Investment in determined cybersecurity ranks among basic business expenditures. Licenses, utilities, leased space, insurance, and working with a third-party managed IT cybersecurity specialist are all part of the cost of doing business.
When an entrepreneur, CEO, or another decision-maker fails to follow through on necessities, the results often prove disastrous. It may be wise to consider not having flood insurance when a hurricane hits on equal footing with inadequate cybersecurity when a hacker breaches your system.
According to information from a 2019 Norton report, data breaches stunned a staggering number of organizations. Consider these numbers.
- Number of publicly known data breaches topped 3,800.
- More than 4 billion digital records were exposed.
- A 54 percent increase in hacks reported compared to the previous year.
It does not take a detective to read between the lines. Data breaches are on the rise and cybersecurity firms are warning clients to harden their defenses.
“Most companies are still not practicing basic cyber hygiene best practices which would prevent a majority of the cybersecurity incidents. First, businesses need to properly identify the digital ‘crown jewels’ and implement additional protection on that data,” Don Baham, president of Kraft Technology Group, reportedly said.
The question industry leaders may want to consider is not whether you have a security strategy in place. Rather, are you doing enough to keep pace with increasingly sophisticated threats?
Are Companies Doing Enough to Protect Consumer Data?
Perhaps the most common misstep professionals make is operating under the assumption data breaches are a matter of playing the odds. For some, getting hacked appears to mirror playing Powerball. The number of companies leveraging the Cloud far outweighs the number of digital criminals.
“It is our experience that there are still many companies who take the ‘I doubt it will happen to us’ approach when it comes to their network security and backups,” Joe Cannata, owner of Techsperts, reportedly said. “I find myself surprised at times that I still have to convince clients on the importance of basic network security and cloud backups.”
Some small business owners also incorrectly think cybercriminals prefer to target large corporations to make big scores. Nothing could be further from the truth. A 2020 Verizon report indicates that more than 40 percent of cyber-attacks target small businesses.
“It has been said that ‘there are only two types of companies, ‘those that have been breached and know it and those that have been breached and don’t know it.’” Anthony Buonaspina, CEO of LI Tech Advisors, reportedly said. “Many data breaches can be prevented by basic cybersecurity measures such as making sure that all devices that access sensitive data are managed and have the proper security in place.
Companies need to have a security policy that includes home devices as well as work ones, especially in this remote access world we have been quickly forced into.”
Experts Agree Many Data Breaches are Preventable
One of the reasons cybersecurity experts continue to advise companies to increase their measures stems from intimate knowledge about hackers.
Cybercriminals often view improved defenses as a challenge, and they craft sophisticated schemes to sidestep them.
An ongoing chess match exists in which honest cybersecurity experts create business protections and hackers relentlessly try to breach your system. According to John Beyer, of Realized Solutions, these are necessary measures organizations need to take right now.
- Close unnecessary services.
- Monitor both incoming and outgoing traffic.
- Provide all users and service accounts ‘least privilege’ access.
- Maintain strong backups.
- Apply software and security patches.
- Download and install a VPN.
- Change passwords with regularity.
- Implement Multi-Factor Authentication.
- Train users on how to recognize and report malicious actors.
“Many companies implement one or more of these, but few strictly enforce all of them,” Beyer reportedly said. “The ‘bad’ actors can fail many, many times.
A network admin only needs to fail once for a breach, so there is a much higher standard for the network administrator.”
Experts Agree Cybersecurity Awareness & Training Remains Crucial
Typical defenses include items such as enterprise-level antivirus software, firewalls, and improved password protections. Because industry leaders have been reasonably good about utilizing these defenses, hackers have pivoted to focus on under-trained remote workers.
“The vast majority of data breaches and other cyber-attacks are the result of users being tricked to either give an attacker access to the internal network or give them the password to a cloud host solution.
The number one way to prevent data breaches is to train users on how to spot and respond to cyber-attacks,” Samantha ‘Sam’ Motz, owner of Motz Technologies, reportedly said. “By properly training end-users, they will be able to spot and report potential cyber-attacks.
While the cost and labor involved in training an entire workforce may seem daunting, it pales in comparison to the potential losses, not only financial but your reputation as well.”