Cybercrime has grown at an exponential rate over the past few years, and the question most businesses face today is not if they will be hacked, but when. Cyber criminals took advantage of vulnerabilities that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 2020 was the worst year ever recorded for data breaches.
According to a report by Accenture, only 14% of small businesses are prepared for a cyberattack, even though they are frequent targets of cybercrime. And 60% of small businesses actually close within six months of a cyberattack. That’s why cybersecurity is so crucial.
Here are some helpful strategies you can put in place to protect your business against the growing threat.
- Defend Against Phishing Scams – According to Deloitte report, 90% of data breaches are caused by phishing, which is when criminals acquire confidential information via email. Create policies so that employees know to never include private information, such as logins or passwords, in an email, or click on links in an email, even if it appears to come from a trusted source.
- Create Strong Passwords – A recent cybersecurity study reported that most data breaches are caused by weak or stolen passwords. Ensure that all company devices are password protected, and consider implementing a password management system which requires employees to regularly reset their passwords, and can screen out passwords that have been used before, or are weak or compromised.
- Defend Your Data – Your customer data is the lifeblood of your organization, so be sure you have redundancies in place to protect it. Have a secure back-up plan in case your data is compromised, which should include Cloud-based storage. Talk to providers about how you can securely access your data anytime and avoid the risks of a ransomware attack.
- Work With IT – Whether you have an internal IT team or have hired a managed IT services provider, be sure your systems are assessed for vulnerabilities, and there are preventative measures in place such as threat monitoring and response, virus and malware protection and data security best practices.
- Train Your Staff – Unfortunately, a large percentage of cyberattacks occur because an employee inadvertently responded to a phishing scam, social engineering scam, or downloaded malware without realizing it. Train your employees to be on the lookout for the most popular cyberthreats so they can avoid making a costly mistake.
Cyberattacks can be devastating for businesses of any size. Be sure to prioritize cybersecurity to protect your assets, your reputation and your precious customer data.