Online, hooked up, plugged in and “on the cloud”. Whether it is your own personal information such as saved passwords or credit card information or if it is your client’s’ personal information, so much of our personal lives can now be easily accessed just with a little Wi-Fi. With our new found accessibility — everything at the click of a button — our lives have become all that much more convenient, and our businesses and assets have become all that much more vulnerable. Cybercrime has boomed over the last decade and has become a real problem for businesses, large and small alike.
In the U. S. alone, more than 35,000 computer security incidents happen each day, and that is only the reported attacks. Many more attacks happen but go unreported as businesses aren’t legally required to report some types of attacks. According to PwC’s 2015 US State of Cybercrime Survey, a total of 79 percent of respondents detected a security incident in the past year. The security firm Gemalto estimated that in 2015 alone, more than 700 million data records were compromised, but unfortunately only 37 percent of organizations have implemented a dedicated cyber incident response plan.
All too often, companies consider themselves too small to be targeted by hackers or blame insufficient funds to invest in cybersecurity. But recent studies have shown that because of these reasons alone, small- and medium-sized companies are the first to be picked on. As intelligent individuals, hackers know that smaller companies can’t afford to invest in heavy data security, which makes them an easy target. But it is important to note that very often it doesn’t matter what size your company is, it’s more about who you do business with — client and partnership alike and what kind of data you store. Businesses that carry a lot of customer contact information like credit cards, health data, or valuable intellectual property are at a high risk of a cyberattack.
Moreover, if you have any online contact with larger companies that carry and store this kind of information, you can become an easy target. Especially if your non-secure systems can unlock access to your partner’s data.
For many who are still on the fence about whether or not to invest in a protection plan, previous hacks on well-known companies should be enough to sway anyone. Think of Target’s big hit in 2014. Most cyber insurance premiums range anywhere between a few hundred to several hundred thousand. Compare that to the $291 million that Target had incurred as of January 2016 in breach-related costs (this includes crisis communications, forensics costs and legal fees). The average costs of legal fees alone after a data breach is nearly $700,000. For larger companies it can reach up and beyond $3,000,000. The necessity of strong cybersecurity measures is self-evident. Governments, individuals and companies are caught in the cross hairs. Yahoo itself has also disclosed a massive breach that, along with Target’s hack, is still making headlines.
Unfortunately, companies aren’t spending enough time on training their employees and investing in a security plan. According to a survey, the most common passwords on computers were “password”, “123456”, and “12345678”. In fact, the report revealed a high volume of low levels of security awareness among users and that eight in 10 attacks could be prevented just with basic computer security and better passwords alone. This includes better passwords on social media sites and even physical security measures like video object tracking to detect potential physical attacks on your company. The most common form of cyberattacks involve the hacking of social networking sites, along with malicious software targeting computers and credit card fraud.
Whether big or small, your company should be investing in a well-defined security policy. Whether you invest in a hefty insurance policy and implement as many preventative measures possible or even if you train your employees in better computer security, the effort and investment can save you millions down the road. Invest in securing your data; it may be the best investment you make ever.
Photo Credit: Alexander Kirch/Shutterstock
Rick Delgado has been blessed to have had a successful career and has recently taken a step back to pursue his passion of freelance writing. He loves to write about new technologies and ways of keeping ourselves secure in a changing digital landscape. He writes articles for several companies, including Dell.