Cybercrime comes in a variety of flavors and isn’t limited to email spoofs and phishing schemes. Malware, DDoS attacks, and ransomware are now three of the top cybercrime threats faced by every business across the world.
The evidence is clear: cybercrime is a credible threat to your business. In in the first six months of 2017, CNBC reported that 918 individual data breaches had been disclosed, compromising more than 1.9 billion data records. That’s a staggering 164% rise in reported breaches compared to the previous year. The significant rise is likely due to an increase in reported data breaches, and not necessarily due to a drastic increase in cybercrime.
The number of reported breaches will continue to rise due to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) reporting requirements.
You Need Strategies To Survive A Cybercrime Fallout
Cybercrime doesn’t directly destroy a business. The permanent damage is caused during the aftermath. For instance, after a data breach, many company shareholders experience a negative impact on share price, costing them millions or billions of dollars. Sometimes company secrets get leaked, and customers take their business elsewhere.
You can’t avoid all attacks, but you can prevent complete destruction by using these strategies:
Always Use A Vpn On Every Wi-Fi Network
Wi-Fi passwords aren’t just for preventing cheap neighbors from stealing your internet. A WPA2 password-protected router also encrypts the data sent between your device and the router. Unfortunately, WPA2 has vulnerabilities that allow attackers to decrypt encrypted Wi-Fi traffic when they’re in the range of your device and router. Thankfully, these vulnerabilities don’t compromise VPN or HTTPS traffic.
Use a VPN to protect your data regardless of what Wi-Fi network you use. If you buy a router that claims to encrypt all data, use a VPN anyway. Make it your policy that all devices connecting to your network must be using a VPN, too.
Get Cyber Insurance
If you end up among the 43% of small businesses targeted by cybercriminals, you’ll regret not having cyber insurance. About 4,000 small businesses are attacked each day. The most common indirect costs from a cyberattack, according to King Price, are:
- A damaged business reputation including broken trust from customers
- Loss of business
- Extensive downtime while you sort out the mess
- Under GDPR regulations, you’ll have to pay to investigate the incident and help clients mitigate their potential losses
Ransomware attacks might be the worst. A ransomware attack can prevent access to proprietary information needed to run the business. For example, a clothing company locked out of their files won’t be able to send design proofs to manufacturers. Customers that pre-ordered items will be disappointed, and many will lose trust in the business. Similarly, a business in the middle of a tax audit probably won’t get a free pass from the IRS when they get locked out of their financial archives.
Scan And Clean Your Files Before Backing Them Up
Backing up your data won’t do any good if your backup files are infected. Instead of performing backups on a whim, designate a day and time for the process. Scan your files with antivirus software and clean infected files before transferring anything to your backup drive.
Train Your Employees And Contractors
Statistics show that 60% of small companies go out of business within six months of a cyberattack. Many can’t afford to rebuild network systems or recover their reputation. According to the Ponemon Institute, cleaning up after a cyberattack costs small businesses an average of $690,000.
Most low-level threats can be avoided by having a solid security policy in place that employees and contractors follow. You can’t afford to compromise on your data security policies.
If your employees are allowed to bring their own device to work, their increase in productivity comes at a price. Personal laptops are a major security risk to your company. Your BYOD policy must be strict, and employees need to understand the risks they’re taking when they cut corners.
All it takes to become vulnerable to attack is one employee skipping one security policy. If you work with contractors, don’t allow them to save company passwords in their browser. Discourage them from using public Wi-Fi to perform their work, and if they can’t avoid it, suggest (or buy them) a good VPN.
Protocols Are Everything
In a world where cybercrime poses a real threat to every business, you need to enforce the protection of every device used to perform work for your company. Making antivirus and VPN software available is a good first step, but only a strict protocol enforced without exception will protect your business.
If you are interested in even more technology-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels then we have a lot to choose from.