How To Be Cyber-Aware During This Crisis

How To Be Cyber-Aware During This Crisis

Technology and the internet have changed every facet of our business and personal lives. They make it possible for us to connect with everyone and everything associated with our company, our personal lives, and our customers.

But with these digital connections comes vulnerabilities, as cyber-criminals and hackers exploit them to penetrate your company. Cyber-attacks and breaches create the perfect storm for your business by increasing expenses and reducing revenues.

Cybersecurity is no longer just an IT problem; it's a business problem.

The 3 Biggest Cybersecurity Threats To SMB Organizations

  1. Phishing Emails

  2. If your company concentrated all of its efforts to prevent just one cyber-security threat, it would be phishing emails, as they make up about 93% of all breaches and attacks. Phishing emails are corrupt emails and work because they employ "social engineering" to trick unsuspecting employees into clicking on corrupt links in an email.

    "One out of every 99 emails that employees receive are phishing!"

    Takeaway: If you focus on just one security measure, this is it! Talk to your entire team about your process in handing these phishing emails that hit your inboxes every few minutes. If you truly focus on this and get it right, you reduce your chance of being breached by 90%.

  3. IoT– Based Attacks (Internet of Things)

  4. There will be over 200 billion devices connected to the internet by the end of this year. The growth of IoT and automation has created many opportunities for small businesses. But with more and more connected devices and so many people working remotely, comes higher cyber-security risks and more opportunities for hackers to breach your company.

    Takeaway:To protect your customers, your company, and your employees, first take an inventory of your internet-connected devices linked to your network and double-check if the firmware for these devices is up to date.

  5. Ransomware

  6. Ransomware has one purpose; to infect your system, encrypt all of your data, and lock it up. The only way to get your company running again is to pay the ransom. Ransomeware attacks are up 340% with SMB businesses during this COVID-19 crisis.

    Takeaway:You must be aware that your company is being attacked daily. To prevent those attacks, you need strong perimeter security, such as firewalls and anti-virus programs. But this is not nearly enough. You need a full layered security solution, and you may be surprised at how few SMB companies know this.

The new face of the cyber-attacker

The vision of the cyber-attacker sitting in the basement in a hoodie, trying to hack your company is no longer accurate! The real cyber-attackers are well educated, well funded, and include nation-states like Russia, China, and Iran. Picture a 10-story office building full of expert hackers working around the clock to breach your company.

And don't be fooled into believing your small business has no appeal to these cyber-criminals. The truth is, large companies are spending billions of dollars to protect their networks, and cyber-criminals have pivoted to smaller companies because they are vulnerable and easy targets!

The true cost of a breach

Recent studies have reported that the average cost of a breach to small to medium-sized companies ranges from $100,000 to $1.25 million.  And that number is not inflated, given the fact that an average breach of a Fortune 500 company is closer to $4 million. And even though $4 million is a huge number, smaller businesses are hit harder because the cost relative to their company's size is much higher.

The real costs of breaches are often underestimated

There are both direct and indirect costs associated with a cyber-attack and breach. Some are pretty obvious and fixable, others are hard to see and can be irreparable. They include…

  • Compliance and regulatory fines
  • Monetary theft
  • Downtime
  • Loss of customers
  • Loss of reputation
  • Repairing the system
  • Legal fees
  • Insurance increases
  • Loss of data

Cybersecurity success hinges on … upping your awareness, learning how to respond to a breach, and working with your people to continually practice and train them on phishing emails and other threats.