Each day, hackers are coming up with new ways to target businesses. It’s crucial to keep up-to-date with the latest ways to protect yourself.
But did you know that, more often than not, businesses are making it easier for hackers to cause damage? Many of us have bad habits and make common mistakes that expose us.
This article will guide you through the common pitfalls businesses face with cyberattacks. We’ll also suggest ways you can change to ensure you and your staff are always protected.
5 Ways a Business Can Be Vulnerable to Cyberattacks
For businesses, cyberattacks are becoming more common. A security report from Checkpoint found that, on average, there are over 1,168 attacks on businesses weekly. This is a 38% increase from last year, primarily because of more people working remotely and the sudden rise of AI technologies.
So, what can you do to keep hackers at bay? Sometimes, a behavior change is all we need to reinforce our security. Below are six common pitfalls and vulnerabilities you need to be mindful of.
1. Poor Staff Training
Whether clicking on a bad link or downloading a malicious file, human error is one of the most common ways for a criminal to hack a business. This is usually a result of poor training in cybersecurity.
Keep staff updated on the latest attack types and teach them how to respond accordingly. Make cybersecurity a part of daily work life and show employees the various cyber threats, such as phishing, training them to detect and protect themselves from a threat.
Additionally, your business must have clear policies and procedures to report concerns and potential vulnerabilities. Encourage and reward them for taking proactive measures against cyber threats. Also, consider hosting mock tests so employees can practice their skills in a judgment-free environment.
2. Strengthen Your Connections
As remote working becomes the new normal, workers log on from across the world, including their homes and when on holidays. While great for staff flexibility, remote working can open up many internet security issues.
A report by Alliance Virtual Offices found a 238% increase in cyberattacks targeting home workers since the pandemic. Hackers will try to intercept these often weaker connections at home to gain access to business systems.
While staff training is again essential here, one of the best ways of bolstering your defenses is by using a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN disguises your static IP address to make it appear as if you’re logging in from somewhere else in the world. It can make your PC incredibly difficult to track and attack.
What is a static IP address? It’s a number assigned to a device that doesn’t change. Businesses can whitelist employees’ static IPs to give them full access to sensitive information and systems without compromising their security. Even on public Wi-Fi networks, a VPN will keep online activity and login credentials safe and secure from prying eyes.
3. No Cybersecurity Incident Reporting Protocols
A cybersecurity incident report is a document that details a data breach. Businesses can use this to react to cyber threats and mitigate damage promptly. It can also help raise threat awareness and build trust between teams.
Businesses that fail to properly invest in this kind of preventative action will suffer at the hands of hackers. Research from IBM Security found that, in total, organizations with incident report capabilities save over $2.66 million more than companies with no such preparations.
4. Weak Passwords That Are Easy to Crack
Passwords are one of the most essential parts of cybersecurity, yet they are easily overlooked. Businesses may have weak, easy-to-guess passwords and repeat them for many different accounts, which makes hacking them a dream for criminals.
Thankfully, it’s very straightforward to create strong passwords. So long as you take into account the following tips:
- The longer the password, the better. Try to reach at least 6-12 characters.
- Use a mixture of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Avoid using common phrases, personal details, and words found in dictionaries.
- Never repeat the password. Always add a unique character to keep accounts separate.
If keeping track of longer passwords is difficult, you may be interested in a password manager. This innovative software stores, encrypts, and enters passwords into sites automatically, meaning you never have to compromise your security.
5. Poor Physical Security
As more and more employees work remotely, there is an added risk that laptops, USBs, smartphones, and devices with sensitive information can be lost or stolen. Hackers can then seize information from these devices.
This can cause enormous financial and reputational damage in recovering your information and substantial legal ramifications.
Research from 2015 found that the average cost to a business of a lost or stolen device with sensitive data was $3,456,000. It included breach costs, notifying clients, and potential legal battles arising from the security breach.
Again, training staff to work and mind their equipment off-site is critical to preventing this. Additionally, you should set up multi-factor authentication so that in the event a device is compromised, hackers will not be able to log into it successfully.