Nobody would disagree with you if you said that cybersecurity is essential. However, if you asked them to take time out of their day or inconvenience themselves in the name of cybersecurity, you might find that people are less agreeable. This is because although people understand the term, they can’t quite connect it up with how it is relevant to them.
What are the risks
The thing most at risk from threats to your cybersecurity is your sensitive information, particularly customer information. Hackers will try to get hold of financial information, which poses a clear financial risk, but they will also find and sell valuable customer information. This then not only damages the reputation of your business but could mean that you are fined for not properly safeguarding sensitive data.
Cybercriminals will also leverage fragile connectivity so that they can use ransomware to disrupt your business and, in particular, the IoT (Internet of Things). If you have a lot of smart technology, this could pose a great deal of risk.
They are evolving as technology does
Cybercriminals are intelligent. As technology evolves, the threats evolve too. More and more businesses are utilising the cloud to store customer data, and as they do, the threat to that data is growing. This is creating new challenges, especially for small businesses.
AI and machine learning are the emerging technologies that everyone is getting excited about. Unfortunately, just as we can utilise this technology to improve our businesses, so cybercriminals can utilise it to expose weaknesses in our defences and make their attacks more effective. Similarly, creative cybercriminals can ‘poison’ machine learning, by sneaking in malicious code that causes the programme to malfunction.
Even smart contracts such as those used by Ethereum aren’t safe. It’s such a new technology that researchers are still finding bugs that can be exploited. This is something that any cybersecurity policy will need to cover in the future.
How you can be prepared
For small businesses, staying on top of cybersecurity can seem like an unending task that is taking you away from the core functions of your business. Plus, because cybercriminals are evolving so quickly, it can be hard to stay on top of what you need to be doing to keep your business safe. To give yourself the best possible chance of keeping your business safe, you could enlist a small business IT support provider. You can pay the experts to keep your business safe, while you do what you do best.
There are also some measures that can be implemented quickly and efficiently to up your security level, both in your business and personal life:
- Encrypt your data, especially customer data.
- Backup your system so that if you are the victim of a ransomware attack, you don’t lose everything.
- Educate your staff on cybersecurity, particularly on phishing attacks, which will often be targeted at employee email addresses.
- Ensure that customer data is secured behind a firewall.
- Be mindful of social media; people create fake accounts that they will use to gain access to your data. Only befriend people online who you know actually exist.
- Limit the amount of personal data you put online. If it’s not there, nobody can steal it!
- Keep your software updated. Software companies will release updates to fix bugs, including vulnerabilities to Cyber Attack.
- Use multi-factor authentication. It’s a bit annoying but effective.
Finally, try hacking yourself. If you can get in, then you need to rethink your security.