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Why Every Business Needs A Cybersecurity Strategy
Starting your own business makes you feel invincible. After grinding for so long, you’ve got a few sales. There’s no boss slamming you with work, and you can enjoy the process. Sales are increasing every quarter, brand awareness is increasing too, and you’re motivated to wake up each day. But when things are going too well, one thought always lingers. How long will this last? Unless you have a cybersecurity strategy, the answer is not long. Cybercriminals are on the lookout for small and medium businesses. Data theft, hacking, ransomware, and more threats lurk in the online world.
Do you have a plan for what happens when things go south?
Do you feel immune to cyberattacks?
Read on to see why every small and medium business needs a cybersecurity strategy.
What Do The Statistics Say?
Let’s start with the numbers. Cybercrime seems like something invisible because it’s never happened to you. But the money drains make it very real. For example, the average cost of a breach during the pandemic was close to 4 million dollars. Now, the costs are higher, and the attacks are more widespread. A single data breach can ruin your reputation, put your identity in danger, and disclose your customers’ sensitive information.
On top of that, 95% of breaches happen due to human error. It’s either you or your employees who made a mistake. If everyone is using weak passwords, or the same one, that’s a problem. If somebody opens an email and downloads a virus, the entire company’s at stake. When you don’t have a security system or a software combo of antivirus and VPN with malware removal, employees fall back on their habits and create shortcuts to make work simpler. That’s how companies get hacked.
Lastly, the method hackers use to breach small and medium businesses is called phishing. They create a false sense of urgency, and people click based on sudden emotions. The best way to defend from cybercrime is to have an impenetrable cybersecurity strategy.
What’s A Cybersecurity Strategy?
The point of a cybersecurity strategy is to protect a company from data theft, reduce incidents caused by hackers, improve privacy, and boost system performance. It sounds easy and simple in theory. But it’s much harder in practice.
Think of a cybersecurity strategy as a document that adjusts over time. It’s a plan for the next three to five years that covers how employees should interact with online files, how to use cybersecurity software and some best practices.
What Are The Most Common Cybersecurity Attacks?
The worst thing about cybersecurity attacks is that they’re always evolving. What worked previously will not slide again, so hackers are always thinking of new ways to scam people. Usually, threats and scams fall into a few categories, but specific instances can go from being pretty basic to impeccably organized.
Phishing is on top of the list for cybersecurity attacks. It’s popular, dangerous, simple, and it still works. Basically, a hacker creates a fake account representing an official business or organization and pretends there is a problem. They will send you an email claiming your Amazon account has been blocked, that somebody requested a large payment from your bank account, or that somebody tried to log in to your social media account.
All it takes is for you to click on the link they send, enter your personal data, or download a file. As soon as you do that, a hacker will have control over your device, account, or money.
Phishing is a broad term with plenty of subcategories. Hackers can pretend to be HR representatives, family members, internet service providers, customer service reps, and even the police. It takes a trained eye to recognize scams from reality, which is why they’re so successful.
Malware as a Cybersecurity Strategy
Any virus that latches on your device is a type of malware. There are classifications like Trojans, spyware, worms, and even kill-ware. These files hijack your device, encrypt, delete, or steal data, and monitor your keystrokes and clicks to view what you’re doing online.
All it takes is for you to click on a bad link and a drive-by download to initiate. Or it can be even worse. You could download a generic file thinking it’s completely safe while it latches with malware. That can happen to PDF, Word, Excel files, and even images. Malware is typically transmitted through shady torrent sites, USB drives, and physical hard disks.
Ransomware is a type of malware that deserves to be a special category. It locks a device and holds the data inside for ransom. If the victim sends the money, the hacker will unlock it. If not, the hacker releases the data online or sells it on the black market. Ransomware presents a check-mate situation where your only option is to surrender. Usually, hackers leave a backdoor so they can enter your device and perform the same attack again.
What Do Hackers Want?
All of these attacks make sense if hackers perform them on large companies. But what do cybercriminals gain from attacking small and medium businesses? The answer is simple. They want sensitive information, money, computing power, or a link to a larger company.
Data on the dark web sells for a lot of money. A few examples include bank account passwords, Social Security Numbers, credit card info, medical records, and company data. Hackers will either abuse or sell this valuable information.
Next comes money. Cybercriminals are looking for a profit. They don’t need to hit the big jackpot with billions of dollars by attacking massive companies like Google, Meta, or Amazon. Instead, they can focus on getting smaller, more frequent paydays by attacking small to medium-sized companies. It’s a win-win situation for them.
Plus, by getting to third-party services, hackers can get to larger organizations. They can either use small businesses as a stepping stone or use their computing power to launch massive DDoS attacks.
How To Prepare A Cybersecurity Strategy?
The first step to overcoming a problem is to admit there is one. You start working on a cybersecurity strategy by performing a risk analysis. You need to know what type of data you have under surveillance and control and which form of it should be prioritized and safeguarded. Then, it’s time to spot vulnerabilities and set objectives. You need to get everyone on board, set a budget, a timetable, and the assets under your control. Create a plan to see what you can do instantly and how you can get better over time.
The next step is to choose security technology. An antivirus, VPN, ad blocker, password manager, and firewall need to be present on every device. All it takes is a single weak point to fail, and the entire system goes down with it. See what tools you already use, and add more if necessary.
Finally, educate and train your employees. Create interactive workshops, perform regular phishing tests, and craft guidelines for everyone to follow. Include rewards and consequences for people not adhering to new safety policies.
Cyberattacks have brought even the largest companies to their knees. Encourage your team to join you on a journey of bettering their personal and professional digital safety.