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How To Protect Your Business From Cyber Threats In Today’s Economy


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As we look at today’s reimagined economy, there are two
major issues businesses need to be aware of: cyber threats and
COVID-19 realities. Cyber threats continue to impact businesses and
the economy. And in today’s working world, companies should
prepare for data security and privacy issues that may result from
an increased reliance on remote work.

Businesses of all sizes face cyber-attacks and data breaches.
Unfortunately, there’s a 60% chance that a small business (one
with less than 500 employees) will shutter within six months of a
major cyberattack. These closures are often due to:

  • Lack of cash available to recover

  • No insurance to rely on

  • Loss of goodwill with clients

  • Loss of business to competitors

  • Loss of information that cannot be recreated

The impact can be devastating and certainly something businesses
need to guard themselves against.

These attacks stem from three major causes. All can cause
significant cost to your data and competitive advantage:

  • 52% are malicious attacks, in which bad
    actors-either within the company or outside of it-attempt to damage
    a business’s computer network through hacking or criminal
    activity.

  • 23% are caused by human error

  • 25% are caused by computer glitches

And there are two major types of malicious attacks. They’re
getting more sophisticated, which means you need to be ready to
change your policies and plans, especially when you’re not
operating in the same office on a daily basis.

  • Phishing attacks: Criminals use social media
    and companies’ own websites to collect information and craft
    deceptive emails that encourage readers to divulge personal
    information, such as credit card numbers or passwords. Only 3% of
    employees typically report phishing emails, and yet 85% of
    companies reported at least one phishing attempt in 2020.

  • Malware and ransomware: Criminals get
    employees to download a software (often via a simple link) that is
    specifically designed to disrupt, damage or gain unauthorized
    access to a company’s system. In the case of ransomware, a
    company cannot regain access until they pay a sum of money. This is
    the most common strategy among cybercriminals today. Each attack
    costs a company about $133,000, regardless of the company’s
    size and if it was running virus protection. Many companies lose
    control of their databases for about seven days when struck.

In today’s economy, Companies need to take concrete steps
toward mitigation, detection and prevention. What does this look
like?

  • Budgeting: Business owners and leaders should
    consider the cost associated with data breaches when creating
    budgets. An average data breach costs about $3.9 million for a
    medium-sized publicly traded company. This goes toward things like
    forensics, legal costs, IT or security consultants and more. An
    attack can also result in an average 5% dip in share prices.

  • Procedures and policies: It’s important to
    have an up-to-date cyber incident response plan in place. In
    today’s marketplace, only about 25% of companies do not have a
    plan in place-a drastic drop from about 72% three years ago. A
    strong plan designates who will communicate with clients, law
    enforcement, shareholders, employees, vendors and others when a
    system is down and how that communication will take place.

Many small businesses may not be able to hire a consultant to
create or advise on these types of policies. The National Institute of
Standards and Technology offers clear and concise guidelines
and best practices for how to implement a cyber incident response
plan with small businesses in mind.

  • Cyber insurance: Business leaders should also
    consider working with a cyber insurance partner or broker. Many of
    these professionals will work with you before a breach and test
    your company’s security. Cyber insurers also often have panels
    of investigators, notification services, call centers and credit
    monitors that can help your company navigate or prepare for a
    breach. Premiums and add-ons can become expensive for smaller
    businesses, but, at a minimum, it’s a good idea to have
    coverage for out-of-pocket expenses relating to cyberattacks.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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