Jeff Adams
Jeff Adams

How Does Cybersecurity Effect Your Business

As our economy continues to expand globally, more businesses have to pay attention to hackers and cybercrime. Things like identity theft and ransomware are becoming more commonplace effecting many businesses who are doing business online. Here are some common ways cybersecurity can affect your business:

Computer viruses

Despite technological advances, there still are computer viruses that can hurt or destroy data. These viruses also have the capability to spread from one device to another. People really should take precaution when it comes to downloading items onto their computers.

It is recommended that you only download what you know is safe and will work properly on your system. When someone else sends you something, you can be sure that they haven’t sent anything dangerous.

Also, people need to understand that simply because something is online, that doesn’t mean that it is a good thing. Bad things can come along with nice things (and vice versa). It’s just a fact of life- if you put something out there, you can expect to get found out eventually.

When anyone finds something questionable online, they tend to first try running it through Google or Bing to see if it shows up there. If it does, then they will probably give it a go.

If it turns out to be a virus, malware, spyware or any other nastiness, then they install it about half the time because they feel like taking care of it themselves. That way, they don’t have to worry about others getting sick too.

Privacy breaches

Even if you’re not committing a crime, improper disclosure of information about customers or employees is common. So are mistakes such as forgetting to clean up customer data after an outage or breach, or accidentally hiring an unauthorized person who stole account info.

These things can end up being very costly. Not only does it cost money to repair damage done (especially if your business deals in personal information), but also time that could be spent doing other tasks.

Here are some typical stories we heard at a tech conference from the speakers on cybersecurity:

A credit card company missed a billing cycle by one day. That small failure allowed someone to double dip on refunds. An energy company forgot to remove email addresses from public files before sending out promotional materials. Someone used this information to commit identity theft.

Both of these companies claimed they were attacked by ransomware hackers which demanded payment. If they didn’t pay, their servers would start deleting confidential records.

In both cases, the companies paid up because they wanted to keep their businesses running, but learning from here takes priority over getting back to normal.

Financial loss

Digital innovators suggest that attacks on organizations’ information technology systems are incredibly costly. According to an IDC study, businesses lose $6 million per stolen credit card and $10 million per lost or stolen password.

Even if hackers don’t use the stolen credentials to access the organization’s system, they can make it more difficult for employees to do their jobs by manipulating IT policies and procedures.

Organizations that rely heavily on computerized processes may be especially vulnerable. For example, healthcare providers face unique cybersecurity challenges due to the health and privacy of patients and staff.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is malware that threatens to reveal confidential files unless you pay a fee. Most times this involves encrypting your data and holding you hostage until you accede to the hacker’s demands.

If you have something important on our servers, we would not jeopardize its safety in any way. There is no sense in paying us money when you haven’t given permission for us to share these with anyone.—the management team

Damaging a business’s image

At a recent business conference, some of the top thought leaders on business reported that one of the biggest concerns for businesses is damaging their reputation through bad public relations (PR). It can be very difficult to recover from a good PR disaster, especially if you were not prepared.

The U.S. News & World Report asked experts how companies could prevent scandals like these from hurting their images.

Herb Weisbaum is an expert in leadership communications and public engagement at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He says when leaders fail to hold themselves accountable, it can hurt everyone around them.

"If there's no accountability, that means they won't accept criticism from anyone else." he explains. "And when people don't feel free to criticize someone, then what happens is basically that person doesn't trust anybody else enough to let them do his or her job."

He emphasizes the importance of transparency. When people see one error, they realize everything is run by humans. Therefore, even tech giants are susceptible to human failure.

Making your business vulnerable to hackers

According to Sean Adams of Motivation Ping, even though most businesses update their computers with patches, antivirus software, and other cybersecurity measures, they can still be targets of cyberattack. Attackers look for vulnerable systems that are less resistant than others.

Even if you’re not aware that a system is down, someone else may have figured it out. Then when you try to fix things or use the computer, you end up sharing more information than you intended to.

That could mean malwarebytes installing itself onto any browser used by employees, even if nobody meant for this to happen. In our article about keeping smartphones at work free from virus risks, we talked about how important it is to maintain control over your devices and files, no matter what kind of organization you take.

Keeping them off company networks and taking steps to ensure that they don’t share data like USB drivers means there is less chance of malware being installed on them.

Of course, we understand that maintaining privacy comes at a cost – time and money. If you need help figuring out how to improve your security without breaking the budget, contact us! We offer both in-office and online services to help companies keep their customers and assets secure.


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