Cybersecurity: The Winner’s Playbook for off-Site Businesses

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Cyberattacks have become a widespread issue, affecting organizations of all sizes, as evidenced by the high-profile data breaches experienced by companies including Facebook, Yahoo, Uber, and Cathay Pacific in recent times.

Ironically enough, millions of accounts, emails, and passport information were stolen.

It is often disregarded that small businesses face an overwhelming four thousand cyberattacks on a daily basis. Research by IBM indicates that over sixty-two percent of all cyberattacks arise from these sources. Shockingly, the University of Maryland report indicates that a cyberattack can happen in as little as every thirty-nine seconds.

Cyber criminals may find small and medium-sized businesses to be an attractive target, owing to the fact that these businesses often lack the resources or knowledge to implement the necessary precautions to guard against cyber threats. Additionally, some of them may not even realize the hazards associated with operating without proper cyber security measures in place, which could create an environment in which cyber attackers can exploit the lack of security and gain access to confidential information, or interfere with business operations.

According to the 2023 Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report, which surveyed 4,000 businesses across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe, a significant majority (73%) of these companies are not properly equipped to handle a cyberattack, revealing an urgent need for organizations to review and update their cyber security measures.

A recent survey by the US National Cyber Security Alliance has uncovered a stunning statistic: sixty percent of small enterprises that suffer a cyberattack cease to exist within six months. This stark reality serves as a powerful cautionary tale to all businesses about the significance of maintaining current cyber security measures.

It is extremely unlikely for a security breach at a small business to attract significant media attention. Nonetheless, the financial and reputational repercussions of such an occurrence can be devastating, potentially resulting in costs of up to seven hundred thousand dollars and a variety of other severe consequences.

The decentralised structure of small businesses, with personnel located in different parts of the world, as well as the absence of a centralised command and control structure, makes them vulnerable to cyber attacks today.

This is highly beneficial as per our evaluation. However, it requires strengthening your company’s defenses.

To ensure the safety and security of your remote company, we will be delving into the subject of cybersecurity and its potential benefits to your team. In this discussion, we will examine the different types of cyberattacks that may pose a risk to a remote team, the reasons behind the team’s susceptibility, and the actions that can be taken to safeguard against them.

In the upcoming segment of this series, we will cover a data security plan that can protect your company from cyber attackers.

Typical triggers, concerns, and sources of cybercrime

While some cyberattacks may result from human or technological error, the vast majority are deliberately instigated.

This could result in a variety of problems for a small business, such as:

  • The attacker is targeting user data, such as credit card numbers.
  • Exposure of confidential trade secrets and internal memoranda
  • Exploit employees’ trust by engaging in identity theft to commit insurance or tax fraud by obtaining their personal information
  • Studies have revealed that seventy-six percent of attacks are carried out intentionally to induce financial harm, such as causing flooding, delays, or intermittent system operations that may result in economic losses.
  • The target of the attack is being assaulted by a third-party agent working on their behalf.

Cyberattacks are becoming more frequent and have a variety of harmful consequences depending on their type and target. Among the most commonly observed forms of cyberattacks in recent years are:

  • The most prevalent types of cyberattacks are phishing and spear-phishing.
  • Nearly two-thirds of malware attacks are directed at small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Covert surveillance by interception
  • Denial-of-Service
  • Assault through SQL injection

This article contains a more extensive list of attack types, along with detailed descriptions of each.

Every vulnerability in your distributed systems is a possible entryway for cybercriminals, but the most frequent attack routes include:

  • Avoid opening emails or attachments from unfamiliar senders, particularly if they have a Microsoft Office file extension.
  • Mobile malware attacks are increasing, with a projected 54% rise expected in 2023.
  • The two primary origins of mobile malware are grayware (which appears harmless but secretly shares personal information) and third-party apps.
  • Employee devices connected to the network, but insecure
  • Internet of Things devices are easier to hack and incorporate into a bigger network.

Business operations, systems, products, employees, location, and more, all play a part in determining the types of attacks that your company may face.

For instance, when a company possesses assets, data or information that may be attractive to malicious attackers, or when there are noticeable security vulnerabilities in the current infrastructure, the business becomes more vulnerable to potential breaches.

  • Collect and keep information about your customers, including their contact information and financial details.
  • Just 38% of small and medium-sized enterprises regularly update their software.
  • Data must not be left unencrypted.
  • Avoid accessing the company’s credit card or other expenditure records without authorization.
  • Avoid creating a generic password policy.
  • Insufficient protection against cyber risks.

Conduct a cyber risk assessment to gain better understanding. We’re providing this useful checklist at zero cost.

In the upcoming article, we will explain how to establish a data security plan founded on the results of the risk assessment. Stay tuned!

Cybersecurity Policies and Practices for Employees Working Remotely

Regardless of the comprehensiveness of your data security measures, they can become ineffective if your workers do not take the required actions to safeguard sensitive information. To reinforce your cybersecurity plan, we recommend you review the following points:

  • Develop and release a remote cybersecurity policy that is followed by everyone.
  • During the onboarding procedure, all new employees should receive information about relevant regulations, and it is crucial to keep the workforce updated with the latest industry information. To achieve this, you can motivate your staff to participate in frequent training webinars, such as CyberSecure My BusinessTM offered by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).
  • All devices used by remote workers must have the same level of security measures applied. If this is not the case, access should be restricted.
  • When hiring remote employees, it is essential to verify they have the requisite equipment to perform their job efficiently. Supplying them with laptops or mandating them to maintain two separate laptops for professional and personal use is a sound approach. Additionally, granting your organization access to the laptop’s administrative settings is advisable, enabling you to ensure that the equipment is being used appropriately.
  • Prohibit the usage of any removable media on company computers. Here’s why:
  • Malware usually spreads through malicious emails with infected attachments. Therefore, it is advisable to establish a filtering system that flags all emails with attachments from unidentified senders as spam or blocks them completely. Furthermore, emails sent to staff members should be encrypted for added protection.
  • Deploying a Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) software solution can offer valuable insights into tasks performed by the workforce, the tools they utilize, and the location where the data generated by those tools is stored. It is critical to remain vigilant and investigate any abnormal activity detected, such as data being withdrawn from the system with no clear justification. While this may seem worrying initially, it is essential to note that remote IT administration is becoming increasingly ubiquitous, especially with the growth of telecommuting.
  • Ensure that employees understand what content is permitted and forbidden regarding ongoing projects on social media, as sharing certain information can make the system vulnerable to hacking.
  • Send out weekly reminders to your employees concerning crucial tasks such as installing security updates and avoiding public Wi-Fi, which can be easily overlooked.
  • Mandate remote workers to report any security concerns on their devices to you or the IT department immediately.

Lastly, it is crucial to recruit workers who are trustworthy and capable of upholding the company’s principles and ideals. Every remote developer working with us is well-versed in the significance of data safety and security. We encourage you to reach out to us soon.

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