The 4 Biggest Cybersecurity Threats for Businesses in 2019 and How to Avoid Them
Each year, a growing number of businesses become victims of malware, viruses, and other cybersecurity threats.
Cybersecurity should be a big concern for every organization. In fact, 43% of cyber attacks are targeted at small businesses. Unfortunately, most businesses are still unprepared to deal with these threats, even though recovering from a major data breach or malicious attack is difficult and occasionally impossible.
This article discusses the 4 biggest cybersecurity threats in 2019. By understanding how these threats work, and how to avoid them, an organization may be able to stop or lessen the impact of a major attack and keep the company safe from harm.
Malware encompasses a variety of cybersecurity threats. Trojans, viruses, and spyware are various types of malware and they often penetrate an organization’s systems through email.
According to one estimate, 92.4% of malware is sent via email. In most cases, the malware is included as an email attachment.
While vigilance when opening email attachments from unknown sources can help avoid malware, there is still a need for additional measures to mitigate this threat.
Email filtering is one such method for reducing the risk of being infected by malware. However, the basic filtering included with most email platforms does not always stop potentially harmful emails from getting through. Therefore, more advanced filtering software, services, anti-virus and anti-malware engines, are recommended to help weed out potential threats.
2. Data Breaches
Data breaches are often the most expensive cybersecurity threats, with the average data breach costing $3.86 million in 2018. These breaches are typically the direct or indirect result of an employee’s actions.
In many cases, an employee may not even know that he or she has been compromised. They may have fallen victim to a phishing scam, or accessed a malware-infected email attachment, which intern initiates the breach.
To reduce the risk, organizations may need to consider preventing employees from uploading files or installing software on local machines. These tasks should only be performed by authorized personnel or on systems that are separated from the main network.
Firewalls can also help, but hackers can still find ways around even the most advanced firewall.
A common cybersecurity solution for protecting critical data is the establishment of a demilitarized zone (DMZ). In networking terms, a DMZ is a zone where Internet facing servers and infrastructure reside. This zone is isolated from the internal network to reduce risk of the internal network being penetrated. In this way the DMZ acts as a proxy to secure more sensitive internal resources, providing an additional layer of protection to shield the business from attacks.
Ransomware attacks are a type of data breach. They involve malicious software that encrypts all the data accessible through the organization’s network.
After the data is encrypted, the victim receives a message requesting payment to have the data unencrypted. However, paying the ransom does not always result in the return of the data.
These attacks are also increasing. Every 40 seconds, an organization is attacked by ransomware. This is a major increase compared to the previous year when companies were attacked every two minutes.
The best way for organizations to combat the threat of ransomware is through employee security training. Employees should understand the potential harm of the different cybersecurity threats and what they can do to help prevent these threats.
Besides paying more attention to email attachments, employees should always use strong passwords. In fact, organizations should consider implementing a password policy. These policies often outline how frequently employees must change their passwords, the protocol for resetting passwords, and rules for choosing a secure password.
It is also important to implement the strategies already discussed, including the use of firewalls, email filtering, and DMZs. While these strategies may not prevent 100% of attacks, they offer a strong first line of defense.
Businesses should also have efficient data backup and recovery plans in place. If the data is properly backed up, the business may recover without needing to pay the ransom.
The backup and recovery plan should help the organization spend less time restoring data, in order to minimize downtime. These plans include actionable steps that employees, the IT department, or the designated IT support vendor, needs to take to restore workstations and get the business up and running again quickly.
4. Wi-Fi Breaches
Almost every business has a Wi-Fi network. Many organizations also rely heavily on mobile devices and Internet of things (IoT) devices.
41% of businesses do not use encryption for all data. If this data is accessible through the Wi-Fi network, it is at risk. While many organizations require public Wi-Fi for clients or customers, these Wi-Fi networks should be separated from the local network.
Organizations may not have this same option with IoT devices and portable media devices that require access to the local network. However, these devices can be secured by segmenting the internal network and employing intrusion detection systems. These systems help detect intruders that access devices connected to the local network.
If employees use portable media devices to store or transfer data, the devices need to be managed and monitored by the organization. This helps to control the removal of unauthorized data and guard against data leakage.
While there are many effective strategies for reducing and avoiding cyberattacks, most businesses have not taken the necessary steps to implement them. An effective strategy should explore all areas, starting with a risk analysis of every system that involves the transfer of data.
The first step should be to evaluate all company data. Organizations should look at how data is accessed, who has access to it, and where it is stored. This analysis can help them determine the right strategy needed to effectively protect the organization. By using this proactive approach, they can implement strategies to address potential threats in 2019 and beyond.
Outsource IT offers a comprehensive IT Security Assessment to help organizations analyze their IT vulnerabilities and implement strategies to keep their data safe. For more information, contact your Outsource IT account manager today.