Technology is expanding rapidly; more and more information is going digital.

Cybersecurity is now a global concern for small and large businesses alike. Just February of this year (2021), Singapore Airlines has become one of the victims of a recent cyber attack on a third-party IT company – SITA. More than 500,000 of Singapore Air’s frequent flyer member’s data have been breached with a “highly sophisticated attack”.

These attacks just show that anybody could be a victim and that today is not the right time to be complacent and ignorant about cybersecurity measures for your company.

In this article, read on as we will guide you on why you need to take your cybersecurity seriously, invest sufficiently and adopt sensible countermeasures to protect your data.

Why you should take cybersecurity seriously: The impact

With all the cybersecurity news we keep on hearing across the globe day by day, it just seems like a never-ending battle. Yet, there are still a lot of companies that do not take cybersecurity seriously thinking that their businesses do not attract hackers due to their smaller size than the larger companies featured in the news.

However, small businesses are just as likely to be the victim of cyber-attacks as large corporations are – we are just less likely to hear about these attacks. Just think about it, an attack affecting a company with only just around 20 employees will not make much noise anywhere compared to a large bank that has been crippled by a data breach, see? The only difference is that large corporations tend to have a higher chance of bouncing back after an attack while small businesses do not.

Cyber threats are becoming more and more complex as technology evolves and complacency can just heighten our risk of cybercrime which can cause heavy damage to your business.

Being crippled by a cyber-attack is no longer a question of “if” but of “when”. And if we continue not to employ cybersecurity measures in place, business operations can get disrupted which often leads to:

1. Financial loss 

Cyber-attacks often result in financial loss in the form of theft of intellectual property, theft of corporate information, disruption of trading, and the cost of repairing damaged systems. Cybercrimes are becoming more sophisticated, and they do not measure whether you are a small or a large business. But if your system is vulnerable, you are more exposed to any cyber-attacks and data breaches. This will lead to more expense to the company as they remediate the affected system, network, or devices.  

2. Reputational risk 

As much as possible, businesses are taking care of their brand and reputation to remain competitive. Many business owners avoided disclosing cyber-attacks, fearing this could invite further attacks or damage their reputation. However, without finding a solution, this will lead to loss of consumer trust, loss of sales, contracts, loss of current and future customers, and disruption of trading. Moreover, the effect of reputational damage can have a significant impact on your suppliers, and that can affect the relationships of your stockholders, investors, and other parties invested in your business.    

3. Regulatory costs 

Your business could suffer from regulatory fines or sanctions because of failing to comply with data protection legislation. Data protection and privacy laws require the organization to secure all the sensitive information from personal data to customer information. 

Being hit by a cyber-attack costs you more than just monetary values and sometimes, unfortunately, these impacts are also what hinder some businesses to bounce back to their business operations after an attack.

The impacts we cited above should be enough for you to start taking your cybersecurity measures up a notch. But do not take too much of your time…

Cyber attackers are not slowing down 

According to VMware Carbon Black’s Singapore Threat Report: 

  • 43% of Singapore-based companies have seen an increase in cyber-attack volume in the last 12 months, while
  • 67% of these organizations stated that the attacks have become more sophisticated than before.  

These figures denote that cyber-criminals are not really into slowing down their cyber-attack strategies but even adopting more advanced tactics to exploit businesses. These can lead to a more devastating impact in disrupting your operations and even your customer’s trust. 

What does this mean for you?  

Cyber-criminals are relentless, persistent, and unlikely to stop, they adopt new technology at a fast pace, they provide new approached to steal your data and gain access to your networks that could block your services and impose costs just to retrieve your data or network.  

5 best cybersecurity practices for your business

As we continue adapting to the digital world, threats also grow exponentially, affecting businesses regardless of size and industry. The studies reveal that investing in cyber-security solutions today should not just be an option but a priority for your business to run smoothly and securely. 

But aside from the cybersecurity solutions in place, maintaining a good cybersecurity practice daily across your organization is also important. Here are 5 basic tips you can start with that can help and protect your business

1. Keep all your software updated

Most business owners get too busy without knowing that their software is outdated. Hackers tend to gain access via exploits.

Not updating regularly, makes your systems or your networks vulnerable to cyber-attacks. 

