normal’. This also applies to the way we conduct ourselves and our businesses as working professionals. Large companies and small companies alike have had to adapt to this change, and the most common trend among them during this time is the rise in remote working practices. While there are many conveniences of working from home, it comes with its fair share of challenges as well. Perhaps the most significant of those challenges is the state of their cybersecurity.
Since the dawn of the digital age, large corporations have been very familiar with the risks posed by the lack of cybersecurity measures. There have been far too many cyberattacks and breaches of sensitive information by hackers on large organisations in the last two decades. While some have suffered losses, others have had to compromise their trust and integrity among their customers and even shut down. As a result, organisations today treat cybersecurity as the foundation of their establishment but unfortunately, such is not the case for smaller companies. Over 80% of small business owners do not see the need for more robust measures against cyberattacks and data breaches.
Although research indicates that 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses with less than 500 employees, only 14% of these establishments have the proper infrastructure in place for their protection, and this was well before the global pandemic.
Statistics show a rise in cyberattacks by an upward of 600% since 2020. These astronomical numbers are closely related to the surge in remote working practices. Cyberattacks like malware, phishing attacks, brute force attacks, and ransomware capitalise on the lack of cyber security measures and awareness. In November 2020, a hedge fund based in Sydney collapsed after an executive unwarily clicked on a fraudulent Zoom invitation. The hackers gained access to their systems and sent out fraudulent invoices causing damages of over $8m, forcing the firm to shut down.
While these are more than just isolated incidents, they are just as easily preventable with some general cyber security tips for small businesses. Seeking counsel from professionals and looking into their cyber security plan for small businesses can help strengthen their cybersecurity foundations.
IT Awareness and Training
Phishing attacks and malware are engineered to rely on the user’s lack of knowledge and ignorance, directing them to click unreliable links and download malicious software posing as legitimate links. Providing IT training to employees and executives greatly improves their handling and treatment of sensitive business information and their recognition of potentially threatening scenarios. Something as basic as gaining awareness of the looming threats and the measures to avoid them can go a long way when it comes to cyber security.
Training workers on using secured devices, setting up networks and controlling their access is the first step to an organisations’ cyber security measures. Simply being diligent does a lot.
Storage and Backup of Sensitive Information
Cyberattacks like ransomware hold your data hostage in return for a ransom, usually in the form of untraceable cryptocurrency. Situations like these can create an atmosphere of disarray and panic when the data includes credit card information and user data of your clients. Deciding to hand over the storage and protection of such sensitive information to highly secure and reliable third parties that offer cyber security services for companies has proven to be the best practice in the industry. Not only does it help preserve the integrity of the company, but it also conserves resources and provides peace of mind.
Controlled Access and Multi-factor Authentication
Another crucial step to cybersecurity is segmenting access to the network with multi-factor authentication. Allowing access to the networks and information that is only relevant to certain personnel and multiple authentication points creates the much-needed extra layers of security. These do add an extra step or two for the users to access the information but, more importantly, keep the data secure from the reach of unwanted forces. Allowing privilege access and strong passwords with numbers and symbols will build additional walls of security.
Hackers are relentlessly looking for vulnerabilities in software security, trying to find loopholes to capitalize upon. On the other hand, there are people on the good side trying to patch these vulnerabilities. Updating your networks and software as soon as new patches are available is the easiest way of securing your data before the bad guys can take advantage.
Don’t be afraid to gain the help of professionals when it comes to your business’s cyber security needs. It will make your life easier and put your mind at ease.