In the digital age, many businesses are concerned with mitigating cyber security risks and avoiding data breaches. As cyber-attacks continue to spiral, many organizations turn to vendors who offer cyber security services to address the pervasive issue. Threats come in various forms and are becoming increasingly sophisticated by artificial intelligence, botnets, and automation. It takes a layered, robust, and holistic approach to manage every threat. Further, with the steep shortage of cyber security professionals, midsize businesses need all the help they can get. Continue reading to learn more.
Take a look at the various types of cyber threats
In terms of cyber security risks, there are a few to put on your radar.
A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack basically works to flood a network with traffic so that it can’t process any additional requests and shuts down. As a result, anyone who needs access to the service will be “denied.” Today, botnets are used – powered by AI – in the thousands and millions working in conjunction to wreak havoc on their targets. Simultaneously, there have been cases where DDoS attacks are used as a distraction while cyber criminals breach another location.
Malicious software, or malware, is deployed onto computers and encoded to take specific actions. For instance, spyware would spy on a device. Viruses attach themselves to files or programs and spread. Adware produces pop-ups to acquire revenue. Although one of the most dangerous types of malware is ransomware.
If there is one cyber security risk-taking the digital world by storm, it’s ransomware. Not only are small businesses on the receiving end of cyber crime syndicates, but so are government agencies at the local, state, and federal levels. To date, hundreds of government agencies have already been affected by ransomware. The malware works by encrypting files and then demanding a “ransom” to decrypt the files so the authorized owners can once again gain access. If these files are the only copy an entity has, they become even more valuable.
Social engineering works just as the given term entails; a cyber criminal pretends to be either a legitimate organization or a person to gain access to files, data, and even financial records. For example, many cyber criminals will pretend to be authentic charities soliciting money to help victims during a natural disaster. Social engineering is one of the easiest cyber crimes to perpetrate because it doesn’t require advanced technical knowledge. All the threat actor has to do is convince their target to do the following:
- Share sensitive data
- Download malware (disguised as an attachment, website, link, etc.)
- Provide login credentials
The most common type of social engineering is phishing or sending emails. If an unassuming end user opens up an infected attachment, the malware will also infect the recipient’s computers, among other cyber security risks it may incur. Yet, social engineering can also take place on social media and even SMS text messages.
It helps to employ a vendor who offers cyber security services because some of the most significant cyber security risks come from employees. Whether it’s a mistake or an error by design, staff can accidentally expose sensitive data. So then, cyber security awareness training is a must.
Identify cyber security risks
Creating a cyber security culture within your organization is one of the most proactive ways to identify cyber security risks. In fact, SSI offers cyber security awareness training. A cyber security culture is aware of cyber security risks and what needs to be done in terms of identification and mitigation. Other reasons why you should partner with a cyber security services vendor is because they will do the following:
- Consistently test your systems
- Bridge the skills gap
- Provide disaster recovery services
- Ensure business continuity
According to an IBM and Ponemon Institute study, the average cost for a global data breach is around $3.86 million. If you break it down, it adds up to about $150 per data record. Some of the most popular targets include government, nonprofit, manufacturing, service, and finance organizations. If your company has limited resources, all it would take is one successful cyber attack to devastate your operations. Other cyber security risks include:
- Loss of critical data
- Impact on customer experience and customer trust
- Expensive legal and regulatory fees
- Diminished productivity and associated output losses
So then, let’s rehash and add to some of the ways you can identify cyber security risks below:
- Partner with a cyber security services vendor to improve cyber resilience and business continuity.
- Manage information access more strategically.
- List all company devices and laptops.
- Remove access for unauthorized personnel.
- Secure remote networks for remote employees.
- Encourage employees to use strong passwords and change them every three months.
- Ensure that each employee has an individual user account.
Additionally, it is critical to creating a relevant cyber security policy that includes expectations for how you want your staff to protect company data. Also, it should have a list of which resources need more protection. All staff should read and understand your cyber security policy. Then, update the policy annually – as required.
Now that you have had time to explore how to identify cyber security risks, it’s time to consider cyber security services. SSI has a team of highly skilled cyber security experts ready to create a custom solution for your business today.