“Cyber-attacks risk companies’ finances, confidence and reputation, with victims reporting not only monetary losses but costs from disruption to their business and productivity. “
– Dr. Adam Marshall (Director General, British Chambers of Commerce)
A study released last month by the British Chambers of Commerce recorded 1 in 5 businesses have been victims of online attacks in the past 12 months.
These figures come as a strong wake up call for businesses in Northern Ireland to push digital security to the to the top of their agendas. Those who remain on the fence about adopting new practices could risk falling behind and put long-standing contracts under scrutiny due to outdated ways of working.
The new sink or swim mentality surrounding digital security puts a lot more than company reputation on the line. A data breach caused by malicious activity on a company can carry threat of widespread disruption internally across daily activities.
The consequences of an online attack can affect operations in a number of ways; the need to invest in new technologies and the loss of income due to downtime is even more critical when considering the time investment needed to correct the vulnerability.
And it doesn’t end there…
Worryingly, it is becoming more common to see hackers holding the stolen information ransom until a financial sum is paid – a practice known as ransomware.
A study found that 51% of small to medium companies have experienced a ransomware attack. What demonstrates a greater cause for concern is that 48% of these have paid the amount despite authorities stating paying does not guarantee the return of the data.
To protect and to serve.
So what is the secret to defending yourself from threats online?
Unfortunately, there is no panacea when it comes to online security but taking a proactive stance will reduce your business’ susceptibility to malicious hacks. Implementing the right security measures prior to an attack will keep your online activity on the right path.
You can safeguard yourself and your business online by;
> Use multi-factor authentication within log in areas and limit access based on user duties to help mitigate risk.
> Make sure you are running the latest version of your online platform to reduce downtime due to outages such as Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attacks.
> Keep all software up to date, including the core of your chosen CMS system and email clients such as Outlook. When a piece software is updated it will include vital security updates which plug any known back doors.
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