Where Are Your Business’ Cybersecurity Risks?

Where Are Your Business’ Cybersecurity Risks?

By on Sep 4, 2023 in Cybersecurity, Regulatory Compliance Consulting

Do you know where your business stands on the ever-shifting battlefield of cybersecurity? Here’s a sobering fact: Cybercrime is predicted to cost the United States $320 billion by 2023, with small and midsized American businesses absorbing more than half of that total.

Now, take a moment and ask yourself, “Do I know the areas of cybersecurity risk in my business?”

Cybersecurity isn’t just about preventing data breaches; it’s about safeguarding your reputation, customer trust, and profitability. Unfortunately, many small businesses underestimate the myriad ways they’re exposed to threats and the devastating impact those threats could have.

Let’s fortify your knowledge of the most common threats and help you shield your business. Your digital future may very well depend on it!

Understanding the Human Factor: Common Cybersecurity Risks Among Your Staff

In an increasingly digital world, your business’s greatest cybersecurity asset can also be its greatest vulnerability: your staff.  This has become especially true as the line between your employees’ personal and professional lives becomes blurred, and staff increase their use of personal devices for work.

Next-Generation Email Phishing and Advanced Social Engineering Attacks

Phishing is one area in which your staff’s lack of readiness can cast a long shadow over your business operations. Recent statistics from 2022-2023 emphasize the pervasive nature of email phishing and show its staying power as a threat that can infiltrate even the most fortified defenses, estimating at around 3.4 billion malicious emails sent daily.

As hackers move beyond conventional tactics to advanced phishing attacks, such as business email compromise and domain spoofing, companies are facing a new level of sophistication that can breach traditional security protections. We’ve written a whole article on how to identify and stop business email compromise and other advanced phishing attacks, which we encourage you to read here: The New Face of Phishing Attacks in 2023

Insider Threats: The Most Dangerous Threat You Haven’t Considered

Insider threats are another core challenge that businesses in Ohio face. An insider threat occurs when an internal actor steals your data and posts a staggering 20-fold greater risk than external assailants.

Insider threats received a lot of coverage in the 2023 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, which cites the importance of technical onboarding and offboarding procedures as the best way to mitigate those threats.

Unfortunately, our experience has demonstrated that not nearly enough firms take internal threats seriously or coordinate their HR and IT departments effectively to secure those processes.

To protect our clients, we start with a cyber risk audit with a cybersecurity risk assessment framework, such as the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, to help them locate areas of their internal systems that make them vulnerable to exterior and interior threats. This helps our clients navigate the complex security landscape and fortify their defense lines against potential breaches.

We recommend that any growing businesses use resources such as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and the FISMA IT Procedural Guide to do the same, then run a follow-up audit at least every 12 months.

Poor Password Management and Vulnerabilities

The internet offers plenty of opportunities for poor password management to become a security threat. Causing an estimated 81% of data breaches, weak passwords are a big problem, making systems vulnerable. They’re easy to guess without proper planning, putting sensitive data and your entire business at risk.

Small businesses are especially vulnerable to poor password management because they’re less likely to have a central IT department taking responsibility for those processes. This exposes them to various cybersecurity risks, such as malware, phishing, and ransomware.

Just as you watch your supply chain, watch out for cyber risks. Assessing these risks helps protect your business. Remember, securing passwords is crucial to defending against common cybersecurity risks. This multifaceted approach encapsulates diverse hazards, such as malware, ransomware, DDoS attacks, and supply chain vulnerabilities, fortified by robust measures such as firewalls.

Malware Infection in the AI Era and Cybersecurity Risk Assessment

In the AI era, ransomware, and other malware are gaining strength. AI is turbocharging malware, making it faster and smarter. This technology boost should be a major security concern for growing businesses, as AI equips malware with speed and intelligence that far outstrips the capabilities of traditional tools.

The growing risk of AI-enhanced malware infections demands attention. The answer is not just an increased focus on high-quality cybersecurity awareness training. Still, businesses must proactively weave AI-driven malware protection tools into the fabric of cybersecurity risk management programs.

As we evaluate cyber-risks, we now need to account for this evolved menace. It’s akin to safeguarding against common cybersecurity risks, but now in the realm of AI’s influence.

Unpatched Systems Vulnerability and Cybersecurity Risk Small Businesses

Small businesses often grapple with mundane network maintenance tasks, such as patching and updates. While not technically that complex, managing, and applying patches takes consistent vigilance and can become especially time consuming as a network grows.

However, neglected software and hardware patches create major cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Ransomware also attacks hospitals and disrupts crucial services by exploiting unpatched software. For example, the global healthcare sector experienced an alarming average of 1.463 weekly cyberattacks in 2022.

Unpatched systems are a piece of the broader cybersecurity risk puzzle. They compound threats such as malware, phishing, and DDoS attacks. Picture it as a weak link in a chain. Addressing this vulnerability is crucial in the realm of risk-based security.

Lack of Disaster Recovery Strategy

While safeguarding your data is paramount, it’s equally vital to understand that disasters may strike at any time and to arm yourself with a comprehensive plan for containing the damage it could cause. To develop a disaster recovery (DR) strategy, you should start devising a plan that outlines the steps to be taken when a disaster inevitably happens.

Unfortunately, many businesses halt their efforts at the planning stage. Managed service providers (MSPs) like Astute Technology Management can help you address your DR strategy’s ongoing testing and maintenance aspect, ensuring that you protect yourself in the short and long term.

A well-rounded disaster recovery plan encompasses data backup strategies, protocols for recovery procedures, and clear communication tactics so your team communicates effectively after disaster strikes.

Consider it akin to having a safety toolkit at your disposal. You should try integrating disaster recovery planning into a broader cybersecurity risk assessment framework for your business as an additional layer of protection.

Identify and Mitigate Your Risk with Ohio’s Professionals

Do you have a nagging feeling that your business isn’t as secure as it should be? Read more about our cybersecurity services in both Columbus and Cincinnati, or contact the friendly Astute Technology Management team at any time at 614 389 4102 or [email protected] at any time. We’re here to help!