Identifying and mitigating overlooked cyber risks for businesses
As technology continues to advance, businesses of all sizes are facing an increasing number of cyber threats. These threats can range from malware and phishing scams to data breaches and insider threats. The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and with it, so are the tactics used by cybercriminals.
One of the most common cyber risks for businesses is malware. This type of malicious software is often inserted into a company’s web pages or files by cyber criminals who have gained access to the business’s network. Once installed, malware can be used to steal sensitive data, disrupt operations, and even take control of the entire network.
Another common cyber risk is phishing scams. These scams often involve criminals posing as legitimate organizations and trying to trick employees into giving away sensitive information or clicking on malicious links. In May 2020, The National Kidney Foundation suffered a data breach as a result of a successful phishing attack.
Data breaches are another serious cyber risk for businesses. These breaches can occur when cybercriminals gain unauthorized access to a company’s sensitive data, such as customer information or financial records. And mind you, these are not limited to the big guys only. In 2020, at the height of COVID-19, the number of data breach incidents in Singapore rose by 50% compared to the previous year, with a whopping 2,643 reported cases. Nearly half of all cyberattacks in Singapore that year targeted SMEs.
Insider threats are another type of cyber risk that businesses should be aware of. These threats can come from current or former employees who have access to sensitive data and can use it for malicious purposes. Kaspersky reported in 2020 that 1 in 5 businesses globally experienced a cyber incident caused by an insider. Although these incidents do not always come with malice, it should be noted that the results are just as damaging.
Common causes of these threats occurring
Threats to a company’s security can occur from a variety of causes, such as insufficient employee training and awareness, insufficient incident response planning, and outdated software and hardware.
Insufficient employee training and awareness
Insufficient employee training and awareness of cybersecurity can have serious consequences for businesses. Without proper training, employees may not be aware of the latest cyber threats and may not know how to protect themselves and the company from these risks. This can lead to poor security practices, such as using weak passwords, clicking on suspicious links, or sharing sensitive information with unauthorized individuals.
One of the main risks of not providing cybersecurity training to employees is the lack of awareness. This is because workers who lack cybersecurity awareness are putting the business at risk. When employees are not aware of the latest cyber threats, they may not know how to recognize and avoid these dangers. This can lead to security breaches, data loss, and other serious problems.
Another risk of not providing cybersecurity training to employees is the increase in poor security practices. Without proper training, employees may not know how to protect sensitive information, such as customer data or financial records. They may also not know how to effectively use security software, such as antivirus programs or firewalls. This can leave the company vulnerable to cyber attacks and also can lead to regulatory violations and legal fees.
Moreover, not providing cybersecurity training to employees can result in a lack of readiness to defend against cyber-attacks. Cybersecurity defenders must constantly maintain mission readiness to defend against coordinated networks of bad actors. Without proper training, employees may not know how to respond to a cyber-attack, which can lead to further damage and data loss.
To mitigate these risks, companies should prioritize cybersecurity training for their employees. This training should be ongoing and cover the latest cyber threats and how to handle them. Regular training can help employees understand their role in protecting the company from cyber risks and help them to make better security decisions. This can lead to a more secure business and a better defense against cyber-attacks.
Insufficient incident response planning
Insufficient incident response planning in cybersecurity can have serious consequences for businesses. Without a proper incident response plan, a company may not know how to respond effectively to a cyber attack, which can lead to significant data loss and financial damage.
One of the main effects of insufficient incident response planning is that it can result in a slow response time to a cyber-attack. Incident response resources are key for a successful response to a cyber attack, but without proper planning, a company may not have the necessary resources in place to respond quickly to an attack. This can lead to further damage and data loss, as well as a decline in the company’s reputation.
To mitigate these effects, companies should prioritize incident response planning in cybersecurity. This planning should include identifying potential cyber threats, developing response procedures, and regularly testing and updating the incident response plan. This can help ensure that a company is prepared to respond effectively to a cyber-attack and minimize the damage caused by an attack.
Outdated software and hardware
Outdated software and hardware can have a significant impact on a company’s cybersecurity.
One of the major risks of outdated systems is a ransomware attack. In 2017, the WannaCry outbreak impacted over 160,000 users worldwide, which was caused by a lack of ransomware protection in outdated systems. This is because outdated software and hardware often lack the necessary security updates and patches to protect against known vulnerabilities.
Another risk of using outdated technology is data loss. Outdated technology can introduce “a crippling effect on your personnel and teams who find their time and efforts derailed by ineffective or broken solutions.” This can lead to lost productivity and significant financial losses for a company.
In summary, the use of outdated software and hardware can have a significant impact on a company’s cybersecurity. Risks include ransomware attacks, data loss, increased vulnerability to cyber attacks, and poor performance. Businesses should ensure that they are regularly updating and upgrading their software and hardware to protect against known vulnerabilities and stay current with the latest security features.
Cyber risks are a serious concern for businesses of all sizes. But with the right knowledge and preparation, businesses can protect themselves from these risks or reduce it and keep their sensitive data and operations secure. By understanding the most common cyber risks and taking steps to mitigate them, businesses can safeguard their futures and ensure the continued success of their operations.
How a DPO can help quash these cyber risks
Cyber risks are prevalent nowadays, especially since almost everyone is on board the digitalisation train. When these overlooked cyber risks for businesses are not addressed, they could be entry points of opportunistic bad actors who could destroy the hard-earned reputation of your business, and the business itself. To ensure that this will never happen to your organization, a DPO can help.
A Data Protection Officer (DPO) oversees data protection responsibilities and ensures that organizations comply with the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). Furthermore, every Organization’s DPO should be able to curb any instances of cyber threats and instances of data breaches as it is the officer responsible for maintaining the positive posture of an organization’s cybersecurity.
This officer has a crucial role in ensuring that your organisation is compliant with the PDPA, and all other aspects for such compliance is on point, leaving no room or gray areas for bad actors to fit into the picture.
DPOs complement the efforts of organizations in making sure that your employees are well aware and trained in dealing the company’s sensitive data, that there is an available response plan when a breach occurs, and to ensure that you are consistently reminded to update and protect your network and servers all year-round.
Don’t wait any longer to ensure your organisation is PDPA compliant. Take our free 3-minute PDPA Compliance self-audit checklist now, the same “secret weapon” used by our clients to keep them on track. Upon completion, we will send you the results so you can take the necessary action to protect your customers’ data. Complete the free assessment checklist today and take the first step towards protecting your customers’ personal data.