10 Dangerous Cybersecurity Risks Putting Your Business in Jeopardy
Did you know that damage from cybersecurity issues is expected to cost businesses up to six trillion dollars by 2021? You read that correctly. Six trillion dollars lost due to cyber mistakes that could likely have been prevented. Whether you run a large corporation or own a small business, you are vulnerable to cyber-criminals who want to gain access to your data and wreak havoc with your company’s internal systems.
You can curl up in a corner and think there’s nothing you can do to prevent modern cyber-monsters from attacking your business, or you can take action to educate yourself on vulnerabilities you don’t even know you have. If you’re ready to face your fears and understand what you need to do to protect yourself, following are 10 of the biggest cybersecurity risks you should be fixing.
- Your company’s supply chain is likely one of the weakest links for cybersecurity intrusions. From the invoicing your overseas suppliers use to the data analytics interface you use to monitor the movement and sale of goods, the opportunities are many to leave your business’ data exposed to hackers. If you have yet to conduct on cybersecurity audit on your supply chain systems, be prepared for a few nasty surprises when you realize just how vulnerable your company is to data losses and cyber-attacks.
- A failure to have a strict BYOD (bring your own device) policy in place can cause serious damage to your company and your business’ reputation. How often do employees and management access company data via their mobile devices? Are your team members sending company emails from their smartphones and tablets? If your team doesn’t understand the risks they are exposing your company to via their mobile devices, the odds of a data breach via a mobile device aren’t in your favor. Conducting a full BYOD cybersecurity audit will help you understand areas where your team’s guard is down and which actions can be taken to reduce your vulnerability to malicious attacks via employee-owned devices.
- IoT devices pose a significant risk to business owners who are concerned about their company’s cybersecurity vulnerability. Many of today’s internet-connected devices come with standard password protections which are never changed when the devices are installed in places of business. From the internet-connected printer in your office to the heating system you can control with your smartphone, each of these IoT devices and systems provides an entry point to hackers. If you’re not sure what the passwords are for your IoT devices or whether those codes are changed on a regular basis, there’s a good chance you’re providing cyber-criminals an open door to your business.
- Another device many business owners don’t realize is putting them at risk is their voice-controlled digital assistants. Whether it is the Amazon Alexa-enabled device in your business lunchroom or the voice-activated speaker on your office desk, each of these digital assistants could be leaking sensitive data to cyber-crooks. If you engage the services of cybersecurity experts, they can analyze all digital assistants and voice-enabled devices to see where your company’s security is at risk. This includes voice-enabled smartphone interfaces like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and the voice-typing and voice-search features on your Google Android phones too.
- Does your business use cloud-based software? There’s a good chance the SaaS technology you’re using is leaving your company vulnerable to unwanted attention from hackers. Today’s SaaS startups are often created by young entrepreneurs with little to no experience in cybersecurity and data governance. Unless the SaaS startup you’re doing business with has some of the industry’s top cybersecurity researchers on their team, odds are there are vulnerabilities in their code or in the data servers they are using. An audit of your cloud services will show where your weak spots lie and which actions you and your SaaS provider need to take to resolve these issues.
- There is a growing movement towards using open-source services among today’s startup entrepreneurs. While this movement is admirable, it also poses significant risks to companies engaging with startups built upon open-source technology and open-source data. According to data from CS Online, 67% of open-source applications had security vulnerabilities (csoonline.com/article/3192404/open-source-tools/open-source-security-risks-persist-in-commercial-software-infographic.html). If your company is using open-source technology in any way (mobile apps, databases, etc.), your business is likely already vulnerable without you knowing it. Scary thought, right?
- Did you know insider threats are one of the fastest growing security concerns for business owners? From previous employees who have moved onto new jobs or current employees who might have a grudge against a supervisor or employer, the number of ways insiders can prove hazardous to a business are many. Whether it’s passwords that aren’t updated each time an employee leaves your company or random security checks that aren’t being conducted on the computers of existing employees, odds are good insiders are already putting your business at risk.
- Legacy technology and hardware is another cybersecurity risk many business owners aren’t aware they are currently being exposed to. Old software servers your information technology team uses. Legacy software systems only those in your industry use. Even the old security system your building came equipped with can put your company in a vulnerable position. Without a clear understanding of legacy technology’s impact on your company’s security, how can you make the necessary adjustments to reduce your vulnerabilities?
- Daily updates to your company’s software are often what is needed to keep your business protected against malware, viruses, and phishing attempts. Unscrupulous hackers are creating everything from ransomware to Trojan viruses on a regular basis. If your IT team isn’t constantly applying security patches and software upgrades, there’s a good chance hackers might already be able to penetrate your company’s software systems.
- Did you know the USB drives and Bluetooth-enabled devices your company uses can leak data? While you might tell your employees and managers not to click on questionable links in emails or visit risky sites on their company computer, when is the last time you checked the security vulnerabilities of the USB and Bluetooth devices your business uses? Scary though it might be, understanding the risks of hardware devices your company uses on a regular basis is crucial if you hope to make the necessary adjustments to improve your business’ security.
These are just 10 of many cybersecurity risks that can put your business in jeopardy. Once you know how vulnerable your business is to harm, you can work with cybersecurity specialists to reduce your exposure. It won’t happen overnight and it won’t be easy, but ongoing attention to harm reduction can make your company less vulnerable to today’s modern cyber-warfare threats.