The world of IT is changing fast. Technological advancements in the digital age have exposed businesses to new cybersecurity vulnerabilities that were previously unheard of. These threats have become increasingly frequent and complex; the rise of sophisticated attacks such as ransomware, phishing and social engineering require businesses to take additional protective measures to ensure their data is secure. If left unprotected, the reputational and financial damage done to these businesses can be severe.
In this article, we’ll explore the different types of cybersecurity threats targeting businesses in the current IT landscape and what you can do to secure your company. Let’s get started:
- 1 Common Cybersecurity Threats Facing Businesses
- 2 How Managed IT Services Can Help Mitigate Cybersecurity Threats
- 3 Robust Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
- 4 Employee Training and Awareness
- 5 RevNet Can Help Secure Your Business
Common Cybersecurity Threats Facing Businesses
Businesses are constantly at risk of cybersecurity hackers penetrating their systems. Here are some of the more common types of attacks your organization may face:
Ransomware is a kind of malicious software, also known as malware, designed to obstruct access to a computer system, data, or files until the attacker is paid a ransom. These attacks can have devastating effects on your business, which may be forced to decide whether to suffer substantial financial blows or temporarily lose the ability to function as a company.
Ransomware attacks are prevalent and could be targeting organizations similar to your own. Let’s look at some significant Canadian occurrences in the past year:
- In February of 2023, book retailer Indigo suffered a major ransomware attack that resulted in their online website seizing operations and significant shutdowns for their in-store systems. The attack cost the company millions and required months of recovery.
- Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children was targeted in December 2022, during which their corporate and internal systems, phone lines, and website were impacted. Well-known ransomware gang LockBit was implicated in the attack after they released a decryptor to the hospital, claiming one of their members had gone against the organization’s rules to target SickKids.
Ransomware attacks can result in irreparable financial damage. While the official stance from the Government of Canada is that ransomware attacks should be reported immediately, many businesses choose to ignore this warning and pay the ransom as quickly as possible. In some cases, the destructive financial blow can be worth regaining control of the organization’s systems.
Regardless of the speed at which a company may deal with a ransomware attack, its reputation is likely to take a hit. Here are some examples of the social consequences that may arise:
- Stakeholders such as partners and investors may lose their confidence in the organization, causing them to pull funding.
- Customers’ trust could waver, and they may take their business elsewhere.
- Media coverage may amplify the damage done by the cybersecurity attack, negatively shaping public perception.
Social Engineering and Phishing
Social engineering cyberattacks use human psychology to manipulate individuals into handing over personal or confidential information. They rely on social interactions and deception to trick these individuals rather than targeting their technological vulnerabilities. One of the more common social engineering tactics is known as phishing:
Attackers send fraudulent emails, messages, or other forms of communication that appear to be legitimate. The messages are meant to mimic information sent from banks, social media accounts, and respectable organizations. An additional common theme is phishing attempts that mimic messages from your supervisor, asking for personal or confidential information. This attack aims to fool the recipients into following virus-infected links, downloading malware, or releasing sensitive information. End-users following these phishing links and providing information to unreliable sources is a major vulnerability for businesses, as data breaches and compromised credentials often occur as a result.
Online threats don’t always come from anonymous attackers. Insider threats in the context of cybersecurity refer to the vulnerabilities and risks that come from within the organization itself. These internal sources can include employees and anyone with access to the organization’s resources, such as partners, contractors, or consultants.
Insider threats come in two forms:
- Accidental Insider Threats: Security incidents can occur without intent. In this case, accidental inside sources may have fallen for a phishing scheme, made an error in security settings, or unknowingly shared sensitive information.
- Intentional Insider Threats: In this case, individuals use their access to the business or organization to intentionally cause damage or steal information. Motivations for this kind of attack could include personal grudges, financial gain, or ideological disagreements.
Insider threats offer a unique risk to businesses. Similar to other cybersecurity concerns, they open up an organization to financial damages, disruptions to operations, and breaches of data. However, inside sources also contain first-person knowledge of their place of work, meaning they can direct their attacks more effectively than someone unfamiliar with the company’s systems.
How Managed IT Services Can Help Mitigate Cybersecurity Threats
Cybersecurity is a complex and intricate field that can be challenging to navigate without extensive training. Placing the responsibility of maintaining your IT infrastructure on professionals who can understand the material is integral to prioritizing your organization’s safety.
Managed IT services can implement proactive security measures that are vital in fending off cyberattacks. Some of these measures include:
- Network Monitoring: An IT process that continuously and systematically monitors your organization’s network and assets to detect unauthorized activity and security threats. This protective measure aims to catch cyberattacks before they can cause harm to your company’s data, systems, and files.
- Vulnerability Assessments: Includes identifying the vulnerabilities and risks to computer systems in order to uncover security flaws that may be exploited. This preventative measure is intended to secure systems before they can be penetrated.
- Threat Intelligence: Refers to collecting and analyzing data about possible security threats. In understanding the techniques, strategies, and motivations of these threats, IT professionals can act accordingly to detect and prevent malicious attacks.
Robust Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
It can be challenging to patch every hole in your IT security system—and these small holes are precisely where malicious attackers are likely to penetrate. This is why robust data backup strategies are so crucial to your business. Managed IT services can implement strategies to recover lost data should an attacker prove successful. Some of these strategies include:
- Regular Data Backups: All systems, applications, and essential data should be backed up on a regular basis. Should the time arise that this information is stolen, consistent backups will ensure that anything erased can be recovered in an up-to-date format.
- Off-Site Storage: The practice of storing copies of your business’s data or valuable information on a remote server at a physically different location than the primary operational site. This strategy ensures that your business’s data will remain available and recoverable should a cyberattack occur.
With these strategies, managed IT services can facilitate quick and efficient data recovery during a cyber incident. However, when navigating regular data backups and data storage, it is important for businesses to follow their retention policy — an organizational rule that determines what data the organization keeps, where they keep their data, and for how long.
Employee Training and Awareness
Without proper awareness, working against online threats is a tough task. Cyberattacks often target aspects of human error in an organization. Consequently, educating employees is a cornerstone of effective cybersecurity practices. Managed IT services can provide cybersecurity training and awareness programs to ensure employees can recognize signs of attacks and are equipped to preserve the integrity of their IT system. Ensuring all aspects of an organization understand this threat is the first step in stopping it from the inside.
RevNet Can Help Secure Your Business
Cyberattacks are a unique threat in this technology-driven generation. By implementing proactive cybersecurity measures, businesses can take a stance against online strikes attempting to penetrate their systems. However, these attacks can be difficult to navigate alone. At RevNet, we know how to best instill security solutions to keep your business safe from online threats. Contact us today to learn how we can support and secure your organization.