Cyber criminals are one of the top threats to businesses in the twenty first century. Whether you are a new startup or a large corporate conglomerate, the threat of hackers, cybercriminals and ransomware is ever present. When you are developing your business plan, you may be concerned with funding, your cash flow and all things financial. While this is important to getting your business launched, in the long run you need to pay more than lip service to the threat of cybercriminals.
The Realities of Cyber Threats
In 2019, cybersecurity reports by Cisco stated that 31 percent of companies had encountered a cyber attack on their technology. A firewall simply won’t suffice in blocking these attacks. Companies need to invest in more robust cybersecurity plans and procedures as a preventative measure and ensure that they can carry on trading should the worst happen.
Data storage breaches became more common in 2019 as more and more organizations are choosing to store sensitive data on cloud based storage. When backing data up offline, other virtual machines can get access to cryptographic keys making companies’ confidential assets at risk of a breach. Reinforcing an encryption setup is vital to enhance cybersecurity.
Malware has also been a prominent threat in the past twelve months. Without tighter security measures, malicious software can infiltrate a system resulting in an attack. IBM has recently warned that nation states themselves are launching malware attacks. Rogue states like Iran are launching cyber attacks in an effort to steal data and wipe Windows computers. No business is safe from these threats, but they can put measures in place to ensure that potential risks can be mitigated.
Looking To 2020
A specific type of malware that affects sensitive files and storage devices is called ransomware. It affects a business by using its own malicious encryption and blocking a company’s access to their own files. To restore access, companies or individuals need to pay a ransom to the cybercriminal. This results in downtime, a financial hit, and a loss of business integrity. 2020 looks set to see an increase in these attacks as hackers become more adept at navigating cloud based storage systems. Data breaches will continue to occur and even the most enhanced data encryption could be at risk.
As more people and organizations choose to use cloud based storage systems, more companies will be sharing the application user interfaces (API) that they use. This means that they can become insecure. The security of these interfaces rely on the providers themselves and companies have very little impact on security measures. Breaches through the API can result in a loss of data. As a client to these service providers, the onus is on companies to do their research and do their own assessments of the security, encryption and authentication processes that are put in place.
Every company and venture, large or small should consider how they will stay one step ahead of these threats. Outsourcing cybersecurity requirements to a third party IT services company is a prudent option. Cybersecurity knowledge is so niche that no course that a CEO attends will arm them with the necessary skills and expertise to counter a potential threat.
For a monthly fee, an IT managed services company will encrypt a company’s files, enhance a firewall, carry out integrity checks on a regular basis and backup company files daily. This means that, should an attack occur, there will be no limitation on the continuation of trading. Working remotely, these companies can monitor data twenty four seven and around the clock leading to a more secure and vigilant system.
Company employees can also undergo training provided by these third party firms to ensure that their own personal understanding of cybersecurity is enhanced. The simple policies of changing a password every month, using a random alphanumeric sequence for a password, and never opening up dodgy looking email attachments should never be overlooked.
Hacking has been a concern for decades, but with the advent of the Internet of Things, more and more pieces of technology are becoming interconnected This can result in hacking. Most cases of hacking are the result of the sharing of passwords or credentials, so businesses need to ensure that they don’t do it. Keeping data viewership on a need to know basis can add another level of security.
Without crucial investment in cybersecurity, businesses risk financial ruin by having their data stolen, having their systems compromised and having their reputation tarnished beyond rescue. Investing in cybersecurity isn’t a luxury – it is a necessity.