A new infographic by Varonis, titled “10 Cyber Security Myths Putting Your Business at Risk” identifies what is the myth and what is the reality. If you are like most small business owners, you probably aren’t a digital security expert. So, having a look at this infographic may be the best way to identify weaknesses in your security protocol.
With small businesses increasingly becoming targets of cyber-attacks, it is extremely important for owners to stay abreast of the latest developments in digital security.
On the official Varonis blog, Senior Director of Inbound Marketing Rob Sobers writes, “The proliferation of high-profile hacks in the news cycle often tricks small- and medium-sized businesses into thinking that they won’t be targets of attack.”
But this may not be the case, Sobers warns. Staying in the know makes it much harder for you to fall victim to the relentless attacks by cybercriminals.
Sobers ads, “If you or your employees believe any of the myths below, you could be opening up your business to unknown risk.”
The number one myth listed on the new infographic? ‘A strong password is enough to keep your business safe’. Although a strong password is important — and certainly better than ‘Admin1234′ — you need to do more.
Having a two-factor authentication and data monitoring adds another level of protection. And adding this layer of protection is in many cases enough to drive the average hacker to look for easier targets.
Another myth listed on the infographic? “Small and medium-size businesses aren’t targeted by hackers. This is obviously false because hackers are opportunists who will target anyone as long as they can benefit from it. And small businesses are not excluded from this.
The 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report has revealed 58 percent of data breach victims are small businesses, so the idea the size of your business might exclude you is definitely a myth.
Cybercriminals hack computer systems for a variety of reasons. Once they breach your security, they could use it to launch a DDoS attack, use your IP address for other nefarious purposes and more.
Much like some businesses believe they won’t be attacked because of their size, other businesses wrongly assume that they won’t be attacked because of the industry they’re in. This myth also goes hand-in-hand with the belief that some companies don’t have anything “worth” stealing. The reality is that any sensitive data, from credit card numbers to addresses and personal information, can make a business a target.
What’s more, even if the data being targeted doesn’t have resale value on the dark web, it may be imperative for the business to function. Ransomware, for example, can render data unusable unless you pay for a decryption key. This can make attacks very profitable for cybercriminals, even if the data is deemed “low value.”
Anti-virus software is certainly an important part of keeping your organization safe — but it won’t protect you from everything. The software is just the beginning of a comprehensive cybersecurity plan. To truly protect your organization, you need a total solution that encompasses everything from employee training to insider threat detection and disaster protection.
While outsider threats are certainly a concern and should be monitored extensively, insider threats are just as dangerous and should be watched just as closely. In fact, research suggests that insider threats can account for up to 75 percent of data breaches.
These threats can come from anyone on the inside, from disgruntled employees looking for professional revenge to content employees without proper cybersecurity training, so it’s important to have a system in place to deter and monitor insider threats.
While IT has a big responsibility when it comes to implementing and reviewing policies to keep companies cyber safe, true cybersecurity preparedness falls on the shoulders of every employee, not just those within the information technology department.
For example, according to Verizon, 49 percent of malware is installed over email. If your employees aren’t trained on cybersecurity best practices, like how to spot phishing scams and avoid unsafe links, they could be opening up your company to potential threats.
If your business has employees who travel often, work remotely or use shared workspaces, they may incorrectly assume that a password keeps a Wi-Fi network safe. In reality, Wi-Fi passwords primarily limit the number of users per network; other users using the same password can potentially view the sensitive data that’s being transmitted. These employees should invest in VPNs to keep their data more secure.
A decade or so ago it may have been true that you could tell immediately if your computer was infected with a virus — tell-tale signs included pop-up ads, slow-to-load browsers and, in extreme cases, full-on system crashes.
However, today’s modern malware is much more stealthy and hard to detect. Depending on the strain your computer or network is infected with, it’s quite possible that your compromised machine will continue running smoothly, allowing the virus to do damage for some time before detection.
Employees often assume that their personal devices are immune to the security protocols the company’s computers are subjected to. As such, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies have opened up companies to the cyber risk they may not be aware of. Employees who use their personal devices for work-related activities need to follow the same protocols put in place on all of the network’s computers.
These rules aren’t limited to cell phones and laptops. BYOD policies should cover all devices that access the internet, including wearables and any IoT devices.
Cybersecurity is an ongoing battle, not a task to be checked off and forgotten about. New malware and attack methods consistently put your system and data at risk. To truly keep yourself cyber safe, you have to continuously monitor your systems, conduct internal audits, and review, test, and evaluate contingency plans.
Keeping a business cyber safe is a continuous effort and one that requires every employee’s participation. If anyone at your company has fallen victim to one of the myths above, it may be time to rethink your cybersecurity training and audit your company to assess your risk.