Why CEOs need to be more concerned with remote worker cybersecurity

The sudden global transition to remote work has led to an increase in spam, malware, and other threats to online systems. Cyberattacks are a huge risk for any organization, and they are increasing as more businesses transition to web-based applications and remote work behavior. Collaboration and sharing of information in the cloud is a powerful tool for business and due to its pre-pandemic popularity, work hasn’t come to a complete standstill in 2020. With that said, a security breach could halt work entirely if employees cannot access files, so it’s critical that your cybersecurity is optimized and your employees know exactly what to do in the event of a cyberattack. In this article, we will look at how your business may be at risk, and the steps you can take to ensure you are protected. 

Have cyberattacks increased since COVID-19?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. In addition to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report showing that 2019 saw the highest amount of money stolen in the history of the internet, data from 2020 shows that cybercrime has increased during the pandemic. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of elevated anxiety levels to launch pandemic-themed phishing attacks, posing as hospitals, government agencies, and even the World Health Organization (WHO), in order to trick people into revealing sensitive information that can then be used for ransomware attacks or data theft. 

What are the costs of a cyberattack?

Cyberattacks are costly — just how much depends on the precautions and safety measures your business has in place. If you have a detailed backup and recovery plan, for example, you won’t experience nearly as much downtime as you would without one.

Even though any amount of downtime is a problem for businesses, managing a cyberattack with a pre-planned recovery process is much simpler than losing your critical business data. How long could your business survive without a portion of your files? What if all of your data is compromised? 

There’s also your reputation on the line. Clients won’t take a security breach in your organization lightly. Don’t forget: they are trusting your business with their data and personal information. If you break that trust, will they be willing to continue doing business with you? How long before other potential clients find out that you’re vulnerable?

What are the effects of cyberattacks on businesses?

A cyberattack could result in fraud, data loss, financial theft, and loss of system availability, which, in turn, could damage your reputation and potential for acquiring future business. What would happen if your business lost half of its data? Or all of it? Could your business still function? 

To prepare for a potential cyberattack, you need to determine your recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO). 

Recovery time objective: The amount of time you have to restore your data before there are significant losses to your business. 

Recovery point objective: The amount of data you can afford to lose before it impacts the future success of your business.

Once you have calculated your RTO and RPO, you can design a disaster recovery solution. This will include determining which data is backed up, how often and where, and the steps in your recovery protocols. Any good managed IT services provider will be able to guide you through this process.

Is your business at risk of a cyberattack?

If your business is unprepared for a cyberattack, then you’re at risk of suffering one. No organization is too small to be targeted, which is why small businesses are often easy prey for cybercriminals. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that no one would target your business — but it’s the effectiveness of your security, not the size of your business, that deters criminals. The more security protocols and backup procedures you have in place, the less at risk your business is.

What to do to protect your small business from cyberattacks

Train your team on IT security best practices

Your cybersecurity is only as strong as your weakest link. Prioritize cybersecurity training for everyone in your company. It only takes one person’s carelessness to make your business vulnerable. 

You need to show your employees that you care about security so that they will too. Ensure that everyone understands the risks and the role they play in protecting the business.

Implement a company-wide password policy

Everyone in your company needs to follow the recommended password protocol in order to manage cyberthreats. Far too many people rely on weak, easy to remember passwords to save themselves time.

A strong password should be made up of 12 or more mixed character types, including uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Make the sequence as random as possible. You can use a password generator to create a long, randomized password.

Strong passwords are only strong if they’re used once. Repeatedly using the same password across accounts greatly diminishes its strength — just one security breach could threaten all of your accounts if they share the same password. 

Do not, under any circumstances, keep a list of your passwords in a Google Doc or random file on your computer. Instead, use a password manager. Password managers such as LastPass, 1Password, or Keeper will maintain all of your passwords in one secure location. Leverage IT has standardized on LastPass for our Client password manager needs.

Ensure your team is using strong, unique passwords for each of their logins. Don’t assume that this is happening automatically. Provide training to your team and follow up often to ensure each member is using company-wide password protocols.

Create a detailed data backup and recovery plan

Do you have a backup and recovery plan? Are you sure all of your data is being backed up regularly? If you do, when was the last time your backup systems were tested? Who in your company is in charge of backup and recovery protocols? 

Backup procedures are incredibly important to protecting your precious data; they could mean the difference of an afternoon of downtime versus days or weeks if you don’t have a plan in place. Not all cyberattacks can be prevented, but you can be prepared.

Invest in cybersecurity prevention

Cybersecurity is an investment; preparing for potential threats now is much more cost-effective than reactively dealing with them later.

Don’t base your cybersecurity protocols on the hope that you’ll never be attacked. Cybersecurity should be just as important as locking your doors at night. Not protecting your business or preparing for a cyberattack puts your entire company at risk.

Complete a cybersecurity risk assessment

A cybersecurity risk assessment will provide you with a baseline of your current preparedness, highlighting your vulnerabilities as well as your strengths.

Once you know your weaknesses, you can begin adding security measures that protect your business from cyberthreats and keep you prepared for the unexpected. 

Watch our webinar on how you can protect your business from cybersecurity risks.

Leverage IT Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Process

Leverage IT can perform a meticulous assessment of your systems, recommend solutions unique to your business needs, and implement countermeasures for today’s threats.

We work to secure your organization against current and future cyberthreats, so you can operate with confidence. Contact Leverage IT today to begin your cybersecurity risk assessment.

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