There’s a popular misconception that cybercrime is something that happens to large companies with high turnovers. In reality, that’s simply not the case. Cybercrime can affect businesses of any size from sole traders and small supply chain businesses to international corporations.
Most modern businesses rely on computers and the internet to run their business whether that’s managing a company website, conducting sales through it or using a computer to store confidential business and customer data. Unfortunately, businesses are often targeted by cybercriminals trying to steal sensitive information and/or money. These attacks can be severe enough to interrupt a business’ operation or, in extreme cases, cause a company to cease trading.
Businesses are in possession of vast amounts of data regarding not only their finances and confidential data, but also sensitive information about their customers. Due to the evolution of sophisticated Customer Relationship Management systems and social media platforms, they have more opportunities than ever to store data. If this data falls into the wrong hands, it can be exploited with devastating consequences. Recovering from a data breach can cost a company thousands or millions of dollars.
How Much to Invest in CyberSecurity
Just as the potential financial risks will vary depending on the size of the business and the extent of the data breach, the amount a company should invest in cybersecurity is difficult to estimate. If your business is conducted mainly via online sales, you will be managing a lot of customer data and financial information. In these cases, it would be wise to invest a considerable amount in data security procedures and systems.
Similarly, if your staff are using mobile devices such as smartphones and laptops and are outside the business a lot (like a traveling sales rep), you will also need to ensure these devices are adequately secured in case they are lost or stolen. You may also want to invest more money in staff training so that they are fully aware of the risks and best practice.
Data security is such an integral part of a business that it’s often recommended that you invest as much as you can afford to. There are some critical areas you should be investing in to ensure your business is adequately protected.
Invest in Protection Software
There are some essential defenses you can install on your computers, mobile devices and network to minimize the risk of hackers gaining access to your data.
For example, a firewall will protect your network and website from unauthorized users, anti-virus software will detect and filter out harmful viruses, and anti-spyware software will prevent cybercriminals from spying on your online activities, passwords, etc. This software can be purchased separately, or you can hire a professional service such as McAfee to assess what security you need, implement and manage it for you.
Invest in Education and Training
There are some cybercrime threats which software can’t protect you from, and this is where your staff training is going to be crucial. Phishing emails may appear to be from trusted sources and ask for a seemingly innocent action such as clicking a link or downloading an attachment.
In reality, these emails can contain damaging viruses. Malvertising is the practice of creating what appear to be legitimate adverts but are actually malware and placing them alongside genuine adverts in websites. Find out more about Malvertising here. Cyber threats are evolving all the time, so it’s essential to stay up to date with cybersecurity news.
Invest in a Cyber Insurance Policy
Ideally, you will have strong enough security systems and procedures that you will not fall victim to cybercrime. However, if it does happen, it’s best to have a back-up plan. Cyber insurance policies provide a degree of financial protection for you should you lose money as a result of an attack.