As a business owner, your IT security might keep you up at night. If it doesn’t, it probably should. One of the most important assets your company has is your data. Whether it is protected proprietary information or your customer’s information, your data needs to be protected.
There are seemingly endless threats against company data these days, and it will no longer be ok to ignore those threats. In the past, small businesses were less of a target because attackers would go after the big fish with targeted attacks. Now, these bad actors can automate their attacks and hit more businesses at once.
Are you sufficiently worried yet? Fortunately, there are some great ways to protect yourself against some of these broad attacks and keep your business safe. Since new attacks are created daily, however, it would be difficult to say any network is 100% secure. We can only do our best to keep our data safe.
Over the years specific types of attacks have changed, so what was a popular way to access a vulnerable network yesterday may not be what you should be worried about today. In 2019 there are some very specific forms of attack that are climbing the charts.
The biggest name in cyber attacks right now is Ransomware. These attacks will encrypt all of your files and data causing them to be unusable and inaccessible until you pay the ransom for the decryption codes.
Ransomware can be devastating to a company. Often your company is backing up your servers but rarely do they back up individual computers. If ransomware is pushed out to your entire network, even workstations will become unusable.
If you are storing any files on your computer they will be wiped out unless you pay for the decryption key. Your workstation will likely have to be wiped and reloaded, which creates a lot more downtime getting everything set back up properly
Many attackers are even going after the backups first and then pushing out the encryption. Sometimes, even paying the ransom doesn’t get you the data back. The decryption key can fail, and then the attackers go dark, and you are out money AND your data.
While related to ransomware, as a way attackers can get into your system, phishing deserves its own section because phishing can lead to other types of attacks as well. Through a successful phishing attack, bad actors can gain access to your email account and spread malware through email to all of your contacts, or get you to purchase expensive gift cards.
Another type of breach that can happen can be even more damaging than the ransomware attack. If an attacker infiltrates your system and goes undetected for long enough, they can come away with your customer’s sensitive data.
This is the type of attack that makes headlines. Remember Equifax, Target, and more? When your customer data is leaked it is very bad news for your company and for your customers. Your company’s reputation could be irreversibly damaged.
There are many ways to help protect yourself from these attacks, but one of the most effective is enabling 2FA on all of your tools and accounts. Learning what kind of damage these attacks can inflict is a great step in the right direction. Education is a great way to combat bad actors.