Cybersecurity became a buzzword in the early months of the COVID pandemic. The shift from on-premises work to work-from-home setups was a golden opportunity for cybercriminals to do their thing. According to one survey, the number of cyberattacks using previously unknown methods spiked from 20% pre-pandemic to 35% during the pandemic.
The era of doing business beyond the office is no time to be lax about ensuring the security of your business’s IT infrastructure. Somewhere within the system is a vulnerability that hackers can’t wait to exploit. If your business shows the following signs, your cybersecurity system may be overdue for an overhaul.
1. An Overconfident Business Owner
Okay, so you’re probably the owner of a small mom-and-pop shop in the neighborhood reading this guide. You might think that you’re too small of a business for hackers to bother. After all, the larger companies keep more money around than what your humble cash register can hold.
But cybersecurity experts agree that such a mindset is dangerous, especially in this day and age. Statistics over the years show that around half of all reported cyberattacks, if not more, targeted small businesses or companies with less than 100 employees. Cybercriminals are like lightning, taking the path of least resistance, and the highly vulnerable small businesses are it.
Experts also state that spending less than USD$500 on beefing up a business’s cybersecurity system essentially leaves the door wide open for hackers. While it’s perfectly normal to feel hesitant about investing a fortune in top-tier privacy protection, the threat of losing millions to data theft almost always justifies such spending.
If cost is an issue for you, working with service providers like Fusion, providing IT services in Toronto, and others can help with that. Any effort in enhancing a cybersecurity system always starts with planning, which includes determining the upfront cost and cost over time.
2. Constant Software Update Reminders
Most software lets users know when it needs an update, which prompts them to choose between installing the update now or reminding them later (the next day or in a few weeks). Sadly, most people are guilty of clicking the latter—not just once but one time too many.
Experts say that everyone needs to do away with this unhealthy habit. Software updates contain patches and other necessary changes to the code to keep up with the rapid pace of technological advances. In the case of cybersecurity, these updates mainly involve plugging holes in the code.
Updates become even more critical when you realize that cybersecurity threats have come a long way since the late 1990s. In one report, the extent of the damage they cause has grown from simple disruptions to fostering a “world without trust.” Your software in place since the 1990s may be enough to deter viruses, but cybercriminals don’t rely on them as much today.
3. Too Much Data
Make no mistake: data is an indispensable resource in cybersecurity, especially in detecting data breaches. Professionals go through an indeterminable amount of data every day; if there’s such a breach, they won’t be able to find it immediately. One study estimates it takes more than half a year to locate the breach and an additional three months to contain it.
As such, it’s imperative that businesses only gather the data they need instead of trying to get everything. Fortunately, modern data analytics tools and techniques enable companies and organizations to go through data with relative ease. They employ the latest technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things.
4. Lack Of Awareness
As mentioned at the start, cybercriminals tend to take the easiest path to perpetrate their crimes. Sometimes, the easiest way doesn’t involve using sophisticated hacking tech but outwitting their unsuspecting victims.
The industry refers to such exploitations as “social engineering.” Something as unassuming as a well-crafted email with a compelling message to an employee can cause them to perform actions that would be considered a security risk. The interactions aren’t only limited between computers; cybercriminals can attempt to earn the victim’s trust over a cup of coffee.
The horrific effectiveness of social engineering makes cyberattacks like phishing widely used, even more in the post-COVID workplace. One cybersecurity firm recently noted the existence of a phishing email allegedly coming from the employees’ chief information officers (CIO). The link contained leads the users to provide their login credentials.
As this article explained, the success of a cyberattack relies on a weak infrastructure and a lack of awareness. These are not the only signs business owners should observe. The post-COVID business climate will demand more substantial protection, something only the business owner can decide.