2. Secure strong password policies 

One of the biggest threats in business is a weak password. One of the primary choices for hackers in compromising servers and endpoints is brute-force attacks. In this form of attack, cyber-criminals will input as many passwords as possible, with the aid of bots, just to see if any of them work against the target. The attacks are often successful due to the number of systems that use default credentials or extremely common passwords.

Here are tips on how to secure a strong password: 
  • Make it a practice that all passwords should have at least 8 letters with special characters, and the more complicated password, the better chance to have higher protection.  
  • Do not use the same password on other devices. 
  • Change your passwords regularly, choose something easy to remember. 
  • Use two-factor or Multi-factor authentication, it adds a layer of security to online identification. 

3. Back up your data 

Backing up your data is also one of the overlooked practices in a business. If you are a victim of ransomware or other malicious cyber-attack, the only way to restore your data and get back to business operations is your recently performed backup.

Make sure that you keep a copy of your data in different media locations such as local and external hard drives, offsite backup, or cloud backup. 

Backing up your data to the cloud or an offsite location is also a great investment so that in the event of natural disasters, affecting your on-premises backup system, you can still be able to roll back to business with your cloud or offsite backup.

4. Educate your staff 

Human error is one of the most causes of data leaks and breaches. It is important to educate your staff to identify the threats and practice to stay away from suspicious links. 

Here are a few cybersecurity tips for your staff to remember: 
  • Do not open emails from people you do not know. 
  • If the email is suspicious, better delete it right away. 
  • Malicious links are sometimes coming from within the company network or from friends that might have been infected. So, be vigilant. 

It only takes one click to infect a user’s system with malware or ransomware, from there, it can easily travel to your network. So, be very careful on clicking links or opening an attachment in the emails. Are your employees ready for a cyber-attack?

5. Outsourcing your cybersecurity

Too many things to keep an eye on? If you are not into the technicalities of cybersecurity but still want to get your company protected and prepared, you can choose to easily outsource IT Professionals to manage your cybersecurity so you could focus on your core business while ensuring you are protected from attacks.

Outsourcing your cybersecurity allows you to worry less about daily IT operations while getting everything up & running when you come into work each morning. Plus, you get to have access to reliable and certified professionals, proactive support, and even newer technologies that could help in scaling your business.

Cybercriminals are just lurking around looking for areas to exploit businesses, taking a single step and practicing these cybersecurity basics on day-to-day operations can help you stay ahead of the game.

We know by now that cybersecurity can greatly impact our business in more ways than one. These basic practices can help fend off cyber criminals if done correctly and consistently on a day-to-day basis but where and how should we start?

As every business is different, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to cybersecurity. To address every business’s different needs, we need to take a step back and evaluate what security systems you already have in place, what possible gateways hackers could make use of to get into your organization, what systems or appliances are outdated that could be exploited, and everything else in between. 

But how?

Perform a Cybersecurity Assessment

To determine what will work best for your business’s cybersecurity, we need to have the right strategy, and strategy comes after analyzing and assessing your current cybersecurity posture.

Data Connect Technologies Cyber Security Assessment Services

With DCT’s cybersecurity assessment services, you get the full visibility you need to improve your cybersecurity posture. The cybersecurity assessment can help you identify gaps across software & devices to ensure compliance with your internal security policies; address threats requiring immediate action and get recommendations to consolidate security functions to reduce cost and risk to your business; understand your overall security maturity and the steps you need to take to improve it, and get expert guidance from professionals to build more resilient IT infrastructure and respond quickly to new threats.

This is not just another expense for cybersecurity but a vital set of information for you to know whether you are on the right track in protecting your business assets. Benefit from comprehensive analysis and clear recommendations. And ultimately reduce the risk of downtime, data loss, and improve the overall security of your organization

Final Thoughts 

An effective cybersecurity measure nowadays does not just comprise of a simple antivirus just like the old times. It now requires a combination of the right strategy, awareness, knowledge, tools, and best practices to effectively fend off cyber criminals away. But as the threat landscape continuously evolves exponentially, we should not just be complacent on a single action taken but always be proactive in looking for ways to protect our business assets effectively.

Data Connect Technologies Pte Ltd is a dynamic ICT and Services Provider with over 18 years of experience in providing excellent IT support to companies all over Singapore.

Data Connect Technologies Pte Ltd is a Gold Partner of Microsoft and has recently been recognized as one of Singapore’s Fastest Growing Companies 2021.

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