Businesses in all industries have become targets for cybercriminals looking to access confidential corporate and client data. Contrary to popular opinion, large corporations aren’t the only businesses that have fallen victim to cyberattacks. Small-to-medium-sized businesses have also experienced their share of cyberattacks and are increasingly becoming targets for cybercriminals. According to the Verizon Business 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report (2020 DBIR), 72% of cybercrime victims were large businesses, while 28% were small businesses.
Unlike large corporations that are often equipped with the best programs and cybersecurity professionals to help counter and manage cyberattacks when they occur, small businesses often find themselves at the mercy of hackers. This is usually because their cybersecurity budget is often too small to put robust cybersecurity measures in place.
How Lucrative Is Cybercrime?
Cybercrime is a growing lucrative business, even surpassing many other forms of crime. According to the Verizon 2020 report, 86% of investigated cybercrime incidences are financially driven. The most recent publicized financially-driven cyberattack occurred on May 7, 2021, with the oil pipeline company Colonial Pipeline falling victim. The company had to pay 75 Bitcoins, an equivalent of $4.4 billion, to restore their systems.
The Verizon report also states that stolen account credentials accounted for 37% of cyberattacks, social engineering schemes account for 25%, human error accounts for 22%, misuse by unauthorized users accounts for 8%, and physical actions account for 4% of cyberattacks. Malware is the most common type of cyberattack. The AV-TEST Institute reported that it registers about 350,000 new malicious programs daily.
If you’re running an organization, it’s crucial to ensure that cybersecurity is a top priority. You need to implement appropriate cybersecurity measures to protect valuable corporate and client data and mitigate cybersecurity risks.
How Can You Protect Your Organization from Cybercrime?
The following are measures you can take to protect your organization from cybercrime:
- Perform a Cybersecurity Assessment
It will be impossible to implement appropriate cybersecurity controls if you don’t know where you currently stand. Routine cybersecurity assessments should be a central element in your cybersecurity policy since they give you insights on what security controls are working effectively, which ones you need to reinforce, and what security vulnerabilities you need to patch.
Performing a cybersecurity assessment also enables you to prioritize specific aspects of your online security and prevents you from wasting time and money on inessential security cybersecurity aspects.
- Develop a Cybersecurity Response Plan
To effectively protect your organization, you need to be able to anticipate an attack. A thorough and well-thought-out response plan will describe all the steps to take when you experience an attack. As a result, you’ll be able to take action quickly, notify equipped and trained cybercrime professionals, communicate to the relevant parties, and take control of the situation before it escalates.
- Cybersecurity Training for Your Employees
Your cybersecurity controls will only be as efficient as your least educated employee. Your employees are the most vulnerable point of access into your network and system for hackers. An unsuspecting employee falling for a phishing or social engineering attack, clicking on a malicious file, or having weak passwords is the easiest way a hacker can get access to your confidential corporate and client data.
It’s essential to train your employees on how cybercriminals can trick them and how to identify and distinguish between suspicious emails, attachments, or phone calls and those that are legitimate.
Cybersecurity training shouldn’t be a one-time thing. Since cyberattacks and technology are continually evolving, your employees’ cybersecurity knowledge should evolve as well. You should also conduct cybersecurity training regularly to ensure new employees don’t create new security vulnerabilities.
- Install Security Software
Security software such as antivirus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware programs will help to detect and remove malicious programs and files in your systems. You should install these programs on all your computers and mobile devices. It’s also essential to ensure that your security software is updated regularly. This will help lock out advanced malware that can disable your antivirus software and access your system.
- Keep Your Operating System and All Your Software Updated
You should update all the programs and operating systems used by your company. Outdated software and programs can make your organization susceptible to multiple cybersecurity threats. New software updates often fix security flaws, remove bugs, and have new security features to ensure that your system is protected from attacks.
- Implement Strong User Authentication Processes
Use complex passwords that include numbers, letters, special characters, and symbols to lock out intruders. You can also implement other access and authorization methods such as biometric authentication or multi-factor authentication to lock out external parties from your systems. These user authentication processes will lock out intruders by ensuring that the users are who they claim to be.
- Implement a Firewall
A firewall can be software, hardware, or a combined system that prevents unauthorized access to your network. It functions by isolating your organization’s internal networks from external networks. Firewalls monitor outgoing and incoming network traffic from external sources and create a barrier blocking any malicious traffic.
LeadingIT offers 24/7, all-inclusive, fast, and friendly technology and cybersecurity support for nonprofits, manufacturers, schools, accounting firms, religious organizations, government, and law offices with 10-200 employees across the Chicagoland area.