Identifying Your Risk: Why your business needs a cyber security risk review

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Since the onset on Covid, organizations – irrespective of their size – have become exponentially more vulnerable to cyber threats. Our ever-increasing reliance on technology, networks, software, and even social media, can inadvertently invite cyber attacks; resulting in a catastrophic loss of business and personal data. So, what’s the biggest threat to your cyber security? You and the people you work with.

You may think we’re talking about disgruntled employees – which can certainly be the case – but, more commonly, it’s you and your trustworthy coworkers. Owners and employees who haven’t been trained to identify risks or take precautions related to cyber security.

Did you know that Malicious emails are up 600% due to COVID-19, 37% of organizations were affected by ransomware attacks in the last year, and experts estimate that a ransomware attack will occur every 11 seconds in 2021.

According to research, the most common IT security threats are: Uninformed Employees, No IT Security Policy, Bring Your Own Device (#BYOD) and Remote Working (#WFH), Cloud Applications, Lack of a Disaster Recovery Plan, and Neglecting to Partner With an IT Cyber Security Specialist.

Let’s break each risk down, followed by preventative measures…

Uninformed Employees

Employees put their company’s data or systems at risk because they do not have the required training to understand the latest cyber threats that can harm the business they work for. In fact, 46% of cybersecurity incidents last year were due to employee error. What should they avoid?

Here’s the short list…

  • Avoid clicking on suspicious links
  • Don’t open or download email attachments from an unknown sender
  • Never click on pop ups
  • Use a strong password system, with 2 factor authentication
  • Do not visit unsecure websites (check for the lock icon in the search bar)

No Clear IT Security Policy

Your IT Security Policy should be the go-to resource that mitigates threats. A comprehensive policy should cover the education of employees, protocols for a threat or breach, and how employees should protect valuable data; whether on site or remotely. The IT Security Policy should also address issues regarding #BYOD rules, establish cybersecurity regulations, and include step-by step-instructions when facing a threat.

A cyber security policy should include:

  • A list of confidential data
  • Device security measures for company and personal use
  • Email security
  • Data transfer measures
  • Disciplinary action, should the rules be ignored

Bring Your Own Device and Remote Working

Many people use their own devices (#BYOD) in the workplace. But, downloading and accessing data and sensitive information can compromise your company’s data if their device lacks the same level of security that your business has established. Additionally, employees who work from home, and log into your network remotely, can breach your organisation’s cyber security.

Steps employees should take to safeguard company data:

  • Connect to secure Wi-Fi (via a VPN) whenever accessing company data
  • Install a firewall, antivirus, advanced endpoint protection
  • Make sure software and operating systems are automatically updated
  • Never link a business account to your personal account
  • Enable 2FA/MFA on devices and systems when available

Cloud Applications

The cloud offers considerable advantages over traditional on-site or physical data storage: from significantly increased data storage capacity and cost-effectiveness to easy accessibility and collaboration. But, what most people don’t know is that hackers can access all of that information too. So, unless you want to become a victim of a ransomware attack, it is essential to have a cyber security IT partner who will encrypt and secure your data from internal and external threats.

What can you do to ensure data security in the cloud? In addition to the tips already listed…

  • Read the User Agreement Thoroughly Before You Sign Up
  • Don’t Upload Personal Information (such as your birthday, your mother’s maiden name, your children’s school or activity schedules, etc)
  • Don’t Store Sensitive Information (credit card numbers, passwords, passport info, etc)

No Disaster Recovery Plan

Should a breach take place and data is wiped, corrupted, or held for ransom, a disaster recovery plan ensures that you can minimise losses. A disaster recovery plan – in addition to an IT security policy – helps your business respond quickly and recover as soon as possible; minimising damage and costly downtime.

At minimum, your disaster recovery plan should include the following steps…

  • Know Your Threats
  • Identify Your Assets
  • Use Data Replication Redundancy – Store on hard drives, save in the cloud, export to encrypted flash drives, utilize hybrid cloud storage.
  • Test Backups and Restoration of Services on a Regular Basis

Neglecting to Partner With an IT Cyber Security Specialist

The amount of digital data has increased exponentially over the last few years. At the same time, hackers have become immeasurably more skilled. So, neglecting to partner with a cyber security specialist could literally cost you your business; affecting the lives of everyone involved.

There is a clear need to perform threat assessments and implement cyber security measures to reduce your organization’s risk of cyber attacks. Protection against cyberthreats is an investment, but it’s not nearly as expensive as the cost of losing all of your data. It’s no longer enough to rely on traditional technology protection or security controls for information security.

Data that could historically be addressed with IT risk management, now needs to be protected by well-trained cyber security professionals, revolutionary software applications and rigorous cyber attack prevention.