Investing in Proactive Cybersecurity Measures is Your Best Defense Against Rising Cybercrime
Dependence on technology is at an all-time high. Whether it’s communicating with colleagues, purchasing products and services online, or reading the news, everyone uses technology to do various personal and work tasks. This increased dependence on technology also means everyone faces greater cyber risks, which means everyone must be attentive to protecting sensitive data.
As Cybercrime Increases Dramatically, So Does the Cost of Cyberattacks
Furthermore, IBM Security’s 2020 Cost of Data Security Breach report revealed that having a remote workforce increased the average cost of a breach by $137,000. While large corporations may be able to afford the cost of cyberattacks, small businesses often cannot.
More concerning than the enormous costs of a data breach is the fact that human error is often the leading cause of breaches. These errors include accidentally leaking sensitive personal information, using or reusing weak passwords, or mistakenly clicking on a malicious link in a phishing email. Some of the most well-known data breaches were caused by mistakes made by employees, including the Equifax breach in 2017 that exposed the personal information of over 147 million people.
Cyber risks posed by negligent employees are clearly a major IT security concern, and even advanced firewalls, security patches, complex passwords, and encryption may no longer be sufficient to protect against risks that result from human error. Moreover, attackers are getting smarter and are using a variety of techniques and tools to hack into IT systems.
Fortunately, your business has access to plenty of resources that can help you protect against cybercrimes. For many companies, however, the challenge revolves around choosing which cybersecurity measures to implement based on their cyber risk profile.
Why Small Businesses Must Invest in Security as Cyber Risks Increase
All types of businesses are a target of cyberattacks. But small businesses are a particularly excellent target for cybercriminals for a very good reason.
Like big corporations, small businesses process and store a considerable amount of data, including personal data (Social Security numbers), health/medical data (protected health information), and financial data (credit card and bank account details). But unlike corporations, small businesses tend to have less capacity and fewer resources to prevent attacks and survive a breach. This is why for small business owners like yourself, it’s more imperative than ever to get the support of a dependable IT solutions provider.
It’s also worth noting that with the increased adoption of remote work due to the pandemic, businesses have to fend off a variety of cyberattacks targeted at remote and hybrid workers now and in the future. These include social engineering scams, data leakage, and malicious applications, to name a few. The proliferation of remote workers, equipped with laptops and mobile devices has resulted in increased exposure to cyber risks, particularly threats targeting a highly mobile workforce, including the following:
- Application-based threats – come from apps that look legitimate but skim devices for personal and business data. These can be avoided by keeping your workers informed about access permissions when installing mobile apps and making sure data stored on devices used for work are encrypted.
- Network-based threats – commonly emerge from wireless networks like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. One way to protect against these threats is to connect only to trusted networks using WPA2, regarded as the safest encryption type.
- System-based threats – device vulnerabilities that result from manufacturer error. These can be mitigated by updating devices’ operating systems in a timely manner.
In addition, businesses in regulated industries are also required to comply with risk and compliance rules. For instance, healthcare organizations must comply with HIPAA privacy rules, while organizations that deal with personal private information must comply with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which imposes standards on data storage. Failure to comply will result in regulatory action, including hefty fines and other sanctions.
Simply put, many small businesses can’t afford to skip on reliable cybersecurity measures. While all businesses are targets of cyberattacks, not all are capable of preventing one, much less shouldering the costs associated with a breach. That said, it is possible for your employees to avoid committing mistakes that could lead to a data breach, provided you invest in proactive cybersecurity measures and proper IT security education. Gant Systems recommends conducting comprehensive cybersecurity training for your workforce. This is to empower your team to spot phishing attempts, avoid accidental malware installs on their devices, and practice safe cyber habits.
Why Cyber Liability Insurance Should Not Be Seen As Optional
But even with a solid cyber risk strategy, your business may still succumb to a breach. This is where cyber liability insurance comes in. Cyber liability insurance, or cyber insurance, offers businesses protection from the huge costs of a cyberattack. In a worst-case scenario, it can help you recover from a crippling financial loss.
A comprehensive cyber liability coverage will act as your safety net against many types of cyber incidents and can cover costs like attorney’s fees, fines/penalties, incidental expenses, costs related to reputation loss, and other expenses. If your small business handles customer names and addresses, Social Security numbers, bank account or credit card information, or medical information, a cyber insurance policy can protect you against threats that can compromise these forms of critical data.
However, cyber insurance is often deemed optional, mainly due to their perception that their business is immune to attacks. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Small businesses are prime targets for cybercrime. In fact, Verizon Data Breach Investigations reported that 43% of cybercrime victims are small businesses, with 60% of SMBs failing to recover after suffering an attack.
Note, however, that cyber liability insurance merely covers financial losses. The responsibility to implement safeguards and make sure all the gaps in your IT security infrastructure are filled still falls on you as a business owner. But while assessing your cyber risks, investing in the right IT security tools, and choosing the right cyber liability insurance policy can be daunting for small business owners like you, we are here to help.
Gant Systems is your partner in creating a robust cybersecurity strategy for your small business in Memphis, Tennessee and surrounding areas. We can help fill the gaps in your security infrastructure and guide you through your business’s cybersecurity prevention and education needs. Schedule an assessment with our Managed Security Services team today.