Posted: Mon 15th Aug 2022
It seems as though there’s constantly a new digital threat to read about or another business that’s fallen foul of a ransomware attack.
But despite cybercrime costing businesses billions every year, there are still many companies not taking the subject seriously or making mistakes that could cost them considerably if they’re unlucky enough to be a victim of an incident.
These are some of the most common mistakes businesses make when it comes to cybersecurity and how to fix them before it’s too late.
Assuming your business isn’t at risk
It’s a classic problem for so many businesses – you read about cybersecurity, you’re familiar with the threats but you assume that it won’t happen to you. Until it does.
We always think that we won’t find ourselves in these difficult situations, but the reality is that cybercriminals constantly prey on smaller businesses because they know this is a common mindset, or that SMEs won’t have the resources to protect themselves.
When you take a laid-back approach to cybersecurity, you put your business at risk and leave yourself susceptible to an attack. The best way to prevent an attack from happening is to be alert at all times and ensure you have put some essential barriers to ward off cyber attacks in place.
You need to realise that your business and all your associated networks are just as vulnerable as any other out there despite your size.
Failing to test back-ups
Back-ups are an essential part of any organisation’s cybersecurity, particularly if you’re subjected to a ransomware infection.
In fact, it’s one of the most common mistakes when it comes to creating a cyber incident response plan. It’s vital that you regularly review your databases and ensure that they are completely backed up and working as they should be so that in the event of a ransomware attack, you’re not at the mercy of cybercriminals.
Make sure that you fully test the restore speed of complete back-ups, so that a quicker recovery is possible in the event of an attack, and that you check whether an incident response is covered in your agreements with any cloud providers you work with.
Not training your staff
You’re only as strong as your team, but if you think it’s unnecessary to train every member of staff on the risks of cyber threats, you could be risking an enormous financial loss.
Everyone who works for your organisation could be the victim of a phishing scam or an unsecured link, and if they don’t have the knowledge and training on how to handle those risks, it could have devastating consequences for your business.
Your employees need to know how to safeguard themselves, to think before they click on a link or open a file, and how to prevent stolen devices, especially if they work remotely.
It’s time and money well-spent to ensure that everyone is working to the same protocols and will keep your business as secure as possible.
Not understanding your network
It’s important to note that no business will ever be able to prevent every attack. Networks are far too vast and there are so many opportunities for criminals to find their way in.
But if you don’t understand your network, or fail to update software regularly, you could be leaving the door open for them to attack the system with barely any resistance.
You need to know where critical data is within your network, the size of it and how your network is segmented so you have a clearer view of where your risk points are.
Only using anti-virus software
So many businesses install anti-virus technology and assume that this will be sufficient protection against an attack.
But in today’s sophisticated digital landscape, nothing could be further from the truth. Cybercriminals are constantly evolving and finding new ways to hack into systems and gain access to data, so your organisation needs to be ahead of them at every stage.
In fact, the majority of attackers use malware-free intrusion tactics to gain access to a business' networks, so anti-virus tools aren’t enough on their own.
Your cybersecurity processes need to be multifaceted to prevent a range of attacks, not simply a virus. Standard anti-virus software may protect your business from run-of-the-mill malware but it won’t be advanced enough to cope with more sophisticated attacks.
However, while you need to employ a range of protective measures, if you do have anti-virus software it’s essential that you keep it up to date for it to remain effective.
Cybersecurity has never been more important, yet so many organisations underestimate not only the techniques cybercriminals will employ but also the impact it can have on their business. A lot of small businesses believe the myth that a criminal would have little to gain from attacking them, and so they don’t employ protection against these attacks.
But because SMEs are more likely to have gaps in their digital armour, they’re the perfect target for a hacker. There are likely to be many more points of entry available to them where they can gain access and find valuable data. Businesses of any size can be at risk, which is why it’s essential to take the topic seriously and have measures in place to protect your most sensitive and valuable data.
As we’ve seen, cybersecurity is a topic that can be neglected in many organisations but it could be to your detriment if you’re a business that overlooks the value that proper protection can provide.
From a well-considered incident response plan to making sure you have several layers of protection in place and keeping staff educated on the risks, there are various things businesses can do to keep their organisations safe from an attack.