February 26, 2021
How safe is your business data in 2021?
How safe is your business data in 2021?
By Tonny Tugee, SEACOM East and North East Africa Managing Director
Cybercrime is expected to cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025 and will be more profitable for criminals than the estimated global trade of all illegal drugs combined. From social engineering to ransomware attacks, cyber threats evolve with technology, and it has become increasingly important for businesses to bolster their digital security – especially for companies that are pushing to stay competitive by scaling up their digital capabilities.
Small businesses are prime targets for cyberattacks as they often lack the necessary knowledge and resources to protect their IT systems effectively. It seems clear that when it comes to cybersecurity, no one can be too safe. So, here are some of the common threats in cyber security I think businesses should look out for in 2021.
Phishing is one of the most well-known types of cyberattack. It uses social engineering to steal login credentials or install malware. Usually, a cybercriminal poses as a trustworthy contact, such as a banking representative or company employee, via an email, phone call, or website that is designed to look legitimate in every way. This tricks the user into either entering their username and password into a fake login form, downloading malware through a hyperlink or email attachment (like a word document), or giving sensitive company information to the hacker which could help them with their phishing attempts on other employees.
Training employees is a cost-effective and critical way for businesses to fight phishing. Many companies also conduct phishing tests, which randomly send fake phishing emails to safely determine how vulnerable your workforce is and show them the common characteristics of a phishing scam.
Ransomware is a type of malware that infiltrates a computer or network and encrypts the victim’s valuable files or prevents access to networks. The valuable files or network access are then held ransom and companies are given a choice: pay the hacker or risk losing everything. With cryptocurrencies used as a form of payment, it has also become nearly impossible to track where ransoms are being paid to.
For businesses, it is therefore extremely important to have adequate malware protection and to keep regular backups or ‘system images’, especially of valuable files. Even if a hacker manages to access your system, you’ll be safeguarded by having duplicates.
Connected devices like tablets, phones, routers, appliances, or security systems are becoming more commonplace, but they also open up new vulnerabilities for hackers. As highlighted by Forbes, even printers can be hacked into remotely to give access to company documents. Mitigating a large portion of this risk is easy for businesses – keeping software updated, changing passwords, and implementing stringent rules about what devices are allowed to join the network are good places to start.
Mobile phones are also susceptible to malware, and with more people working from their phones, one compromised mobile device could leave the entire business vulnerable. Businesses should look at implementing multiple layers of network security that kick in when device security fails.
The war of the algorithms
AI has resulted in an arms race between cybercriminals and cybersecurity companies to make better and smarter algorithms. Hackers are using machine learning to deploy far more cyberattacks than a human could, in ways that adapt and learn automatically. Cybersecurity companies need to fight fire with fire, using AI to analyse massive amounts of data, do ‘threat hunting’ on a larger scale, and manage vulnerabilities more efficiently. As attacks become more sophisticated, it becomes more likely that unprotected businesses will fall victim.
Securing your future
From small businesses to global enterprises, cybersecurity has become an essential practise that no one can afford to overlook. Companies should consider outsourcing their security services if they do not have the adequate IT resources to protect their networks. Moving business to the cloud should be a first consideration for those who want to secure their business data.
You wouldn’t leave the front doors of your office unlocked, so why leave your business data wide open? SEACOM has partnered with leading security providers to ensure your ICT solutions are covered. Secure your business data with SEACOM today.