Small and medium sized companies are putting a third (32%) of their revenue at risk because they are falling for some of the common misconceptions around cyber security, leaving them vulnerable to losing valuable data and suffering both financial and reputational damage.

Organisations in any industry face this risk. Due to the capability and sophistication of attackers securing personal data will always be in development. There is still reasons to make it as hard as possible and not be victim to the most basic attacks.

We’ve written a list of the most common reasons organisations get hacked and how you can avoid them.

Difficult to visualise the impact of risk mitigation

Businesses are always looking to increase their growth rate. At early stages, startups tend to spend a high percentage of their time in building innovative features & investing in user acquisition. This usually leaves behind little to no budget for investing on other things such as cybersecurity. Similarly, enterprises need to meet revenue goals for each quarter to maintain their stock prices.

It is often difficult to convince such startups and revenue-driven companies to invest their money in projects that do not directly contribute to an increase in revenue. Planning ahead will save you money in the long term, and cybersecurity is something you should insure your organisation with sooner, rather than later. Pro-active defense rather than reacting to a breach.

It is difficult to quantify how much damage such a breach can cause. In some cases, it can be something trivial that doesn’t require public disclosure (still reported to the ICO). Whereas in other cases, it could permanently damage an organisation’s reputation.

Lack of incentives

Attempting to hack systems is inexpensive. Yet, a successful hack can lead to huge profits for hackers through extortion and theft. The payoff of a successful hack against the relatively little investment is an incentive for hackers.

On the other hand, when businesses take measures towards cybersecurity, there is little incentive to look forward to. From a day-to-day’, high street business perspective, it is not perceived a valuable incentive. Even though the benefits of implementing cybersecurity measures far outweigh the losses.

When your organisation takes out an insurance, you pay your premiums upfront before benefiting from the protected losses in an unplanned event such as a fire or break-in. The same attitude should be considered when protecting your business with cybersecurity, you will be grateful for having put in protections earlier rather than once you’ve been hacked.

Indeed, the motivation for hackers is far greater than the motivation of businesses to protect against them. Think long term, and think about the headache you will prevent from having to deal with a critical situation.

Inadequate training of employees

For the most part, technology can keep its own attackers out. However, it is often the technology users that unknowingly allow hackers and malicious software in.  We have seen that on most occasions, computers are not the points of failure, but instead it is the people who are targeted in social engineering attacks. These attacks are used in a variety of ways to trick employees into providing their sensitive information. For instance, hackers might impersonate officials or large companies/orgs via email, SMS or phone calls. Commonly known as phishing, SmSishing & vishing.

Even if a business has covered cybersecurity from a technological perspective, there is more to be done. Social engineering attacks, can be easily prevented by holding regular training sessions for employees on information security. Emphasising a culture which provides an adequate reporting process without inducing fear on staff job security. Educating employees is one of the best tools to protect your business’ cybersecurity.

Absence of an information security policy

Cybersecurity is not just about intrusion detection and prevention. A key part of it is about ensuring that preventive measures are in place to reduce the risks of intrusion in the first place. This human element is one part of cybersecurity that most often gets ignored.

Any organisation that wants to strengthen its cybersecurity needs a detailed set of guidelines that address these ‘humanistic’ issues. This is where it is important to have an information security policy in place. A well-written information security policy addresses subjects such as password protection, software updates, and access to web content.

It is important to mention that an information security should be documented in a manner that is easy to understand for employees. It is one thing to create a security policy, but the key is to actually implement it within an organisation.

Conclusion

Most businesses feel that cybersecurity is an overhead cost to their operations. It is not until these organisations suffer significant losses to breaches that they realise how important cybersecurity is. With the rise in cyberattacks over the last few years, it is now time for businesses to all sizes to start taking cybersecurity seriously.

CyberSmart provides cost-effective cybersecurity compliance that help businesses protect themselves. If you would like to discuss further on the importance of cybersecurity for your business, feel free to reach out to us.