Cyber-attacks on both personal and business digital devices continue to increase. We’re here to walk you through some of the most important cybersecurity trends to be aware of and how to keep your business protected.
Phishing via emails and text messages
These days, most businesses consider emails to be an essential part of their day-to-day operations. Whether you’re sending messages internally to other team members, or connecting with vendors, customers and clients, emails come and go all day long. And with so many people using email, the chances of your business becoming vulnerable to a phishing attack increase.
Scammers don’t always use email to gain access to important business data, though. They can also send text messages or even call members of your staff and pose as a customer or someone within the business to trick the individual into handing over confidential details.
They’ll use familiar names, before asking the recipient to click on a link or tell them bank account or password information over the phone. Once they have this, the scammers are able to log in to your business’s systems, access private data, and possibly take money directly from your business bank account. At that point, you’ve become the latest victim of a phishing scam.
The FBI considers phishing to be the third most common type of scam, with 83% of businesses reporting attacks in the last year alone. With statistics this high, it’s incredibly concerning that over 90% of people admit that they’re not able to identify a phishing email or scam.
Education about scams like this is so important when it comes to protecting your business. Schedule regular IT training for your staff, including how to identify a phishing attempt. This should include details about what to look for, along with how to report a suspicious message to the relevant people.
Working with a dedicated IT team is one of the best ways to keep your business safe. Along with implementing training sessions, your IT team members should be rolling out additional preventative strategies to protect your company from scammers and cyber threats.
Cloud storage vulnerability
Moving your business information into the cloud is a helpful way to keep your digitized records organized and allow different stakeholders within the company to access documents they need quickly and efficiently. But with cloud storage also comes the potential for cybersecurity breaches.
With multiple devices across your business connected to a centralized cloud, you run a greater risk of being compromised. If one computer or phone is impacted, it doesn’t take much time at all for hackers and scammers to take data from the connected network on that single device.
Sensitive data like business finances, employee PHI and customer information could all be at risk if stored in an unsecured cloud system. File-based malware can easily be installed, where malicious files can be uploaded into the cloud and spread via the local network to every device in the system.
While human error is often the cause for breaches in these systems, there are processes that can be put in place ahead of time to protect users and walk them through procedures that can safeguard the data you have stored.
Ensuring good “password hygiene”, where users are required to update their logins frequently and use secure passwords, can be beneficial. Multi-factor authentication for all cloud systems also makes logging in more challenging for potential scammers.
Threats from within your company
You want to feel like you can trust the people you’ve hired to work for you. In most cases, you can. But sometimes, there may be an individual or two who slip through the cracks and put your organization at risk.
While these types of cybersecurity attacks are rare, it’s important to be aware that they can, and do, happen. Typically, a threat from within your own company will come when an employee is financially motivated to pass sensitive data to a third party. This then enables that third party to carry out further cyberattacks on your business.
Current and former employees, contractors, vendors, and even service providers can all become threats within your company. With access to and familiarity with the business’s networks, policies, and procedures, it’s all too easy to slip past security systems and exploit the vulnerabilities or gaps in these.
Even the best individuals you’ve hired can accidentally expose your business to criminals through negligent actions like using weak passwords or clicking on a phishing email link. Ensuring that your business runs frequent IT and cybersecurity training for all staff remains one of the best ways to prevent attacks from happening.
Ransomware on your business devices
Phishing attacks can have a number of different objectives. While many scammers want immediate access to money or confidential data, ransomware attacks are becoming more prevalent and are something that all businesses should be aware of.
Ransomware allows hackers to control an entire company’s digital network. With access to all of your business data, the scammer will take every copy and block anyone else from accessing it. They’ll then hold this data for ransom, issuing a threat to extort money from the business in order for you to reclaim the data.
In many cases, even if the business moves ahead with paying the ransom, the scammers will never hand back the data. Worst of all, with the data still in their hands, they can use this information to further attack your business.
Training employees on how to avoid phishing scams is a must, but so too is ensuring that your internal systems are adequately equipped to deal with a potential threat of this nature. Backing up and encrypting data on a separate network or storage system means that you’ll always have a safe copy, even if a breach occurs.
If your business does fall victim to a ransomware attack, you can report this to the FBI and your local law enforcement agency.
Protect your business in 2023
Keeping your business and its data safe is a continual process, one that must be assessed regularly. By ensuring that your team members are properly trained and your IT staff have safeguarding systems in place, you can help prevent a cyberattack from happening.