Cybersecurity isn’t something that small business owners want to spend time thinking about. Unfortunately, it’s a very real problem that threatens to tear your business apart at the seams if not dealt with efficiently. Let 2022 be the year that you proactively address this issue.
The Latest Cybersecurity Data and Trends
According to the latest research from Purplesec, cybercrime incidents have been up 600 percent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is largely due to the increase in remote working and the number of transactions and interactions that are occurring online (many over unsecured or vulnerable networks).
Data from IBM shows that remote working has increased the average cost of data breaches by $137,000. In total, more than half a million Zoom user accounts have been stolen and sold on the dark web over the past year.
Malware infections, which are commonly used in spear phishing emails to infiltrate devices and systems, are another big problem. They’ve been on the rise for years. In 2009, there were an estimated 12.4 million malware infections. The latest data suggests there are more than 812.67 million malware infections (92 percent of which is delivered by email).
Ransomware attacks are also on the rise. You might even call 2020-2021 “breakout years.” According to one cybersecurity firm, ransomware costs are expected to reach as much as $265 billion by 2031. And by that time, there will be a new attack every two seconds.
Small Biz Cybersecurity Tips for 2022
The best time to pay attention to cybersecurity was 10 years ago. The next best time is today. If you don’t have a cybersecurity strategy – or if you’re worried that it’s severely lacking – now’s the time to lean in and address the issue. Here are several suggestions:
- Know Your Biggest Threats
While the exact perpetrators might be nameless and faceless, you’re not exactly in the dark when it comes to cyber attacks. The vast majority of attacks fall into one of a few common categories. If your business is attacked, it’ll almost certainly be at the hands of malware, viruses, ransomware, or phishing. Identifying and understanding these threats will make you much less susceptible. (At the very least, it’ll give you the knowledge you need to implement the correct security protocols and strategies.)
- Train Your Employees
Your cybersecurity strategy is only as strong as the people you have in your business. If your employees are making poor decisions – like choosing weak passwords or clicking on suspicious links in emails – nothing else matters. This is why we highly recommend investing in thorough (and frequent) cybersecurity training for your team.
Your employees don’t need to have a degree in cybersecurity, but they should be able to quickly identify threats and suspicious activity. They should also understand the importance of following protocol, practicing good password hygiene, and being mindful of accessing business information on personal devices.
- Implement a Comprehensive Solution
One of the best things you can do for your business is implement a comprehensive security solution that throws a strong perimeter around your company’s IT assets and keeps intruders at bay.
Ideally, you want all of your security tools bundled into one cohesive strategy. The Assist360 Essential Security Bundle is a great example. It includes managed firewall, managed endpoint protection, managed email security, and managed web security.
- Stay Up to Date on New Trends
The cybersecurity industry is constantly evolving in order to meet new threats and trends. Make sure you’re staying up to date on the latest developments so that you can be proactive in your response.
You don’t need to read every cybersecurity white paper and research report that comes out, but you should at least have a working knowledge of what’s happening in the industry and how it affects your business. This allows you to have useful conversations with your team and pivot when needed.
Protect Your Business From Harm
You wouldn’t leave your office in the evening without locking the door, would you? And you wouldn’t leave the password to your bank account lying around for every employee or customer to see, right? Your business is too important to make these mistakes. Unfortunately, many business owners are unknowingly leaving their cyber “doors” and “passwords” exposed for anyone to access.
Now’s the time to take cybersecurity seriously. Experts believe attacks will only increase in 2022, and it’s up to you to take advantage of the technology and strategies that are available to you and your business.