Top 5 reasons why SMBs should put a cyber security strategy at the top of their plan in 2021
It is becoming very hard to ignore the frequency small and medium Australian businesses are being targeted with cyber-attacks, ACSC concluded that 62% of SMBs have reported that they experienced a cyber attack in 2020. In fact, cyber attacks have doubled over the past 12 months.
Realistically, it’s only a matter of time before your business becomes a target of a cyber attack (if it hasn’t experienced one already).
We believe there are two main reasons for the alarming surge in cyber attacks:
- Employees are more than ever before and using many devices often outside of secure networks and the office – and risking bringing infected malware back to the business.
- Increased pressure on the basic infrastructure requirements driven by the increase in the number of devices used is increasing the vulnerability of businesses.
Why should I be concerned?
Aside from the alarming increase in the number of cyber attacks being aimed at SMB’s within Australia, it is reported that over 50% of SMBs spend less than $500 per year on cyber security each year.
More business leaders are realizing that cybersecurity is no longer just the confines of IT, but requires a comprehensive strategy that extends to all aspects of the business, from the customer service call center to the boardroom.
The Risks of being unprepared
An effective cyber security strategy is critical and it must address a complex and forever increasing list of risks. Most businesses have a plan or risk management strategy and appropriate insurance to cover them in the case of disasters such as fires, power surges, and other random events. Surprisingly the impact, cost, and consequences of a cyber incident is far greater than the events mentioned. As a result, costing SMBs around $200K per incident putting many out of business.
The top 5 outcomes of a cyber attack on your business are:
- Loss of data: A cyber incident can simply make data disappear or be used for personal gain such as insider trading. Using Ransomware, a cyber criminal can encrypt your business data and demand payment for them to release it.
- Exposure to sensitive data: The new GDPR laws apply to any organisation regardless of location and can cost businesses around 3% of their annual revenue. When criminals gain access to passwords, routing numbers, and credit cards the consequences are dire both financially and reputation.
- Unauthorised control of physical environments: Thieves have been known to disable alarms and other physical security systems or even gaining control of manufacturing, communications, and other transport systems.
- Malware attacks or viruses: Phishing is the most common form of attack where the criminal poses as a legitimate player in order to access sensitive information.
- Reputation & Financial damage: The consequences of a cyber-attack include damage to the brand and even the reputation of business owners or leaders and financial damage. An attack on average costs SMBs $200K to recover from putting many out of business.
No matter what size your business is, a cyber security must be a high priority in 2021.
So what is a cyber attack?
A cyber attack is considered to be an attempt by cyber criminals to damage or destroy a computer network or system. The most common form of attack is Ransomware – where the attacker will often encrypt important data or information and then ask for money in order to release it back to the owner.
Phishing is another hacking technique and refers to attempts to steal passwords by posing as a trusted party, in order to infiltrate IT systems and gain access to personal data.
Distributed Denial of Services is also increasing. This is where hackers flood a network with useless traffic and requests, meaning a particular service (or services) is then unable to function.
Why are Australian businesses such likely targets?
Our economy is buoyant and traditionally Australian businesses have money. We are also relatively fast adopters of new technology that helps us do our jobs in an effective, efficient manner. Unfortunately, this gives cybercriminals the perfect opportunity to attack our companies and demand money to allow their systems back up – much like the recent Channel 9 cyberattack which disrupted live broadcasts across Australia.
What can a data breach mean for Australian businesses?
Generally speaking MONEY. A data breach means you could be exposed to identity theft, fraud, or extortion, your website could be defaced, you might be a victim of instant messaging abuse, or your intellectual property could be stolen.
Data is a common target, which means you could lose access to everything you need for your business to function, and you may never get it back. There is also the issue of private customer information being taken and used against you, or against your clients, and that could open you up to a raft of legal consequences and fines by the authorities.
What can I do?
The good news is there are affordable solutions to protect your business. It is recommended to work with a reputable Managed Cyber Security provider that offers comprehensive packages that will protect you from an inevitable attack.
Engaging a Managed Cyber Security Service means you do not have to bear the expense of employing expensive and hard-to-find resources within your business.
If you would like to understand more – watch our on-demand Cyber Security Webinar Series.