October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. More than ever, businesses are relying on technology and using online platforms for many important operations. Unfortunately, this means that cyberattacks and other digital threats have become more common as well, and you’ll need to take steps to keep your business safe.
Cybersecurity threats no longer target only big corporations or technology startups. Over the past decade, they’ve grown into a genuine concern for businesses of all sizes and from all sectors. Whether you’re running a local brick-and-mortar store, a national franchise, or a global conglomerate, cyber threats can affect you – and their effects could be catastrophic if you aren’t prepared.
Here are some of the most common cybersecurity threats to watch out for, as well as ways to protect your system against them.
Common cybersecurity threats
Phishing and social engineering attacks
Social engineering attacks often happen through seemingly legitimate emails or text messages that are designed to mimic communications from a trusted entity such as your bank or an eCommerce site you use frequently. These attacks attempt to deceive victims into divulging sensitive information like passwords or credit card numbers. Phishing, one of the most common forms of social engineering, is getting more common, having increased at a rate of 61% between 2021 and 2022. If scammers use phishing messages to steal data from your employees, you could suffer both financial losses and reputational damage.
Malware is a form of malicious software that infiltrates your computer system without your consent. There are many different types of malware, including viruses, worms, ransomware, and spyware. There are many ways that malware can damage your business operations. Viruses and worms can corrupt files or even your entire system. Spyware steals sensitive information and can even monitor your online activity. In cases of ransomware, you could lose access to your data entirely if you don’t make a ransom payment. Not only will this disrupt your normal operations, but it could also cause severe financial damage.
Cybersecurity threats don’t just come from outsiders. They can also come from people within your organization, who are usually disgruntled or negligent employees. There are many ways that insiders can hurt your business, whether it’s stealing or leaking confidential information, deleting data, or even compromising your technology.
Insider threats are particularly dangerous because they often go unnoticed until it’s too late to repair the damage. They can interfere with your operations and could cause your company to lose money. Insider attacks are also likely to damage your reputation among both customers and industry peers.
Data breaches are one of the most common types of cyberattacks, and they happen when hackers gain access to sensitive information, including financial data, intellectual property, and personal information. If your customers’ data is compromised, it’ll result in a massive loss of customer trust and damage to your reputation. Data breaches can also make it difficult for your business to operate and they’re usually very costly to repair.
Ways to prevent cybersecurity threats
Although cybersecurity threats can be daunting, there are steps your organization can take to prevent them from happening. Here are some of the ways to prevent cybersecurity threats from harming your organization.
Train your team
One of the best places to start when it comes to preventing cybersecurity threats is with effective training. Teach your team how to spot and avoid potential phishing scams, malware downloads, and other cybersecurity threats. Additionally, ensure your team uses secure passwords and knows how to keep sensitive data safe, especially while working remotely.
Update your systems
Another way to help prevent cyberattacks is to keep your systems updated. Many cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities in outdated systems. When updates become available for your software programs, be sure to update them as soon as possible. It’s also important to regularly upgrade your hardware as technology evolves.
Implement firewalls and antivirus software
Putting basic security measures in place on your systems will go a long way toward keeping cybercriminals away. Your networks should always have a firewall in place to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your systems. Additionally, all your work devices should be equipped with a reliable antivirus software.
Back up your data
Performing regular data backups will help prevent accidental data loss and will also lower the stakes if you’re a target of ransomware. Be sure you’re backing up your data to a secure place that’s separate from your main system. For example, if you use cloud storage for most of your data, you might opt to use an on-premises server to back up high-value data or vice-versa.
You should also have an incident management plan in place. This ensures that if your data is compromised or you experience some other form of security breach, your team knows what to do and how to keep your business running. Even if you have a great security system in place, anyone can be the target of a cybersecurity attack, so you can never be too prepared.
Work from secure wi-fi networks
The convenience and flexibility of remote work are very appealing, but if you decide to implement a remote or hybrid policy for your company, it’s important to ensure you’re doing so securely. This means requiring your team to work from secure Wi-Fi networks rather than public ones and ensuring that they’re using company devices rather than personal ones.
The current digital landscape is constantly changing, with new threats emerging frequently. You can never be too careful when it comes to your business’s cybersecurity. Being proactive with your security measures now will help you avoid costly security threats in the future.
This blog was written by a guest blogger, Eden Mondanaro. Eden is the digital marketing manager at Parachute. He has more than 20 years of advertising and marketing experience, including 10 years of proven digital marketing success exclusively in the B2B technology space. His background in digital strategic management ranges from channel and direct marketing to digital marketing for service providers, SMBs, and Fortune 100 enterprises in North America, South America, EMEA (Europe/Middle East), Africa, and APAC (Asia/Pacific). He attended California State University, Sacramento and currently resides in Northern California with his wife and family.