When you leave the office each evening, you probably lock the doors and set the security alarm. This seems obvious since you don’t want criminals breaking into your business. But do you treat cyberthreats with the same caution? After all, you probably have most of your company information stored in digital form. But are your digital systems secured?
Cybersecurity involves practices that protect your networks and digital systems from attack. Many business owners don’t realize just how common and sophisticated cybercrime is. Hackers can attack your digital systems in a variety of ways. Even the U.S. government and prisons have been attacked. Imagine inmates being set free because of a computer error! Even the most carefully guarded system faces risk.
In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the types of cyberthreats that can affect your business. We’ll also examine all of the ways that a cyberattack can destroy your company’s hard-earned reputation, your security, and your bottom line.
Types of Cyberthreats
Both large and small companies are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Cybercriminals focus on three different categories of attack:
- Attacks on confidentiality- You want your company information private and secure. Hackers attempt to invade that privacy and access sensitive information.
- Attacks on integrity- You depend on accurate electronically stored information. Hackers seek to manipulate that data and ruin your trustworthy reputation.
- Attacks on availability- You need reliable access to electronic data. Hackers want to destroy your computer systems and wreak havoc on your company.
Cybercrime: How is it Carried Out?
Criminals are creative in carrying out their cybercrimes. In fact, they grow bolder and more sophisticated in their hacking every day. They use a variety of strategies to deceive victims.
These threats trick victims into revealing sensitive information by clicking links or downloading malware. This information can then be used to hack financial assets. Cybercriminals may even ask you to enter credit card payment information directly.
Hackers send fraudulent emails that request sensitive information. Once you fall for their scheme, hackers gain access to credit cards, Social Security numbers, and bank accounts. You’ve probably seen these deceptive emails in your inbox before. Phishing is the most common form of cyberattack.
Advanced persistent threats
Once a hacker gains unauthorized access to your network, your company is in big trouble. The criminal can hide out in your network and learn everything about your business. Often hard to detect, these hackers access confidential information and pose a serious long-term threat.
Computer programs must be updated with software patches to strengthen security. In reality, many computer users forget to update their security patches. This leaves their networks easy to attack. Hackers appreciate the easy access to unpatched software systems and take advantage of the opportunity.
Social media threats
You may not be able to keep your employees off of social media. But you can limit what they share. When a social media profile is compromised, it can lead to trouble. If security measures aren’t in place, hackers could gain access to valuable company data.
Impacts of a Cybersecurity Breach
Imagine finding your home vandalized. You would likely lose valuable items, and there would be a mess to clean up. Similarly, cybercriminals steal valuable information and leave a digital mess when they attack your company. Only, this mess isn’t easy to clean up. It likely affects your finances, your reputation, and your customers. In fact, researchers at Oxford found 57 impacts of cybercrime. Here are a few ways a cybersecurity breach can reach many aspects of your business:
You’ve worked for years to establish a reputation that customers trust. All that money spent on marketing, advertising, and building a reputation could go to waste at the hands of a cybercriminal. With access to sensitive information, hackers pose a real threat to your company’s reputation.
Cybercriminals can hack accounts directly or steal credit card and bank information. Their financial deception is increasingly sophisticated. In fact, about $1.7 million in cryptocurrency was stolen just last year.
When your customers find out their data has been breached, they question your company. Every aspect of your business is designed to earn customers’ trust. Cybercriminals can flush that all away with one data breach. Protect your customers and your reputation with layers of cybersecurity that will ward off cybercrime.
Cybercrime also disrupts your company’s ability to conduct online transactions. If you can’t do business, it’s hard to make money. This Forbes article says that cybercrime is more dangerous to small businesses than fire, floods, and transit strikes combined. Revenue decreases also result from losing customers who no longer trust your company after their data is breached.
Adding insult to injury, your company could be fined for improper cybersecurity. If a data breach exposes customers’ sensitive information, you may face increasing penalties. The General Data Protection Regulation took effect in Europe last year. It fines companies up to four percent of their annual revenue for security violations. Some U.S. politicians are proposing similarly tough laws to fight cybercrime.
Counterattack: What to Do if Hackers Strike
Ignoring the threat of cybercrime is like driving with a blindfold over your eyes. A cyberattack is a real threat, to your business and to your customers. It’s critical that you have a plan in place to deal with cybercrime. That plan should include disaster response strategies such as:
If your systems are breached, you’ll want to limit access to information as quickly as possible. Access backup copies of all compromised information. Lock employee access to all sensitive information while you investigate the source of the breach.
It’s a good idea to have a public relations firm on standby. They’ll have just the right wording to reassure customers that their data is safe and your company is reliable. Recovering from a data breach is challenging work, but rebuilding consumer trust and profits is possible. You owe it to your business and your customers to try.
Cybercrime poses a real threat to small businesses. But you don’t have to simply wait to be victimized. To find out what cybersecurity measures your company could use, conduct a security assessment. If you need help figuring all this out, cybersecurity experts can guide you toward safer business practices.
Not sure where to start? You don’t have to protect your business alone. Function4 is here to help by conducting a security assessment on your company, providing security awareness training to your employees, fortifying your security across all channels, and providing backup hosting. Contact us today.