Cyber Security to Safeguard Businesses

By StepUpwards Team, 8th November 2021

Today, the safety of business data is more important than ever. Have a look at these statistics to understand the gravity of concern, and take a second look at your cyber security practices:

  • Cybercrime saw a 600% increase due to the pandemic (United Nations)
  • Global cybersecurity costs are expected to rise from $3 trillion in 2015 to $10.5 trillion by 2025 (Cybersecurity Ventures)
  • 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses (Verizon)
  • $3.86 million is the global average cost of a data breach (IBM)
  • More than 77% of organizations do not have a cyber security incident response plan in place (IBM)

How different industries are prone to cyber attacks

Certain industries and business models are more prone to cyber-attacks. If your organization is a storehouse of sensitive & personal B2C data, you could be a primary target for hackers. Let’s have a look at some cases:

  • Banks and financial institutions are at high risk as they contain valuable data related to bank accounts and credit cards.
  • Healthcare institutions also house a lot of sensitive data, associated with health records and clinical research.
  • Enterprises hold data pertaining to IPR’s, product innovations, marketing & sales, and client & employee data - all of which could be on hackers’ radars.
  • Educational institutes hold data on enrolments, academic research, and personally identifiable information. 

Remote working has provided hackers more opportunities due to the lack of infrastructure and appropriate security solutions at every individual’s premises. The FBI Cyber Division reported 4,000 cyber-attack complaints per day, just months into the pandemic. Simultaneously, MonsterCloud reported that ransomware attacks shot up by 800%.

Best practices do not imply only incorporating the latest technology applications, but also about a layered security integration, an aware employee base, and premeditating cyber-threats.

Se7en suggested practices to mitigate cyber risk

Layered Security Model

Create your cyber security procedures using a layered security model. It looks at all the various cyber safety measures in unison, rather than in isolation. At the end of the day, all the components put together define your security infrastructure. It begins with the internet and includes even human elements (e.g., employees).

Data Backup

As a best practice, backup your data on a regular basis. In the event of a cyber-attack, or even in case of some internal issues, data can be safely retrieved to avoid any loss of resources. Within this too, a multi-layered backup system would offer more protection.

The backups may be taken on Cloud or Local Servers. The backup frequency could range from weekly to quarterly to annual. Remember, the greater the time gap between two backups, the greater the size of the at-risk data. Undertake regular checking and testing of data for restoration. It is advisable to use encryption and multi-factor authentication for accessing the backups.

Employee Awareness and Response Plan

It’s a good practice to educate your team about the basics of cybersecurity. “Insider” threats are as real as external threats. Keeping your employees well-informed and aware can help avert damages such as email compromise. Also, a response plan document must list out the course of action to be taken in the eventuality of an attack. This will help employees to adopt fast action and mitigate risk.

Monitoring and restricting employees’ online activities is another measure that you could adopt. Standard (bare-minimum) protocols should include not using public wi-fi for office systems and scanning of any external drives that may be used.

Only Trust and Deal with HTTPS Secured Websites

A website protected by the HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is one of your safest bets to trust its owner and site contents. Be vigilant when opening and dealing with other websites.  Along the same lines, you should get SSL certificates for your own website, so others can trust you.

Make Responsible Investments in Business Security Systems

A good and running business would be better off by investing in updated security software. Get the right antispam / antivirus / anti-spyware for your systems. Regular updates are critical. Any extensions not being used should be removed. Consider passphrases for systems instead of ordinary passwords. Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of safety.

Cyber Security Audits

It is advisable to check the cyber health of your organization periodically. Scheduling audits, mock exercises, and drills to evaluate the incident response plan will keep it from becoming a mere document and fulfill the objectives in case of a breach.

Consider investing in a cyber health checkup to get an overview of your cyber incident response capabilities. Alternatively, consider a more detailed breach readiness assessment, giving you a complete picture of your organization’s ability to respond to and deal with inevitable cyber incidents.

Cyber Security Experts

Companies and Governments are consulting cyber security experts more than before. Cyber security should be treated as any other business risk and provided the right talent and funds to combat it.

All enterprises, big or small, need to be proactive when it comes to securing data, which is a key asset. Cyberattack has been ranked as the fifth top risk since 2020 (World Economic Forum), and is slated to grow as the usage of IoT grows. Proper planning and adequate measures can help prevent a cyber calamity.

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