Taking your business into the digital realm can sometimes present you with a real paradox: so many risks on one hand, but so many vital opportunities on the other.
In 2018, US businesses reportedly lost $2.7 billion to cybercrime, whilst in the UK, government has made a multi-million pound investment in equipping every police unit in England and Wales with its own cybercrime division. The message is clear: cyber threats are a modern reality that will continue to affect individuals and businesses into 2019 and beyond.
AI, IoT technologies and cloud-based services, however, have irreversibly infiltrated our business and personal lives. So, for your business to remain competitive, it’s essential for your organisation to remain agile and alert as it evolves into the digital age. You must ensure that you are well informed about potential threats so that you can secure your networks and digital assets against cybercriminals.
The top 5 security issues facing companies in 2019 may look similar to the suspects we rounded up last year, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.
Cybercriminals are getting hungrier, smarter, more knowledgeable, and their methods increasingly more sophisticated and difficult to detect by the untrained eye.
1. The popularity of the BYOD model
Inviting your employees to bring their own devices to work is a popular feature that many businesses are benefiting from. It releases your business from the financial obligation of investing in depreciating assets and keeps employees happy by allowing them to work with the hardware that best suits their needs.
The danger here, however, is external devices are far more likely to expose your company’s network. While most of your employees will hopefully be trustworthy, loyal individuals, you never know when you might encounter a bad seed or be at the mercy of a disgruntled employee who has access to all your business data on their personal device.
Employee’s devices limit your ability to keep an inventory of everything that is hooked up to your network or detect where your confidential data is being stored.
2. Inadequate security strategies
Many small businesses have an, “It won’t happen to us,” approach when it comes to cyber threats. If you think, “Why would anyone want to bother with a business that’s not turning over large figures, surely cybercriminals have bigger fish to fry?”, you’d be wrong.
Small businesses are a prime target and easy pickings for cybercriminals because of the soft barriers and lack of protective infrastructure in their way. In the US, cyber attacks on small businesses (one of the biggest employers in that country) are putting the economy at risk.
Half of the businesses to experience cybercrime in 2017 admitted to not knowing how to protect their business against cybercrime. The same report that brings these figures to light also points out that the cost of a data breach for a small company could be as much as $149,000.
3. Vulnerabilities in new technology
Increasingly, traditional brick-and-mortar type businesses are stepping into the digital age, adapting their internal processes and services to cater to the e-commerce market. This results in more and more corporate data taking digital form, being stored online and on devices which are predisposed to loss, damage, theft and misuse.
Due to the nature of some trades, you may decide to have specialist in-house software designed just for your business. However, this software may not be as protected against malware as other generic digital tools as it’s not likely that it will be updated as often.
In addition, most devices require you to have connectivity to other devices and networks to make use of all the features. This can be difficult to track and easier for malicious content to infiltrate your devices and use your personal data through spyware and fake applications.
4. New tech vs outdated equipment
Legacy systems and equipment are often the most challenging factor when it comes to upgrading a business’ processes, and so companies will often delay doing this until they absolutely have to.
The cost associated with replacing equipment and software, as well as retraining employees, is often far too significant for some companies to factor into their budgets.
Unfortunately, however, older equipment is far more easily susceptible to infection by malware.
In many ways, technology facilitates far more transparency between the organisation, its leaders and employees. Software such as MS Teams can improve communication, foster accountability and enhance the overall productivity of your staff, companies may leave themselves open and vulnerable to malicious intent, particularly by disgruntled employees or even just callousness.
The inability to identify phishing emails (fraudulent emails) or fall prey to ransomware, are also factors that affect your cybersecurity and are directly related to the knowledge and experience your staff has with these kinds of issues.
Furthermore, there’s the issue of the generic office password that employees or managers assign and don’t update. Maintaining good password management practices will go a long way to ensuring that employees not only protect your business but also themselves.
Are you protected?
Perhaps you’ve had a brush with cybercriminals in the past and set up a few barriers since. However, when was the last time you took active measures to protect your information systems and upgrade your security framework?
The truth is, a cyber attack could be crippling for any organisation, and spotting the loopholes requires a professional approach. The best place to start is by seeking the advice of a security expert.
We offer a no-obligation service, and whether you’re at the initial set up stages of your business or are looking to bolster your current efforts, we’d be happy to discuss the best options for your company.
Don't hesitate to get in touch, or simply give us a call on 01908 571510.