Cybersecurity Best Practices To Protect Your Business from Cybercrime
From added costs to operational and reputational damage, the impact of cybercrime on businesses can be enormous, so it’s no surprise that cyberattacks are rated the fifth highest risk across private and public sectors. Yet protecting your organization from these consequences can overwhelm your staff and resources, especially if you don’t have the expertise in house to keep up with the evolving threats. Fortunately, there are some cybersecurity best practices any company can adopt.
Here we’ll uncover the biggest threats to your organization today, the risk to your bottom line, and the top steps you can take to protect your company’s data – and its future.
What is cybercrime?
Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves a computer, networked device, or a network. It can be carried out by individuals or organizations. Either way, the general intent behind an attack is to make money, although some cybercrime is committed for personal or political reasons.
What are types of cybercrime?
Technology continues to evolve and so do cyber criminals. From old threats to emerging risks, here are some of the most common types of cybercrime you may face today.
- Malware, including mobile malware. Malware is any type of malicious software that is intended to harm or exploit a computer system or network.
- Ransomware. Ransomware is a type of malware used to extort money by holding your data or devices ransom. It remains a top threat today; in 2020, 51% of organizations were hit by a ransomware attack.
- Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) attacks. Hackers attack remote desktop infrastructure – increasing now with the rise of remote workers – to get access to a corporate environment, which can enable them to search your intellectual properties and other data.
- Phishing. With a phishing scheme, spam emails or other communications are sent with the intention of tricking recipients into doing something that undermines their security or the security of the organization they work for. Often, they manipulate human psychology to attain specific goals (for example, capitalizing on pandemic fears).
- Data breaches. A data breach is a security incident in which information is accessed without authorization. Every year, the number of data breach incidents increase, rising 273% in the first quarter of 2020 alone.
- Email-based thefts. There are several forms these can take, including Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks. BEC attacks occur when a criminal poses as a genuine vendor or supplier and tries to persuade an employee to make payment to a different account. Other varieties include impersonation of a company executive to get an employee to wire money.
- Distributed Denial-of-Service Attack. These coordinated attacks are used to bring down a system or network by overloading them with a maximum number of junk requests. An example of this is the 2017 attack on the UK National Lottery website.
And certain businesses are more likely to be attacked than others. These include:
- banks and financial institutions
- healthcare companies
- higher education
- government agencies
- small businesses
- energy companies
What are the impacts of cybercrime on a business?
Some cybercrime costs are quantifiable while others are not. Either way, the impacts to an organization can be significant and may include:
- damage and destruction of data
- stolen money
- lost productivity
- theft of intellectual property or financial data
- operational disruptions
- forensic investigation
- restoration and deletion of hacked data and systems
- reputational damage
- lost revenue due to a drop in confidence among consumers
- legal liability
- increased expenses such as hiring lawyers
It’s important to note that when a smaller company has to deal with these consequences, it can be devastating. In fact, more than half of all cyberattacks are committed against small to mid-sized businesses, and 60 percent of them go out of business within six months of falling victim to a data breach or hack.
What cybersecurity best practices can I follow to protect my company?
Despite the rise in cybercrime, many businesses remain susceptible to attacks. One reason is a lack of relevant knowledge; many businesses have little to no understanding of the issues and often don’t know they’ve been attacked until it’s too late. According to IBM, it takes a company 197 days to discover a breach.
Another reason companies are vulnerable is because of a lack of resources. 45% of small to medium sized businesses say their processes are ineffective at mitigating attacks.
To protect your business, here are 7 cybersecurity best practices to follow.
- Educate employees. Train your staff on cybersecurity dos and don’ts, like don’t click on links in spam emails, do avoid unnecessary downloads, and do improve your passwords. For example, passwords should be at least 12 characters in length and contain at least one of each of these: uppercase letter, lowercase letter, number, and symbol.
- Routinely evaluate your security. Review every system, function, and area to assess any risks, then create a list of priorities based on your evaluation.
- Employ multi-factor authentication. Require additional information beyond a password to gain entry to sensitive information.
- Create back-ups. Be sure to make back-up copies of important business data and information like HR files and financial files. Do this at least weekly and store the copies offsite or in the cloud.
- Update your software. Stay on top of updates that are released and install them so you benefit from the latest security patches.
- Limit employee access. Only allow workers to have access to the systems they need to do their jobs.
- Make security come from the top down. There needs to be a shift so that executives view security as everyone’s responsibility, and not just the role of certain staff, and education is key.
How to Best Defend Against Cybercrime
As cyberthreats continue to increase and evolve, staying on top of the latest cybersecurity best practices for companies is essential to protect your organization. Since the most impactful way you can lower risk is training, find out the best ways to train workers to best defend against cybercriminals.
If you partner with vendors who have access to sensitive information like payroll, you’ll also want to make sure they’re using the latest approaches to protect your company’s information. Read how Complete Payroll Solutions’ security practices protects your data from theft and misuse.