In today’s world, business is digital in nature and even traditional brick and mortal stores have some sort of online presence or operations. Some decades ago, businesses had to guard against theft, burglary, and shoplifting among other societal ills. Burglary proofs, alarm systems, CCTV cameras, and day and night guards as well as insurance policies were some of the steps that business owners usually take to protect their businesses.
However, in today’s digital age, threats often come in the form of data breaches and cyber attacks – all aimed at stealing sensitive information or disrupting business operations. In May 2017 alone, there were 45 reported separate incidents of data breaches, ransomware, and cyber attacks globally – the attacks happened in at least 150 countries, about 200,000 computers were direct victims and at least 61,341,787 records were leaked.
This piece provides insight into three things you should know about the growing spate of cyber attacks and how it affects businesses.
1. Cyber Attacks Are Often Unpredictable
Cyber attacks and data breaches are often random in nature and their occurrence is highly unpredictable. Cyber attacks do not always show distinct pattern of attacks; hence, businesses cannot afford to take chances with their cyber security. The cyber attacks reported this year alone have claimed victims across different sectors in corporate America, UK’s National Health Service was a victim, more than 17 million hacked Zomato accounts were sold on the Dark Web, and more than 6,000 Americans have had their SSNs exposed in a Funding Circle hack. Interestingly, small business owners erroneously assume that they are immune from cyber attacks because they are small – being small makes you an attractive target because you are not likely to have a big cyber security system.”
2. A Data Breach in Your Business Might Make a Bigger Partner Vulnerable
Many data breaches and cyber attacks on small businesses often appear senseless to the untrained eye. However, cyber criminals often take the time to do their homework and some of their attacks are targeted. If you do business with high net worth individuals, larger corporations, or governments, you may soon be a victim of a cyber attack especially if hackers have reason to believe that you might own/hold sensitive data.
Some big corporations often create security systems for their independent contractors while some other corporate partners expect you to be responsible for the security of your systems. You need to understand that you might face some liability if you become a victim of a cyber attack and you become the weak point through which cyber criminals access sensitive information.
3. Prevention Is Always Smarter Than Cure
Lastly, taking steps to prevent a cyber attack in your business makes more logical, practical, and financial sense than trying to thwart or end an attack that has started already. You can prevent cyber attacks by updating your computers regularly to have the latest security patches. You should consider having solid antivirus and firewall systems. You can also engage the services of an IT team to review your digital presence in order to recommend proactive defenses against potential attacks.
When a cyber attach such as the WannaCry virus is in effect, there’s practically little you can do to end it because the files can’t be decrypted and paying the ransom won’t necessarily get you the encryption keys.