IT cyber security is at it is most crucial. The pandemic has seen an alarming rise in COVID-19 related threats in which small to medium sized businesses (SME’s) can be particularly vulnerable to. According to a recent report by Cyber Readiness Institute (CRI) , only 40% of small businesses have some sort of cyber security employed in their company. For the other 60%, there is an alarming concern, particularly with these types of threats ever escalating.
As well as this, a surprising 59% of small business owners reported that several members of their staff are using personal devices when working from home. SME’s have always been at risk from cyber attacks, but that risk is rapidly rising throughout this pandemic.
The Rise in Cyber Attacks During the Pandemic
2020 has been a challenging year for most, with statistics from the OECD showing all countries other than China to be experiencing a recession and the global economy estimated to fall by 4.5%. Organisations are struggling to cope with the demanding changes needed for their business and having to adapt quickly to members of staff working from home. This brings about new challenges for cyber security.
If anything, we have seen just how important IT cyber security is and how much of our organisations do rely on digital devices and systems. Cyber criminals have only jumped on the opportunity that has arisen, with more staff working from home, often on personal devices or over unsecure networks, this vulnerability is dangerous.
Cyber criminals will often employ business email compromise (BEC) scams, sending scam messages via email, instant message, text message and social media, to illegally steal data or money from businesses. There has been a substantial increase in BEC attacks since the start of the pandemic. According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), over $142 million was lost in the 2019/20 financial year with 4355 reports of email scams.
Phishing emails are particularly popular amongst cybercriminals, and in smaller sized enterprises, where staff may have not had sufficient training in IT cyber security measures, the chances of an employee clicking on a malicious link is greatly increased. Any devices used at home or at work will also need to be protected.
In the UK, according to Hiscox, 65,000 cyber attacks are attempted every day. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) reported back in 2019 that a high percentage of Australian SME’s will not have adequate cyber security practices in their organisation. SME’s play a crucial role and are known as the backbone of the Australian economy, so IT cyber security is essential for organisations of all sizes.
Many small to medium size enterprises simply are not aware of the risks of cyber threats, perhaps thinking this is only something to worry about in much larger corporations. Before companies can implement good IT cyber security practices, they really need to understand the risks associated to their business. IT cyber security measures will ensure every part of your business is protected and can respond quickly and effectively should any threat arrive.
IT Cyber Security & Preventing Attacks
There has never been a better time to implement strong and capable cyber security systems in your organisation. Examples below indicate the cyber security measures you could be taking, to ensure your business is well protected.
Use strong passwords
Ensure every member of staff is using strong passwords and not reusing the same password for multiple devices or systems. Ensure passwords are updated and changed regularly and any default passwords are changed.
Be careful when working in the cloud
More SME’s are working online in the cloud, sharing, and receiving important documents and sometimes sensitive data over the cloud, which could pose the threat of an increased vulnerability. Working with a cloud service provider (CSP) or cybersecurity firm can provide you with the support you need and help you better protect your business.
Ensure staff are being vigilant
Educating staff and initiating staff training on IT cyber security best practices is one of the best things you can do to protect your organisation from a cyber threat. Make sure employees are aware of the increasing amount of attacks and to watch out for potential fraudulent emails, such as those with an urgent call to action, strange wording or links or emails asking you to send a payment. If they are unsure, they should double check the email before clicking on any link.
Use multi-factor authentication (MFA)
Multi-factor authentication is an automated authentication technique where the user will be asked to verify two or more ways to login to a system, for example you may provide a password and then a code which has been sent to your phone. This preventative measure is a great way to ensure devices and data are secure.
Implement a cyber security policy
It is a good idea to have a cybersecurity plan and policy across your company. You should have an emergency plan, in case of the unfortunate event of a cyber security attack and ensure all members of staff are informed about the cyber security measures that have been put in place. Hiring an Information Security Officer (ISO) who oversees the security policy or outsourcing your cyber security to an expert firm is a great way to safeguard any potential threats to your organisation.
Make certain remote access is secure
It is always a good idea to keep remote access at a minimum if you can. With more people working from home nowadays, it is vital that remote connections are secure and properly encrypted.
Keep data backed-up
Help protect your business and data from ransomware attacks by performing regular backups and keeping those files offline. You should also try to have two versions of your backups for even further protection.
If you are a small or medium sized business looking to update your cyber security, why not try a free trial with Cube Cyber today. We have expert professionals ready to help you and your organisation implement secure cyber security solutions.