The Cybercrime Epidemic
Cyberattacks are an omnipresent threat. So, we put together a checklist of basic steps every business should take in order to protect their data.
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Each day, the threat SMBs face while operating in the digital sphere grows. What’s changing isn’t the act of cyber-crime itself, but rather the way the cyber-crimes are being committed.
SMBs are at an immediate disadvantage when it comes to resources and having the appropriate measures in place to protect sensitive information. Because of this, they are the favored targets of cybercriminals as their networks are less secure, making them easier to breach.
The Value of Cybercrime is on the Rise
One of the things that many people do not realize is just how much more valuable committing cybercrimes is for those who can get away with it. This is to say that some people are committing cybercrimes simply because they know that it pays so well. They don’t care who they hurt in the process, and they certainly aren’t afraid of getting caught.
The fact remains that as the value of materials stolen via cybercrimes increases, it becomes that much more valuable for people to steal from others. It is expected that this rash of crime will continue unabated until there are enough reasons for people not to do what has proven to be so profitable. Thus, it is up to everyone to protect their own materials at this time.
Cybercrime: The Upward Slope
Cybercrime is not slowing down globally; Australia has experienced the highest number of reported incidents in the last 12 months, with an increase of 109%. When compared with other countries, Australia has also experienced almost triple the number of attacks, with the incline predicted to continue to increase.
There is no singular solution when it comes to network security. 96% of SMBs in Australia, the US, and the UK consider themselves at risk of cybersecurity threats, yet when it comes to being ready to address them, 71 percent believe they are not ready.
Exploiting the Flaws
SMBs are increasingly vulnerable to external cybercrime forces. They lack the resources, knowledge, and responsibility when it comes to managing their own cybersecurity. Because of this, they are unable to mitigate risks, as they lack the tools to implement when compared to larger companies. This makes them easily exploitable in the eyes of cyberattackers as they can permeate through the vulnerable defenses in place.
All SMBs experience vulnerability in their daily operations. But, the existence of vulnerability does not equate to immediate risk. This is because the risk in IT is determined by a combination of two factors:
Access to the vulnerability.
Ability to exploit the vulnerability.
If these two elements are satisfied, then risk will be at an all-time high. Thus, effective management within a business needs to occur to ensure risk is minimized and vulnerabilities are mitigated.
Too Many Assets, Too Little Time
Vulnerability management constitutes the recurrent process of identifying relevant risks within the IT environment so that they can be prioritized, remediated, and mitigated. Due to the high volume of assets that businesses have, prioritizing which assets to assess is essential, as companies tend to fall into the trap of trying to remediate absolutely everything, causing them to miss substantial risks.
This can be done through both external and internal solutions:
Cyclical firewall updates.
Updating/modifying application configuration.
Patching network layers.
Removing vulnerability from sets of assets.
Intrusion detection/prevention systems.
Spectrum of Threats
With the threat of cyberattacks growing every day, SMBs need to be aware of the sophisticated and disruptive techniques used.
Phishing, malware, and viruses are social engineering techniques used by cybercriminals to manipulate you. Through clicking, opening, or downloading malicious items, criminals can permeate the system to gain access to sensitive data and information.
Weak passwords are one of the biggest threats to businesses. Any password that is not more than eight characters long and does not include a variety of letters, numbers, or symbols can be easily cracked in a day.
Personal devices are easily infiltrated as they are attached to us for most of the day. Does your personal data have anti-virus software? Are they using cloud storage? They are at risk of being piggy-backed through their own phone software, with the result being the exploitation of sensitive information.
Outdated software can cause your security measures to be less effective, as it may not be able to support or implement the measures. This puts your data at risk.
Team members need to be trained in detection knowledge to be able to pick out dodgy/fishy-looking emails. Staff members also need to be trustworthy and reliable, as they could intentionally steal and expose sensitive information that they have access to without anyone knowing.
Minimize the amount of downloading you do while at work, as well as the number of times you use your machine for personal tasks - attackers generally research employees’ information and online activities to target them with malicious and convincing links.
Don’t Get Left Behind
Several measures can be implemented to improve your security and protect your business from online threats.
Encrypt your data.
Educate your employees and include practical training examples.
Stay updated with cyber news in the digital sphere.
Lock and update your wireless network and configuration regularly.
Unit anti-malware and spyware protection.
Limit the number of user accounts and access rights.
Monitor and block online activities.
Implement a security policy that is continually updated and regulated throughout business operations.
Secure all mobile devices in the work sphere and enforce regulations regarding ‘work uses’ on the device.
Cybercriminals are only on the rise, with SMBs at an increasing disadvantage when it comes to implementing the resources needed to combat attacks. Knowledge is your most powerful asset, as is the ability to improve your security measures in place now.
The opportunity cost of implementing more effective security steps outweighs any alternative on the market. Keeping your business safe from the continuous realm of cyber-attacks should not be seen as mandatory but essential to any SMB's success.
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