85% of SA businesses impacted by lack cyber preparedness in 2020 | #emailsecurity

When the pandemic hit last year, it caught many businesses by surprise. Those that were ill prepared or simply did not act quickly enough suffered greatly, with many being forced to close their doors as a result. While the dust from the pandemic is yet to settle, and the full extent of its impact is unknown, a new report from Mimecast points to the lack of cyber preparedness locally.

The State of Email Security report from Mimecast, which leverages the insight from 1 225 IT and cybersecurity leaders across the globe shows that 2020 has a year that resulted in unprecedented cybersecurity risks. Closer to home 85 percent of respondents noted that their organisations did not have the adequate level of cyber preparedness in place.

Rising ransomware

This as respondents noted that they experienced a business disruption, financial loss or other setback in 2020 due to a lack of cyber preparedness, and in particular ransomware was identified as a chief culprit behind the disruptions.

Furthermore 47 percent of South African leaders indicated that they had been impacted by ransomware in 2020, which represents a 20 percent increase over the number of companies reporting such disruption in last year’s report.

Interestingly the report highlights that while South African organisations suffered less ransomware attacks than their global counterparts, the downtime was longer, with 44 percent of those in SA reporting that downtime lasted a week or longer compared to the global average of 37 percent.

Those companies that did succumb to ransomware attacks also appear to have been duped a lot of the time.

“More than half (53%) of South African ransomware victims paid threat actor ransom demands, but only three in five (60%) of those were able to recover their data. The remaining two-fifths (40%) never saw their data again, despite paying the ransom,” explains the Mimecast report.

Overwhelmingly naive

Along with the aforementioned lack of cyber preparedness, the report also shows that there is a general inability to cope with threat prevention.

“40% of those surveyed said their organisations fall short in one or more critical areas of email security systems, leaving employees open to phishing, malware, business email compromise and other attacks,” the data shows.

“52% of South African respondents (compared to a global average of 43%) said that employee naiveté about cybersecurity is one of their greatest vulnerabilities, and yet nearly half (46%) conduct cybersecurity awareness training once a quarter or even less frequently,” adds Mimecast.

Given how damaging ransomware attacks, and cybercrime in general, has been over the past year, being ill-prepared is something that any business operating within the digital landscape can afford, regardless of size.

Hopefully lessons have been learned during 2020, and the 2021 will prove more positive for local businesses than this one.

To read the full Mimecast report, head here.

[Image – Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash]

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