The past couple years have experienced their share of ups and downs. As we return to those pre-pandemic levels of growth across the business, there’s one industry that stands out as having benefited the most from all of the uncertainty and upheaval: Cyberattacks.
In 2022, cybercrime was a more than $8 trillion business, up from $1.5 trillion in 2019. That growth isn’t expected to slow down either. According to Statista, cybercrime could exceed $23 trillion by 2027.
Why the massive cyberattack growth? During COVID, many businesses found that employees can work from home and still be productive. Work-from-home (WFM) policies were instituted, and in many cases they’re still in place. This change has allowed employees to attach an unprecedented amount of unsecured devices to company information through the internet. In addition, the Cloud has become the norm for ease of use and access to critical information. These changes really opened the door for hackers.
If you talk to anyone in the cybersecurity industry they will tell you, “It is not a matter of if you will be hacked, it is a matter of when your company will be hacked… If it hasn’t happened already.”
We know cyber threats are a growing business, impacting small and large organizations. So, what steps can you take to protect your business from a potential cyberattack?
Here are a few to get you started:
- Insurance. When’s the last time you read through the fine print of your business insurance policy? I can hear you laughing. We as business owners love the high-level overviews, “Tell me my coverage and how much it will be.” A cyber insurance policy can be very insightful, though. It lays out the requirements that must be maintained to qualify for the coverage. It is a roadmap to minimize risk. Whether you purchase cyber insurance or not, every business should read a cyber insurance policy.
- Get educated. As we have learned, more unsecured devices are on accessing our networks. Train your employees on what to look for. Share examples of how the fraudsters can get to them, and even test your employees. There are many resources and organizations that provide this service. This is a very cost-effective way to reduce exposure.
- Get a Dark Web Scan. It sounds scary, doesn’t it? The dark web hosts a lot of business information that is for sale. The most common information is User IDs and passwords. It is like handing over the keys to your home or car. Ensure your Cybersecurity company offers Dark Web scans in addition to system monitoring and remediation.
- Data Backup. Cyberattackers typically clog your internet and hold your data for ransom. It is best practice to have a duplicate copy of your data. This is beneficial not only for cyberattacks but natural disasters as well.
- Have a Plan. Many businesses feel like this is something that will never happen to them or like they’ll just deal with it IF it happens. Taking the above steps will minimize exposure and prepare you for if something happens. But you still need to create a plan for what to do in the instance you are hacked. Work with your Cybersecurity company on develop an action plan that lays out the next steps to take to get your business back up and running as quickly as possible.
There are many actions that can be taken to prevent the bad guys from getting into your system. Prevention is the key to reducing the risk of a data breach. By educating your employees and investing in cybersecurity, you can deter hackers and keep your data private.
The takeaway here is to do something. Don’t sit back and wait. Remember, it is not a matter of “if” but “when.”
Eric Sindelar is director of connected services for Nationwide Marketing Group.