Cyber attacks are unfortunately all-too-common in today’s business world. If your organization isn’t prepared for an attack, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to successfully ward one off. And let there be no confusion – they’re coming.
Cyber Attacks: A Problem That Won’t Go Away
It’s easy to pretend as if your business is immune from what’s happening “out there,” but your company’s size has very little to do with your status as a cyber attack target. In fact, smaller companies and businesses face just as much risk as large Fortune 100 companies. Consider the following statistics:
- 43 percent of all cyber attacks target small businesses.
- 60 percent of small companies go out of business within six months of an attack.
- From May 2015 to May 2016, 55 percent of businesses surveyed said they experienced a cyber attack within the previous year.
- As a result of these attacks, companies spent an average of $879,582 because of damage or theft of IT assets. Disruption to normal operations cost an average of $955,429.
- Only 14 percent of small businesses rate their ability to mitigate cyber risks and attacks as “highly effective.”
In other words, don’t assume that you’re immune to what’s become a hostile cyber landscape. It’s easy for an attack on an unrelated business to feel far and distant, but you won’t feel so safe when it strikes close to home. This is a problem that won’t go away – so step up to the plate and be proactive about it.
3 Ways to Prepare Your Business
In order to prepare your business for cyber attacks and prevent/ward them off, you need to take a disciplined and strategic approach. Here are some suggestions:
1. Review Your Security Policies
What sort of security policies does your company have in place – if any? Are these policies carefully enforced, or do you merely give lip service to them?
For example, research shows that more than half of all data breaches are caused by weak or insufficient passwords, yet only 24 percent of small businesses have strict password policies in place. Among those that do have a formal policy in place, 65 percent of businesses say they don’t actively enforce it.
You should review your security policies every few months to make sure they’re comprehensive and enforceable. It’s also wise to be on the lookout for new policies that you can put in place in order to shore up vulnerable areas of the business.
2. Conduct Regular Cybersecurity Drills
As they say, practice makes perfect. If you want to prepare your business for the inevitability of a future attack, conduct regular cybersecurity drills.
“During a cybersecurity drill, it is important to assess response timing on multiple levels,” Titan Power advises. “How quickly do individuals and teams respond and either thwart or mitigate a cyber attack and also how quickly are you able to inform customers of the most current and accurate information?”
3. Invest in the Right Insurance Policies
You can never have enough insurance for your business. This includes cyber liability insurance, which helps mitigate the costs of an attack.
In most cases, cyber liability insurance is available both as a standalone policy, as well as an add-on to a business owner’s policy. There are two types: first-party and third-party.
“First-party coverage can help cover expenses when your network is hacked or your data is stolen,” Insureon explains. “Third-party coverage offers protection when a customer or partner sues you for allowing a data breach to happen (either because of something you did or failed to do). Depending on your needs, you may choose either or both types of coverage.”
Don’t Ignore the Issue
It’s easy to ignore cyber security when you haven’t had any complications in the past, but times are changing and storms are brewing on the horizon. If you haven’t been attacked yet, it’s only a matter of time before you will be. That’s just the cold, hard reality of doing business in 2018 and beyond.
The good news is that you don’t have to stand by and watch your business crumble to the ground. By taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity, you can prevent and defend against most attacks.