In today’s tech-driven world, having a good cybersecurity strategy is critical to ensure business success.
Cyberattacks are constantly on the rise, and it’s not just global enterprises being targeted. Studies show that nearly half of small businesses are the target of ransomware attacks –– and 73% of SMBs infected with ransomware actually paid the ransom.
Cyberattacks pose a threat to businesses of all sizes, which is why every organization needs to have a well-planned security strategy.
In this post, we’re going to look at the importance of cybersecurity and what you can do to keep your IT assets protected. Let’s dive right in.
Understanding Threat Types
The threat landscape is constantly changing but one of the constants is that bad actors are everywhere, and threats can be both internal and external.
Internal threats come from within your organization. It could be a rogue employee sabotaging or using company resources for their own benefit, or it could be an attack that happened due to negligence. Someone within your organization falls victim to a phishing scam, downloads malware, or accidentally shares sensitive data.
[Related Reading: Why Humans Are the Weakest Link in Cybersecurity]
External threats come from the outside –– as the name suggests. These are people who are looking to exploit security vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to your network. External cyberattacks typically seek to…
- Download sensitive data from your IT estate (financial information, customer data, medical records, etc.)
- Change or destroy important data
- Extort money from victims through ransomware
- Disrupt normal business activities
According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, 64% of cyberattacks against large businesses are from external threats. And 57% of attacks against small businesses are external.
If you’re wondering why cyberattacks happen, there are a number of factors at play. Sometimes it’s due to espionage, vendettas, or simply because a group of hackers are bored and want a challenge.
But those are minority cases. The overwhelming majority of attacks happen for financial gain.
Verizon found that 87% of attacks against large enterprises and 93% of attacks against small businesses were financially motivated. The truth is that being a cybercriminal is quite lucrative. Hackers can earn upwards of $75,000 a month by targeting small and medium-sized businesses.
Why Is Cybersecurity Important?
Now that we’ve talked a little about cybersecurity, let’s look at why it’s important to have security measures in place.
For starters, falling victim to a cyberattack can do serious damage to your business.
According to the 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report conducted by IBM and Ponemon Institute, the global average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. And the United States has the highest average cost of all the countries –– a staggering $8.64 million is what the average business loses because of a cyberattack.
That’s not even factoring in the damage to your reputation when customers learn you compromised their data. Falling victim to a security incident will destroy customer trust and cost you a fortune in lost revenue. That’s why it’s critical to have the necessary security controls, processes, and people in place to keep your IT assets protected from malicious actors.
Cybersecurity incidents are more common than you think
Statistically speaking, a cyberattack takes place every 39 seconds. There are bots constantly patrolling the web looking for business sites with vulnerabilities to exploit. Without a strong cybersecurity strategy in place, it’s only a matter of time before your IT assets are compromised.
What type of cybersecurity threats do you have to worry about?
There are a variety of attacks that you could fall victim to without the right security controls in place. That’s why it’s important to have a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that reduces the number of attack vectors across your entire IT estate.
Some common types of attacks include:
- Phishing Attacks: This is when attackers gain sensitive information like credit card details, usernames, and passwords using fraudulent emails, fake websites, and other deceptive tactics.
- Brute Force Attacks: This is automated password guessing typically using some sort of logic in order to figure out the credentials of an actual user.
- Social Engineering: This type of attack usually shares characteristics with phishing, because both are deceptive. It’s when attackers use psychological manipulation to obtain sensitive information from victims.
- Ransomware: This is a common type of malware that locks people out of a system –– and usually encrypts the data in that system –– until a ransom is paid. Ransomware attacks first gained global recognition after the WannaCry attack in 2017. And the Colonial Pipeline attack of 2021 was also a ransomware attack that got significant media exposure.
- Advanced Persistent Threat: This type of cyberattack is arguably one of the most dangerous types of security breaches. It’s a continuous and sophisticated attack where the unauthorized party gains access to your systems and/or network and remains undetected for an extended period of time.
The reason why the advanced persistent threat is so dangerous is because the longer an attacker goes unnoticed, the more damage you suffer.
How to Protect Yourself Against Security Breaches
The first thing to understand when implementing a cybersecurity strategy is that you’ll never be 100% secure. A good cybersecurity strategy should include many layers of protection, but they can’t protect you completely.
The security landscape is constantly changing. As companies continue to adopt new technology, hackers are also looking for new vulnerabilities to exploit. The cybersecurity field is in an ongoing arms race with attackers.
[Related Reading: How to Create a Cybersecurity Program]
For this reason, the best approach to cybersecurity is to always assume a breach can and will happen. Once you accept that it’s possible to fall victim to malicious attacks, you can plan how you’ll respond to breaches. The faster you respond to attacks, the easier it is to mitigate damage and the less costly it will be to your business.
Some other practices to increase your protection against cyberattacks include:
- Implementing two-factor authentication (2FA): 2FA adds an additional authentication procedure to your login process. It can slow an attacker down if they manage to brute force your password, giving you time to respond before they penetrate your security.
- Keeping your systems up to date: If an app, program, or operating system you use has a security vulnerability that’s being exploited, the developers will almost always release a security patch fixing it. That’s why it’s important to always keep your systems up to date with a patching plan agreed upon between IT and security teams.
- Creating an Identity Access Management Strategy: Only grant users the privileges they need to complete their job. Also, conduct regular privilege audits so you can revoke access privileges of users when they no longer need them.
These are just a few best practices to help you improve your cybersecurity posture.
For best results, consider implementing Alert Logic’s award-winning Managed Detection and Response (MDR) solution. It gives your on-premises, cloud, and hybrid environments around-the-clock protection from threats.
Alert Logic’s MDR will help improve your security posture. It does this by prioritizing and providing guidance to remediate vulnerabilities and misconfigurations. Alert Logic also monitors around the clock, so if an attack is successful, you will be immediately notified with recommended guidance so you can quickly respond and mitigate the damage.
Book an MDR demo today and see for yourself why so many businesses trust Alert Logic as their cybersecurity partner.