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Why You Should Strive For More Than Cyber Security Compliance

Why You Should Strive For More Than Cyber Security Compliance

Why You Should Strive For More Than Cyber Security Compliance

Technology has brought a wide range of changes to the business world. Many of these changes have been good for businesses, but with new advantages, new dangers have also developed. These dangers include cyber attacks like data breaches. When it comes to cybersecurity, many businesses only do the bare minimum to meet compliance requirements. Here’s why your business should be going above and beyond and take cybersecurity a few steps further.

Introduction to Cybersecurity

Cyber security is comprised of a series of tools and policies that work in conjunction to make firms more secure and safer from cyber-attacks. All too often managers think of cyber security as merely a piece of software that magically defends their business from all sorts of attacks.

This is the wrong way to think about it. While anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware software is incredibly useful, you still can’t expect them to do everything for you. That’s where cyber security policy comes in. Firms that have strong cyber-security policies in place perform better when their system is being challenged. 

It’s important to know that you could have the strongest most powerful cyber security software in the world running on your systems and still suffer an attack due to poor policy. For example, it is frighteningly common for company systems to be compromised when an employee falls prey to a phishing attack. The details of the setup vary but are basically the same. 

An employee receives an official-looking email from someone else working in their department. The email asks them for sensitive information under the guise of a fellow employee. Once supplied with the information, the hacker can then effectively infiltrate the company’s system without having to worry about cracking through firewall software at all.   

If that same employee had been given proper instruction and had a cyber security policy to follow, they would not have made the mistake of divulging such sensitive information to the wrong person. 

Cyber Security Threats

When thinking about cyber threats, it’s natural to assume that only the largest of businesses are targeted. After all, we hear about big names like eBay, Yahoo, and Marriott International being targeted by hackers in the news. You might be surprised to know that while the big fish get more media attention when there’s a breach, small businesses actually bear the brunt of the damage and are targeted much more heavily. 

To put it in perspective, 43% of cyber attacks are directed at small businesses. The average cost of these attacks is in excess of $200,000 which is enough to put many small firms out of business overnight.  

Worse still is the fact that only 14% of small businesses are adequately prepared to defend themselves in the event of a cyber-attack. 

Cybercrime evolves remarkably fast and seems to get more creative every year. There is a dizzying array of cyber threats to watch out for. Here’s a rundown on some of the most serious ones out there.

Ransomware – Ransomware attacks usually start with phishing by sending an innocent-sounding email with a link. Once the link has been clicked on, it unleashes a nasty virus that can effectively take your system hostage. Users cannot regain control of their own system until they either pay the hacker, usually in Bitcoin, or consult a cyber security professional for help. 

DDoS – Also known as a distributed denial-of-service attack overloads a website with requests until it will no longer appear. This can be particularly devastating for retail businesses over the holidays when sales are critical. A DDoS attack can keep your website down and make it unavailable to customers.  

Worm Virus – A worm is one of the most dangerous and sophisticated subclasses of computer viruses. The most terrifying aspect of worm viruses is that unlike most other viruses, they are able to spread from terminal to terminal without any human interaction. In traveling between computers, these viruses copy themselves so many times over that they often end up shutting systems down because they’ve consumed so much memory. 

Trojan Horse –  In cyber security, Trojan Horse refers to an attack in which someone mistakes something that is sent to them or that they find online as useful software. The software is, in fact, malicious code that can wreak havoc on your system. 

There are countless other forms of cyber-attacks that your business may face. The aforementioned list is by no means exhaustive as new methods are always on the rise. 

Why it Pays to Do More Than the Bare Minimum

Businesses are held to certain standards by various regulations that carry specific compliance standards they must meet to continue operation. While this might seem like a headache, you should be going much farther than simply meeting the regulatory compliance requirements. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, companies are going to be spending even more on cyber defenses throughout 2020. This dramatic increase in spending correlates with an unwelcome spike in the number and severity of cyber-attacks. 

Going above and beyond the regulatory requirements isn’t just something that paranoid managers do. In fact, with so much money on the line, it pays to be paranoid.  That’s because of how much a data breach typically costs. Data breaches tend to have the highest cost in the United States. On average, a data breach costs U.S. businesses around $3.86 million! If you think that sounds like a lot of money, you don’t even want to think about how much a more serious global data breach is. These bad boys can cost hundreds of millions of dollars. 

Knowing how expensive a data breach can be, the amount that companies spend on cyber security seems almost paltry in comparison. The fact of the matter is, it’s not about how much you spend on cyber security, it’s about what you spend it on and how you allocate that money that makes a real difference. 

You can’t just throw all your money at software and hope it catches everything. The smart thing to do is to work with a knowledgeable cyber security firm that knows the industry inside and out. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a little help and when it comes to cyber security, a little help can go a long way.   

Conduct a Security Audit

One of the best ways to test your own cyber-defenses and see how prepared your firm is for a cyber-attack is to have a security audit. These audits are conducted by third-party businesses who have the technical expertise to make an accurate evaluation of a company’s cyber security situation. 

Sometimes these audits are necessitated by regulation and are done to satisfy the terms of cyber security compliance. You should, however, embrace the idea of having a security audit performed somewhat regularly to keep your system in check. The idea here is that if a firm can’t survive a security audit, they certainly won’t survive and actual attack and the latter is much more expensive! As a rule of thumb, it’s much smarter to be proactive as it’s less expensive to pay for security services than it is to lose everything in a data breach that could have been prevented. 

Seek the Help of a Cyber Security Firm

As you may have gleaned by now, there is a lot to know about cyber security. There is frankly far too much for the average business owner to stay on top of. There just isn’t enough time in the day to dedicate yourself to the study of cyber security while trying to run a business. You can’t do both, and you shouldn’t have to. That’s where cyber security firms come in

Firms like Aquia Solutions know a great deal about cyber security compliance, and have what it takes to keep businesses safe. Whomever you choose, the ideal partner is one that can deliver security solutions that are flexible, customizable, and cost-effective. 

The important thing to remember is that cyber security is a business risk, not just an IT issue. If your system contracts a virus or suffers a data breach, the damage is most certainly not contained to the IT department. The damage will be widespread and bring a firm to its knees.   

The business world is changing, and firms can no longer afford to skimp on security if they want to survive. You can’t just lock up your sensitive information in a filing cabinet anymore. Information is all over your system and unless you’ve doubled down on your defenses, any hacker worth their salt can get to it. To give your business the best chance of survival, you need to go beyond the standards of cyber security compliance.

While businesses shouldn’t be aloof to cyber threats, they shouldn’t fold either. It’s time to fight back, and the best offense is a good defense, find yours today.