Cybersecurity threats increasingly constitute one of, if not the largest, danger for growing businesses, as cybercriminals come up with new and ingenious ways to exploit data vulnerabilities.
Below are 6 cybersecurity concerns as your business grows and how to mitigate your risk.
Data loss can be devastating no matter what size business you run, but the damage tends to be proportionate to size and revenue. The bigger the business-in terms of scale, output, employees, clients-the more data is generated on a daily basis, the more of it is vital to operations, and the bigger the risks associated with data loss become.
Losing important employee and client data can have a large and often irreversible impact on trust in your business’ ability to take the basic precautions.
There are several ways to mitigate the threat of data loss, which include, of course, performing regular and scheduled backups, but you could also be housing your data with a dedicated data storage company like TRG Datacenters. These data storage facilities help keep your data safe from natural disasters, fires, and theft.
The Increasing Threat of Malware
Malware is software that is specifically designed to damage or compromise a computer or network. Malware includes things like ransomware, worms, trojan horses, adware, wipers, and scareware. These programs are usually activated when innocuous-looking links are clicked on (sent through email or other text), or they are inserted into bits of code and injected into various programs and software that are commonly run on a business’ many devices.
Ransomware attacks, for instance, are on the rise. Cybercriminals infect a computer using one of the aforementioned methods, and administrators (i.e., owners) are then locked out and told their data is being held hostage. In order to get back in or save the data from permanent destruction, a fee must be paid to the extortionists, sometimes to the tune of hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars. As your business becomes more profitable and likely high-profile, it naturally becomes more of a target.
Another cybersecurity concern a business should keep in mind as it grows and expands is its people. The larger your operations, the more people you will likely require to run it, which means an additional human-error vulnerability every time a new person is brought on board. In fact, it is an organization’s people that constitute the biggest cybersecurity threat to business.
Whether out of ignorance or through carelessness, it is a company’s personnel who most often function as unwitting participants in or enablers of the schemes of cybercriminals.
This is why it is vital to ensure that employees are educated and up-to-date on the myriad cybersecurity threats out there as they are onboarded. Companies can hold seminars, bring in outside experts on a regular basis to ensure everyone is up to date, or help subsidize and encourage internal team members to complete courses or obtain a certificate in cybersecurity to ensure a ready workforce. Letting people know what to look out for, what the major trends are, and what to do in the event they believe a system they use has been or is being compromised are key components of good cybersecurity for any growing business.
Phishing is the act of misleading and deceiving a person into revealing or compromising sensitive information. It happens to both individuals and businesses, but it is a preferred tactic of cybercriminals-who have gotten impressively good at it.
Businesses are “phished” to try and extract passwords, trade secrets, and insider information.
Phishing is often done through email and usually takes the form of messages from trusted senders like banks, credit card providers, et cetera.
Similar to the malware threats mentioned above, the more profitable a business is, the more press and media coverage it receives, the more appealing a target it becomes for cybercriminals. Phishing techniques change on a regular basis, so it is wise to always be reading and learning about how your business, industry, and companies, in general, are being targeted.
Poor Authentication/Authorization Procedures
As a business grows, the opportunities for poor authentication and authorization procedures to compromise information and, ultimately, the bottom line grow in tandem. A growing business means more people, more software and applications being used, more client data, and increasing ports of entry into all of it.
When you factor in the work from home revolution we are currently in the midst of and all of the additional security threats represented by people accessing their company’s systems from personal devices, good authentication and authorization procedures are imperative.
Having two (or more) factor authentication, involving both a dedicated password and an additional piece of hard-to-guess information, can actually save you from hackers, and therefore a considerable amount of time, money, and heartache.
Additional authentication factors could be specific employee ID numbers, questions to which only a particular employee would know the answer, or the use of randomly-generated user keys that correspond to each session.
Cyber Liability Insurance
Just as people purchase more robust and expansive insurance for their homes, the bigger and more expensive they get, businesses too must consider the nature and scope of their insurance coverage as they grow. In the digital era, this inevitably includes cyber liability insurance.
This insurance typically covers the cost of recovery from events such as data breaches, cyberattacks, and malware, as well as other viruses.
A lot of small businesses either don’t think they need cyber liability insurance or may not even be aware that it is a possibility. Growth means managing your risk and threats, and all growing businesses should consider cyber liability insurance as carefully as they would consider natural disaster and fire insurance.
The growth stage is an exciting time for any business, but it also comes with an increasingly long list of potential threats to avoid and plan for. Growth typically means increasing revenue, additional employees, more media coverage, and a sweeter target for criminals online.
Many of the things a growing business must do to mitigate these threats involve targeted investments in cybersecurity, while others are matters of education, vigilance, and prudent planning. Keep the above 6 cybersecurity considerations in mind and ensure your business not only grows but prospers.