With the rise in remote work due to the pandemic, cyberattacks — such as ransomware, data breaches, and phishing — have gone up 600% as a result. It’s more important than ever for businesses to strengthen cybersecurity defenses, and fast.
Costs of Cybercrime
The global costs of cybercrime are growing by 15 percent every year, projected to cost companies worldwide $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, up from $3 trillion in 2015.
Cybercrime affects all industries, but the healthcare and financial industries are especially susceptible to attacks because of the large volume of sensitive data they hold.
Additionally, small to medium-sized businesses are becoming increasingly targeted by cybercriminals. Accenture’s Cost of Cybercrime Study found that 43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses, but only 14% are prepared to defend themselves.
The most common types of attacks on small businesses include:
Phishing/Social Engineering: 57%
Compromised/Stolen Devices: 33%
Credential Theft: 30%
Cyberattacks can impact businesses in many ways — it can cause minor disruptions in operations up to major financial losses. Beyond financial repurcussions, your business may also suffer from:
Loss of productivity
Business continuity problems
Ransomware attacks are also becoming more prevalent as a concern. These attacks occur when malicious software is used to restrict access to a computer system or data until the victim pays the ransom requested by the criminal.
In 2016, a business fell victim to a ransomware attack every 39 seconds, but this is expected to rise to every 11 seconds by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.
By understanding the targets of attacks and consequences, you can minimize damage from attacks, bolster cybersecurity efforts, and even prevent future attacks.
Cybersecurity Best Practices
With the increasing threats to your company’s data, implementing processes to prevent data security breaches is crucial, as well as having adequate professional data breach insurance.
Below are some cybersecurity best practices your business can implement to reduce the risk of cyberattacks.
1. Reduce Data Transfers
Transferring data between business and devices is inevitable with the growing shift to working from home. However, keeping sensitive data on personal devices significantly increases vulnerability to cyberattacks, so only transfer the necessary amount of data to operate smoothly.
2. Download Carefully
Downloading files from unverified sources can expose your systems and devices to security risks. It’s important to only download files from sources and avoid unnecessary downloads to lower your device’s susceptibility to malware.
3. Improve Password Strength
Password strength is the first line of defense against a variety of attacks. Come up with long, complex passwords and regularly update your passwords to reduce risks of being hacked.
4. Update Device Software
Software providers work hard on continuously making their software more secure, and regularly installing the latest updates will make your devices less vulnerable to attacks.
5. Monitor for Data Leaks
Regularly monitoring your data and identifying existing leaks will help mitigate the potential fallout from long-term data leakage. Data breach monitoring tools actively monitor and alert you of suspicious activity.
6. Establish a Breach Response Plan
It’s important to be proactive by developing a data breach response plan since attacks are unpredictable. A formal plan will help you efficiently deal with incidents, assess and minimize damage, and notify the affected parties in a timely manner.
With advances in technology, cybercrime poses a constant threat for businesses. Take steps today to prevent future data breaches and the consequences that follow.