Understanding the risks of cyber threats to your business, enables you to it place the right level of cybersecurity controls to your business. Even the most basic cybersecurity is a necessity today.
The businesses with the weakest cybersecurity defences, will be the ones targeted by cyber criminals. A business implementing multi-layered cybersecurity measures will be the most secure and least likely to be targeted.
What are the cybersecurity threats to my business?
Threats will differ from one business to another. Accountants and solicitors will hold a significant amount of sensitive, personal data, while protecting IPs is a critical factor for engineering or manufacturing businesses, particularly for those supplying to the MOD.
Below, we have listed the most common cyber threats and vulnerabilities posed to businesses:
How much data does your company store? Leakage of sensitive company information
Client, employee and business-critical data are all at risk from inadequate cyber security. If this information got leaked into the public domain how much damage could it do to your business?
Would you want your business data out in the open? If a cyber criminal gets hold of your data, they can release private information into the public domain or even sell it for a profit. This data often includes personal information of employees such as addresses and banking information.
Data Breach/Leak Sensitive Information
A data breach occurs when information is accessible to an individual who isn’t permitted to have access. This can include digital data such as files and media. It can also include physical items such as criminals taking devices and storage equipment such as hard drives etc.
Poor cyber security on your network is an open gate for malware. Worms, viruses, ransomware and more will all cause problems for your business and could cause extended periods of downtime.
Malware is an umbrella term for things such as viruses, trojan horses and ransomware. All of these can bring massive disruption to your business. Sometimes your business will never recover from malware infection. Malware is designed to harvest things such as financial and business information.
Attacks on your customers (using your systems)
What do you think your customers would say if your systems were used to launch a cyber attack against them? Your systems could be used as part of a botnet if you have inadequate cybersecurity.
Quite often once an attack takes place, your systems will be used to spread the attack further. The chances are if your systems get used for an attack it will be passed onto your customers. This then comes with its only complications such as reputational damage.
Damage of defacement of your company resources
Your website is your first sales pitch to potential customers. Now imagine if that was taken over by somebody looking to cause harm to your business reputation. Cyber-attacks on average go undiscovered for 41 days. The attackers can often make background changes without you realising and make them live whenever they want. Hackers can deface your company website giving you a bad image.
Unacceptable use of your systems
If cyber criminals get access to your systems, they could use it for several reasons. Not only could they damage your systems they could use yours to damage other people’s too.
Legal and regulatory sanctions, including GDPR fines
Did you know poor cybersecurity can now get you fined? By not sufficiently protecting your clients’ data you run the risk of lawsuits, government fines and more.
Since May 2018, GDPR regulations has changed the way that businesses save and use personal data. If your data is breached, then you are obliged to report it to the Information Commissioner's Office. An investigation will be launched to make sure you are protecting information correctly. If shortcomings are found in your defences, you could be fined by up to 4% of your annual turnover.
Some companies never recover from a cyber attack. While they may be able to recover data and get systems back up and running the reputational damage can cause more harm than the attack. Customers can quickly lose trust in your business if you’re not protecting their data.
62% of the small to medium-sized business that are hacked go out of business within six months. Quite often this down to the harm to the businesses’ reputation. Word can quickly get around that you don’t have the correct security measures in place. Not only can it put new businesses off working with you, but existing clients can also take their business elsewhere.
Financial loss through fraud
If somebody got full access to your systems how much money would be at their fingertips? Online fraud is on the rise, and it’s more important than ever to protect your company accounts.
The main thing that cyber criminals want is your money. One of the most usual ways they target your money is through fraud. Social engineering is used to allow cyber criminals to pose as yourself. Information can be taken from your work accounts or even your social media. Everybody has something of value to a hacker.
Unauthorised changes to your systems
Cyber criminals can make changes to your systems without you knowing. Not only will these changes affect you in the short-term, but they can leave an ‘open gate’ on your network for them to visit any time they want.
Changes to your system can leave an open gate on your network. These changes mean that hackers can come in and out of your network whenever they like. They can also make changes to your systems such as staff and financial information.
Business disruption from security incidents
How much would one minute of downtime cost you? What about one hour? What about a whole month? Cyber attacks can disrupt your business in several ways. Not only will you spend money fixing the attack you could be losing money from downtime at the same time.
How much would one hour of downtime cost you? How about a day, a week a whole month? Cyber attacks are designed to bring your business to a standstill. This disruption, of course, costs you time and money and could even put you out of business altogether.
Loss of data
Every record, document, file and more is always under threat from cyber attacks. If you were to lose data due to weak cybersecurity, there’s a very slim chance you would ever see that data again.
When was the last time you took a backup of your data? Without regular backups, a cyber attack can easily see months’ worth of data wiped out in an instant. Losing critical data could, in turn, could cost your business money and also have long-lasting reputational damage.
Ransomware is the act of a cybercriminal locking somebody out of their data usually for financial gain. Ransomware is a form of malware that is an umbrella term for things such as viruses and cyber-attacks. Once a user gets locked out of their data, payment will be demanded by the criminal. Although it is recommended by security experts to not pay the ransom, we are seeing trends of more businesses taking out cyber insurance, which can be used to pay for a ransom.
Loss/theft of devices
If your device falls into the wrong hands would they be able to access your data? Make sure things such as two-factor authentication, secure passwords and the ability to remotely disable a device are implemented in your business.
Did you know the biggest threat to your data is the people you employ? Without the correct user training, your data will be extremely vulnerable. Not only can your information be accidentally lost there could also be malicious insiders in your business.
It’s important to regularly check who has access to what and revoke any access that doesn’t need to be used anymore.
If you’re looking to make your business cyber safe, remember to lean on an expert and ask lots of questions. Hopefully you have a better understanding of the cybersecurity threats to your business after reading this article.
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