6 Common Cybersecurity Mistakes Businesses Make

Does your business have effective safeguards in place to protect it from cyberattacks?

Sadly, for too many Canadian companies, the answer would be “no”.

Research shows 70 percent of small businesses are unprepared for a cyber attack, and more than half of small businesses have no intention of investing in cybersecurity training for staff in the near future either.

And that’s a major problem when there are so many cybersecurity risks to contend with today, each bringing a real risk of financial loss. For example, ransomware (one of the most common types of cyberattack in Canada) costs companies an average of around $65,700 in losses through unexpected downtime.

No company can afford to take its IT security for granted when even the smallest oversight or error can lead to hugerepercussions. You need to be vigilant, prepared, and aware of the cybersecurity dangers your business faces.

To help you stay safe, we’ll explore six of the most common cybersecurity mistakes businesses make below.

Lack of cybersecurity training for employees

As we mentioned earlier, more than 50 percent of companies surveyed have no plans to offer cybersecurity training for staff.

There may be various reasons for this lack of initiative. One may be the expense, whether that’s actually based on research or assumptions.

It’s obvious enough that companies want to account for every cent and minimize unnecessary outgoings, especially smaller businesses. But failing to train staff can leave them unaware of common risks and, sadly, expose your network to attacks that could otherwise be avoided.

Even simple training that covers the basics of cybersecurity can make a significant difference. For example, employees should know the warning signs of an email that could be part of a phishing scam and understand that they can reduce the risk of potential issues simply by not clicking on a suspicious link or downloading an infected attachment.

Relying on outdated software

Upgrading to the latest software can be costly for SMEs on tight budgets. Why pay more for a slightly different version of the accounting or inventory-management software you use when the current iteration works just fine?

Well, because those slight differences can include security upgrades that minimize the danger of falling victim to an attack from hackers.

It’s important that businesses keep their software up to date and apply patches as soon as possible. The latter may be released to fix flaws in a product’s design and enhance the security overall. Failing to take advantage of such an integral improvement could leave your network vulnerable to a sizable breach.

Failing to be cautious with admin rights

Businesses of all sizes must be careful when deciding which employees should have admin rights.

Otherwise, a team-member without cybersecurity training or much technical prowess may download a software product that they really shouldn’t. And this can open the door to numerous potential security issues.

It’s crucial to take care when deciding which employees have admin rights, whether your team is well-trained in cybersecurity matters or not. If you have in-house IT technicians, it may be helpful if they check and install all software first.

Not working with IT security specialists

One of the best ways you can defend your business against cyber attacks and data breaches is to consult with experts. The best teams will be able to create a custom security plan to suit your company based on in-depth assessment and vulnerability analysis.

They will identify your business’s risks and implement solutions to combat them. These may include:

  • intrusion prevention
  • website tracking and filtering
  • threat detection and response
  • firewall with bespoke configuration and rules for peace of mind
  • blocking spam emails
  • anti-virus software

Working with IT security experts brings you the freedom to focus on running your company and driving your team to work at its best without the fear of potential attacks.

No cloud storage and backup

The days of relying on hard drives and USB sticks for storage exclusively are long gone. Cloud storage solutions allow organizations to keep all types of files safe online. Tight access controls ensure specific employees and clients are able to access certain areas only.

Leading cloud storage services are designed to safeguard files from even the most sophisticated attacks. Google Drive, for example, uses 256-bit SSL/TLS to encrypt files which are being transferred, and 128-bit AES keys for those at rest. Your data is stored in secure Google servers, protected by passwords, rather than on an employee’s computer.

Another cybersecurity benefit of cloud storage is backup. All of your files will be available to work on in the cloud or download even if an attack disrupts your network. For example, if ransomware restricts your access to crucial files, you can access the most recent versions uploaded to the cloud with ease.

That means you can keep working from any device (with an internet connection) outside of your own network. Provided you back your files up to the cloud whenever you make changes, you’ll always be able to restore recent work. This eliminates the frustration of having to start from scratch or losing vital documents that clients are relying on.

No clear IT security framework

Last but not least, businesses must establish a framework for maintaining proper IT security.

Employees should understand how often they’re required to change their password, who they should report potential breaches to, the process for installing new software, and anything else related to cybersecurity in the workplace.

Otherwise, your business’s approach to cybersecurity could be chaotic and leave your less tech-savvy employees with no real idea how to stay safe at their computer.

These six common cybersecurity mistakes can lead to real problems with the potential to evolve into disasters.

No matter how big or small your business, you must take your IT security seriously to defend against the most severe attacks of today — and tomorrow.

For years, GenX’s team of information security experts have helped SMEs combat cyber attacks and take advantage of the latest solutions. And they can do the same for your company.

To learn more about our complete security solutions, get in touch with GenX’s specialists now!

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