Cybercrime is a global issue affecting millions of people every year. However, data breaches aren’t simply happening because technology is evolving so much; they are happening largely as a result of human error and negligence. We are living in an era of a hyperconnected digital ecosystem. Our mobile phones, laptops, desktops, and various gadgets are interconnected and we can transfer photos, messages, videos, or business data in any corner of the world in a blink of an eye.
Because of this, it has become possible for us to stay connected with people around the world, work remotely with clients, without geographical barriers. Your data, if not protected is vulnerable to cyberattack, and it can fall into wrong hands very easily. Even one of your gadgets is poorly protected, it can cause a security breach and your valuable data can get stolen or misused. A hyperconnected digital ecosystem is both boon and bane for us.
To protect your data from theft and damage, cybersecurity is of paramount importance. Your data may include sensitive data, personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI), banking details, intellectual property, industry information etc. If targeted by cybercriminals, it can do more harm than good to your life and business. Therefore, you must add layers of security to your digital data and the gadgets you are accessing.
What is cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is a self-explanatory term. It means protecting and recovering devices, computer systems, networks from cyberattacks so that you can keep using new technology solutions without any fear. Our reliance on technology is increasing, so does the fear of cyberattacks. A robust cybersecurity platform can protect you from even sophisticated and advanced cyberattacks.
Why cybercrime is on the rise?
Cybercrime costs heavily to organizations. It has made information theft a lucrative segment for cybercriminals. Information theft and tempering can put an organization or government’s reputation at stake.
How can cybercrime impact your business?
In 2014, eBay suffered badly due to a cyberattack. Their encrypted passwords were breached by cybercriminals. Apart from encrypted passwords, they got access to users’ personal information such as names, e-mail addresses, delivery addresses, contact numbers, dates of birth etc. As a result, eBay had to ask their 145 million users to reset their passwords.
It took eBay an entire one month to investigate the breach and disclose it to their users. Isn’t this a frightening scenario in a mercilessly competitive business world? The company may have to bear economic costs, reputational costs or regulatory costs if its cybersecurity is breached.
What can you do?
You can take the necessary steps to add layers of security to your digital ecosystem and mitigate the risk of cybercrime. Some of the measures are mentioned below:
a. Conduct training for your staff
Studies suggest that 96% of the data breach are caused due to human errors and misuse of encryption. In most cases, human errors lead attackers to encrypted channels and reveal sensitive information unknowingly. Apart from investing in security operations platforms, it is important to conduct cyber threat awareness training at the workplace. It would educate the staff members about security protocols and prevent them from bypassing security controls.
Through such programs, you can educate them about what is a cyber threat, phishing attack, data breach, social engineering, threat intelligence, etc. Encourage employees to create complex passwords, and to approach suspicious emails with caution. Implement an anti-phishing strategy and ensure your clients are aware of it. For instance, explain that your employees will never ask them directly for their personal or financial information.
b. Use VPN
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a tool that connects a private network with a public network, enabling users to send and receive data across shared or public networks. This gives the impression that their computing devices are directly connected to the private network, but all data is encrypted, making your actions anonymous and preventing hackers from spying on you. Users can also access the internet as if from a different geographical location, which is extremely useful if you need to check real search results in a particular country.
c. Install a HTTPS certificate
A HTTPS certificate is an encryption certificate that encrypts the traffic passing through your site. Not only does it protect the personal and financial data of your customers, but it also brings added commercial benefits: most customers are much more trusting of HTTPS websites, while search engines rank them higher, improving the results of your marketing efforts.
d. Monitor third-party risk
It is observed that compromised third-party providers are the reason for 60% of data breaches. It is important to monitor third-party risk to ensure that your sensitive data is not exposed or leaked. Constant data monitoring is crucial. If you do not give enough attention to small data leaks, it can open doors for cybercriminals to do further damage.
e. Install a powerful data security platform
To err is human. Manual monitoring of security operations can leave a window open for the data breach. You can add layers of security and protect your business from data breaches through platforms that can:
- Detect abnormal activities.
- Provide real-time visibility.
- Enables quick response to security incidents.
- Safeguard sensitive data.
Security platforms will enable you to monitor your data meticulously, assess, measure and remediate security vulnerabilities with great precision. This next-gen cybersecurity tool is built with data analytics, automation and response platform powered by advanced technologies such as Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
f. Protect critical assets
You should install additional protection features for your business-critical assets, such as social media accounts, websites and administrator logins. At the minimum, this should include two-factor authentication, which only grants access after presenting two pieces of evidence (knowledge, possession or inherence). If, for example, your company’s social media account gets hijacked even for a short while, it can wreak all kinds of havoc with your business.
g. Make regular updates
Making regular updates is one of the easiest ways to stay ahead of any potential vulnerabilities as they arise. The best way around this is simply to turn on automatic updates.
h. Enforce strong passwords
Strong, complex passwords provide vital protection from cybercrime. Key features of complex passwords:
- Mix upper and lower case.
- Mix leters and numbers.
- Add a special character (e.g., @ ! ?).
- Make it longer than 10 characters.
i. Regularly backup data
In addition to stealing sensitive information, cyberattacks can outright destroy it. As data is the lifeblood of digital marketing, the importance of backing it up cannot be overestimated. Losing the data you have been collecting since the inception of your business can eliminate years of progress in a blink of an eye.
Most businesses collect and process huge volumes of data about their customers. In the event of a breach, this information can be used in malicious ways, which directly harms the clients and has a negative impact on your company’s reputation. As a result, cybersecurity should be a primary concern of any business owner. It is your duty to know the basics of cybersecurity to protect yourself, your company and your clients. Ignoring these basic principles puts you, your company and your clients in danger, and can potentially lead to financial and reputational losses for your business.