Cybercrime is, unfortunately, on the rise. Most people have heard of common scams such as phishing emails, of course, and high-profile hacks such as the iCloud celebrity photo leak of 2014 and the NHS ransomware attack certainly hit the headlines.
However, with business cybercrime rates skyrocketing to nearly five million incidents a year, it’s clear that it’s not just major institutions or Hollywood stars who are at risk. A large-scale threat is developing in this space – and businesses will need to shift their priorities and processes in order to deal with the problem swiftly and effectively.
It’s vital, then, that business leaders face up to their responsibilities when it comes to keeping their staff, assets and kit safe from cybercrime. From staff education sessions to hiring an expert to carry out an audit, businesses are having to make all kinds of changes in order to stay ahead of the curve. This article will explain what exact cybersecurity processes businesses are undertaking – and what effects they’re having.
The first place to start when it comes to cybersecurity is prevention. For businesses that employ staff, training them up with the skills needed to avoid exposing the firm to cybercrime is key. Teaching staff how to avoid phishing scams and ransomware attacks is now quite common. It’s especially important in industries such as financial services where major transactions take place, and businesses in this field are increasingly directing relevant resources towards their employees. Junior staff can learn how to avoid scams and begin to trade with forexfraud.com, while in-person training events run by cybercrime experts are often held in workplaces to demonstrate what to do – and what not to do.
Software and back-ups
According to the UK government, 80% of cybercrime is actually completely preventable – meaning that the ball’s partly in the business’s court when it comes to preventing these kinds of problems. Many businesses therefore make the decision to invest in cybersecurity software such as firewalls. Encryption software is also something used by many businesses: this “scrambles” sensitive data until it is opened with a designated virtual key, so it’s not as vulnerable as a traditional username and password setup. If your staff members use cloud-based office software such as Google Drive, then two-factor authentication is a must. Mobile devices can be protected using user friendly VPN designed for mobile devices.
Backing up data is also vital. In some cases, hacks can erase all of a firm’s files either during the hack itself or as part of the clean-up process. In the event that a ransomware attack occurs, say, you might be told that your data is being held captive by the hacker until you pay a certain fee. However, if you have your data protected already, then it won’t be an issue: you’ll be able to ignore the demands, and simply reinstate your latest back-up. Whatever the reason, though, having effective back-up processes in place is now essential. If you lost all of your invoices and client data, say, then you may soon find yourself losing both your reputation and customers.
Look after devices
Earlier this year, it was revealed that those working for the UK government had managed to lose over 600 devices between them in the last few years – leading to serious criticism. This kind of incident exposes your business to significant risk – if a cybercriminal was to find an unprotected device in a public place, then the opportunity would be too good to miss. One of the worst aspects of this kind of incident, though, is the fact that it paints your organisation as reckless. Even if no cybercrime occurs as a result of losing a device, a reputational problem will be inevitable if it becomes public.
Back to pens and paper
For some firms, however, the key lies in moving away from technology to some extent. That way, of course, data is never entered onto a computer system to begin with – so it isn’t vulnerable to hacking at all. This doesn’t have to be a wholehearted move, and can simply be a way to prevent putting all your eggs in one digital basket: it may be worth considering asking staff to take meeting notes with pens and paper, for example, to reduce the amount of exposure that your business has to cybercrime.
Battling cybercrime isn’t easy – especially if you’re a business with a reputation and employees to protect. However, there are some common steps that many business leaders choose to take in order to protect their firms from harm. Whether it’s staff education programmes or simply anti-hacking software designed to protect networks from problems, there are all sorts of ways that a business can ensure that it doesn’t fall victim.