Cybercriminals and hackers are always trying to compromise businesses. They exploit common cyber security mistakes and flaws to systems, then steal or hold the business data ransom. These scenarios are increasing at an alarming rate, so don’t let your business be an easy target of cyber crime and learn to tackle cyber security threats.
Here are the common cyber security mistakes to look out for:
1. Lack of integration for new measures
2. Lack of security expertise
3. Unsecured personal devices
4. Thinking you’re too small to be a target
5. Overlooking cloud security
6. Leaving data unprotected
7. No incident response plan
8. Lack of training
9. Inadequate backup and disaster recovery options
10. Using outdated software
11. Relying on the break/fix model
Now let’s deep dive into the 11 common mistakes and how you can fix them:
- Lack of integration for new measures
When new threats emerge, it’s tempting to implement new measures on top of existing ones, without better planning. How will these integrate? Each measure has its own set of alerts, dashboards, and so on, which means more things to stay on top of. The lack of integration will make it difficult to see threats holistically and even harder to respond quickly.
The fix: Look for measures that are designed to work together and integrate with your existing systems.
- Lack of security expertise
A lot of businesses have limited IT security specialist resources in house. Everyone is focused on the business and activities, rather than security. There is a common feeling of "that won't happen to us" and cyber criminals rely on that attitude being prevalent.
The fix: Reach out for help! Consider partnering with a specialist provider who can give you guidance and show you areas for improvement. They might suggest implementing automated, software-based processes that can monitor your systems continuously and take action when a cyber threat is detected.
- Unsecured personal devices
How many ways do you access your business data? Almost every employee in the modern workplace has at least 1 laptop, a personal or business smart phone, and a tablet; especially during remote times. Hackers are smart and attempt access through many possible endpoints.
The fix: Endpoint management tools can eliminate the complexity of multiple user credentials by giving each employee a single, secure identity to access all your network resources. Tools like Multi-Factor and Two-Factor Authentication offer another layer of information security.
- You’re not “too small” to be a target
Cyber attackers don’t care about the size of your business and continue to target smaller businesses, assuming you may be complacent or unprepared. In cyber security news, studies show nearly 1 in 4 businesses with fewer than 250 employees have been targeted.
The fix: Invest in cyber security essentials, but remember these hackers are smart, so you should assume you can still be attacked or breached. Create an incident response plan, ensure continuous monitoring for any suspicious activity, and organise the appropriate resources for a quick response to reduce any potential damage. Ensure your disaster recovery plan includes backup and restoration of data.
- Overlooking the security of the cloud
Security is complex and sometimes hard to stay on top of. The right partner and a cloud solution can do much of the heavy lifting and provide smart ways to protect your data properly.
The fix: Moving to the cloud doesn’t need to be a huge and expensive one-time job. Evaluate your needs and make the move in stages. A good IT partner will highlight the importance of cyber security strategy and compliance measures within your solution.
- Leaving data unprotected
Data travels outside of your control when it’s shared by either your employees, customers or partners. That’s not to say that you should lock down everything so that your employees try to find a workaround. Balance protection with productivity by focusing on security at the data level.
The fix: Categorise your data based on how sensitive and critical it is to your business. Protect what’s most important with the strongest measures, such as restricted access, limited sharing privileges, and encryption.
- No incident response plan
Whilst we may be naïve in thinking cyber security breaches would never happen to our business, they do occur and when they do, they are usually quick and vigorous. Time is really of the essence; with no disaster recovery businesses are at greater risk. If the unthinkable happens, the cyber security incident plan needs an owner, with fixed measures in place, to mitigate the damage as much as possible. This is why a cyber security policy is important.
The fix: Create a plan to alert key contacts across departments including HR, senior management, PR and insurance. Have a clear escalation path with allocation of responsibility, regulatory guidance and contingency measures to help maintain business operations if IT functions are down. Finally, ensure incident flows and management plans, including checklists and contact details that are accessible offline.
- Lack of training
9 out of 10 security breaches include an element of human error. Mistakes are easily made and cost your business greatly, whether it’s falling for a phishing scam or clicking the wrong link. While you cannot control everything your team does, you can ensure they’re well prepared.
The fix: Cyber security awareness training! It’s not just a one and done—the threat landscape is constantly evolving and becoming more complex, so you need to ensure that you have regular trainings on cyber security for your team. By reducing the chances of human error and educating on cyber security mistakes you can greatly decrease the likelihood of a security breach.
- Inadequate backup and disaster recovery options
Should the worst-case scenario happen and your business fall victim to a cyber attack you could potentially lose all your valuable data. Apart from the massive costs attached to downtime, you will also face reputational or potentially even legislative repercussions. In fact, 60% of small businesses care forced to shut their doors within 6 months of a breach.
The fix: Invest in solid backup and disaster recovery options. Over are the days on on-site backup, the cloud allows you to store all your valuable data across multiple locations. In case of a breach, your data can be restored within minutes, allowing you to limit the damage to your business.
10. Using outdated software
The online threat landscape is becoming increasingly complex, with new viruses and malware emerging daily. Unfortunately, many businesses still rely on the concept of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, but they do so at their own expense. While able to save money in the short term, outdated software and systems are not supported by the latest security standards, meaning their easier to infect and compromise.
The fix: Ensure you regularly update your software and devices! It’s a quick, simple solution that will make a big difference, ensuring you are protected against the latest threats.
11. Relying on the break/fix model
Following up on the mistake of outdated software, one of the biggest cyber security mistakes is to believe you only need to fix your security measures if there has been an attempt to compromise your network or devices.
The fix: It is essential to proactively invest time and money in cyber security. If you have the in-house capacity, you need to ensure your IT team is constantly monitoring and evolving your security posture, finding and fixing potential gaps before they are exploited. Alternatively, you can work with a managed service provider to help your internal team. Just ensure you are choosing a proactive partner that will help you prevent breaches instead of simply fixing them after the fact.
Reduce risk and build your security strategy with T-Tech.
Even if you haven’t been victim of an attack (and let’s hope you never are) assume that you are always a target. Look for cyber security specialists who can help you plan a step-by-step strategy which protects, detects, and responds to any threats that may come your way.
Learn more about how T-Tech can help secure your business.