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Stay up to date on the latest security threats your business faces and get tips on how to stay protected and informed.
Last year, hackers cost businesses more than $4 million per breach, according to a report by IBM. It used to be that the biggest threat to a company was a burglar or an employee with sticky fingers.
But, times have changed. In a 2021 study by IDC, around 37% of organizations worldwide admitted to being the victim of a ransomware attack. This type of attack accounts for only 10% of all breaches. If you scale this number to include other forms of cyber attacks (such as malware, spyware, viruses, etc.), you will realize that any organization can be the target of this 21st-century thief.
Today, organizations face a more devastating threat that is much harder to detect. Armed with a keyboard instead of a crowbar, hackers are a problem that no business can ignore.
Hackers love data. They want to get their hands on the email addresses, phone numbers, financial details, Social Security Numbers (SSNs), and other sensitive information stored in your system.
This information may belong to your employees, customers, or business associates. Whatever you’ve got, hackers want it. Because in the world we live in today, that data is worth a lot of money.
For instance, if the data contains your organization’s secrets, they’ll sell it to your competitors (assuming they weren’t sent by them). Alternatively, they may use it to hold your organization hostage via a ransomware attack.
This involves threatening to make the data public or just locking you out of your own system if you don’t pay them a large amount of money. They know how much it will cost you if you don’t meet their demands.
They can also use financial information to steal money. This will happen if they get your company’s bank account information, or your employees’/clients’ credit and debit card information.
SSNs, on the other hand, can be used for identity theft. In this case, the hackers – or whoever they sell this information to – can open new bank/credit accounts, apply for and receive benefits, and access brokerage accounts while pretending to be someone else.
Other personal and contact information, like email, phone numbers, and home addresses, can be sold to scammers on the dark web for a decent amount of money.
The previously-mentioned report by IBM showed that the average cost of a data breach in 2021 was $4.24 million. This was almost half a million more than the $3.86 million lost per breach in 2020. It’s also the highest average total cost in the 17 years IBM has been tracking this information.
Of course, a small- or medium-sized company probably won’t be on the hook for that much. But, even a loss of a few hundred thousand dollars would be enough to drive most of them out of business.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So, your best bet is to stop it from happening in the first place. This involves guarding your computer assets and human resources against cyber attacks.
Employees are a common target for phishing and social engineering attacks. Therefore, a great place to start is by educating them. Teach them how to recognize these attacks and how to respond to them. Conversely, using two-factor authentication (2FA) can be an excellent way to protect your business from other attack vectors.
Finally, finding a cybersecurity expert to partner with can be the icing on the cake. They can provide you with the resources needed to train your employees adequately. They can also do the actual work of protecting your organization’s computer systems against cyber attacks. Don’t wait, tomorrow could be too late.
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 20-200 employees across the Chicagoland area.
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