According to the business insurance company Hiscox, one small business in the UK gets hacked every 19 seconds. That means that there are around 65,000 attacks on businesses each day. Of these, several thousand will be successful.
Given the prevalence of cyber attacks, cybersecurity should be one of the top priorities for any modern business.
But what are the specific threats and what can businesses do to avoid falling foul of the activity of cybercriminals?
In this article, we’ll share some tips for avoiding being the victim of cyberattacks.
What Exactly Is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity encompasses a wide range of technologies, practices, and processes used in the protection of systems, software, networks, and data – all of which are at risk of attack, damage, or theft.
Cybersecurity is often referred to as IT security or electronic information security and can include disaster recovery to ensure businesses are able to continue to operate in the event of a major security breach.
Cybersecurity will also often involve education and training surrounding cybersecurity threats. In addition to improving awareness of threats, cybersecurity training often incorporates best practices on how to deal with cybersecurity risks.
What Are the Cybersecurity Risk Factors?
Much of the world is online now and the fourth industrial revolution is driving change by connecting more devices to the web. The more smart technology we become dependent upon, the more open to cybersecurity risks we become.
Cyber threats are everywhere and are now one of the greatest risks to both businesses and individuals. Because modern technology is predominantly digital, there is a greater vulnerability to cyberattack.
In the first nine months of 2019 alone, 7.9 million digital records were exposed to data breaches. This was double the figure from the year previous and demonstrates that the risks are only growing, not diminishing.
What Types of Cyber Threat Are There?
There are three main types of cyber threat:
- Cybercrime- This is where groups or individuals are targeted for financial gain or to cause panic and disruption
- Cyberattack- This may be politically motivated and involves the unauthorised gathering of data
- Cyberterrorism- Where systems are hacked to cause widespread chaos or fear
Within these threats, cyber criminals and terrorists use a variety of techniques from simple phishing attacks, through to distributed denial of service attacks.
Examples of Cyberattack In the UK and Europe
One attack in recent years has seen both the passengers and crew of a cruise ship having all of their personal data stolen by criminals. Cruise ships often carry a considerable amount of data. Carnival Cruise Lines would carry up to 13-million passengers each year.
When the environmental regulator Sepa refused to pay ransom demands over stolen data, criminals published thousands of files.
In a separate attack, hackers threatened The Hospital Group in a ransomware attack after they stole their patient’s plastic surgery photos.
COVID19 has driven a spike in cybercrime too. In 2020, there was a 20% rise in cybercrime compared with the previous year. Much of this risk has been brought about by people working from home on unsafe networks.
Why Is Cybersecurity So Important?
Without the proper cybersecurity measures in place, there are a wide range of implications. Critical infrastructure is just one example. As 5G networks continue to grow, so too will our connectivity and use of autonomous vehicles. A cyberattack could cause the entire system to fail.
Businesses that experience this type of data breach may find this type of cyberattack to be far-reaching in its consequences. Not only can an attack be costly financially, but it could seriously damage a companies reputation and open them up to legal liability.
What Are the Challenges of Cybersecurity?
All businesses are at risk of a cyber attack and threats come in various forms. Phishing and malware attacks are some of the most common, and businesses need to protect themselves from these.
Phishing attacks are also used by criminals frequently. It is vital that companies invest in training so that their teams are aware of how to spot such a scam.
Keeping systems up-to-date with the latest software is essential if you’re to combat the threat from cybercriminals.
How Do You Protect Your Business From Cyber Attacks?
It’s essential that you have a plan in place to ensure your business is protected from cybercriminals. Your plan should include the following:
- Good IT security begins with taking advice over any new technology you acquire
- There needs to be stringent policies, procedures, and processes in place for spotting and managing vulnerabilities
- Have a procedure for managing routine updates to both hardware and software
- Have a disaster recovery plan in place for if you ever find that your system has been compromised
- Have security controls in place so that systems are monitored and passwords are strong
- Make sure all personal and sensitive data is encrypted
- Carry out regular system audits
One of the ways that you can test and measure for cybersecurity is through network simulation and modeling. Companies such as Antycip provide the necessary virtual models that can be used to pinpoint vulnerabilities in your systems.
Protecting Your Business From Cybersecurity Risks
With such a heightened risk from cybersecurity threats, all businesses need to be prepared. For some, this can be managed in-house. However, if you lack the IT infrastructure to protect yourself you should get assistance from a third-party managed services provider.