KEEPING YOUR ORGANISATION PROTECTED FROM CYBER ATTACKS
Cybersecurity is the practice of keeping your organisation secure from cyber criminals, involving a wide range of technical and procedural activities.
Given what is at stake, CEOs and C-Suite executives must have an intimate understanding of cybersecurity for their organisation.
Unfortunately, today cybercrime is big business; very well organised and well-funded. In fact, some cybercrime is carried out by state sponsored actors who are extremely well resourced.
Cyber attacks are designed to be carried out at scale, which means your organisation will most likely be targeted at some stage, along with hundreds of others.
Of course, it’s not just external threats to be aware of. Your organisation’s own staff can be a source of cyber attacks, whether deliberately or inadvertently. A comprehensive cybersecurity strategy will also look at ways to protect the business across the full spectrum – from sensitive information being downloaded by staff, through to establishing procedures for emails to ensure that one misplaced click doesn’t open up a vulnerability.
All of this means that your business’s cybersecurity must be kept up-to-date if you’re to have any chance of avoiding costly cyber attacks.
Debunking some common cybersecurity myths
Even though there are more and more cybersecurity incidents occurring right around the world, there are still many myths and misunderstandings about the topic, such as:
"Cybersecurity risks are well-known"
The reality: Thousands of new vulnerabilities are constantly being reported, both in old and new applications and devices. And of course, the chances of human error causing a data breach are ever-present.
"Attack vectors are contained"
The reality: Cybercriminals constantly find new methods of attack, from Linux systems to operational technology (OT), Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and cloud environments.
"Some industries are safe from cyber attacks"
The reality: Every industry faces the risk of cyber attacks, and criminals try to exploit communication networks within government, private sector, and not-for-profit organisations.
"Cybercriminals are always external actors"
The reality: Cybersecurity attacks are often the result of malicious employees, either working individually or as part of an external cyber criminal network.
HOW CYBERSECURITY ATTACKS CAN AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS
No matter the size of your business or the industry you work in, there are three main areas of risk from cyber attack that remain a constant.
Cyber attacks involving ransomware use malicious software to penetrate your business’s network security and encrypt your data, making it inaccessible to staff until a ransom is paid.
Following a security breach, there’s a very real risk that your organisation may suffer a loss of reputation and credibility. That’s particularly the case if you operate in sectors such as finance or healthcare.
Of course, most cybersecurity breaches will result in some degree of disruption to your business’s operations, ranging from relatively minor right up to catastrophic disruption.
Common cyber threats to be aware of
Cyber criminals are constantly looking for new ways to attack businesses and exploit weaknesses. Evolving cybersecurity threats to be aware of include:
Malware is malicious software such as viruses, Trojans, worms, or spyware that provide unauthorised access or cause damage to computers.
Ransomware is a type of malware that locks down your business’s files, data or systems, and threatens to erase or destroy the data unless a ransom is paid to the cyber criminals.
Phishing is a form of social engineering that tricks users into providing criminals with sensitive information, such as credit card data or login details.
Insider threats can stem from current or former employees, business partners, contractors, or indeed anyone who has had access to your systems and networks. They can be invisible to traditional security solutions which focus on external threats.
Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks attempt to crash a server, website or network by overloading it with traffic, usually from multiple coordinated systems.
Advanced persistent threats (APTs) occur when an intruder infiltrates a system and remains undetected for an extended period, in order to spy on business activity and steal sensitive data.
Man-in-the-middle attacks involve a cyber criminal intercepting and relaying messages between two parties to steal data; for example on an unsecure Wi-Fi network.
How to prevent cyber attacks on your business
Rather than working to prevent every attack, cybersecurity is more about avoiding a successful breach.
It’s important to have an overall strategy that includes a business continuity plan. When your systems have been compromised, your disaster recovery systems can then get you back up and running.
Your organisation’s IT Manager should also be aware of strategies including:
Endpoint security protection and management
Network firewall management
Security monitoring & alerting
Watch our most recent webinar on Cybersecurity:
FAQs about Cybersecurity
A strong cybersecurity stance is paramount in today’s world, given that cyber-attacks are becoming more sophisticated with each day and dealing with the fallout from an attack can be extremely costly to an organisation. A cybersecurity strategy is required not only for the protection and defence of your organisation, but also to action a successful response in the event of a breach.
Cybersecurity is more than just having anti-virus software in place. To ensure you have the best cybersecurity measures in place in your organisation, read through this information on the Essential Eight Framework, as identified by the Australia Cyber Security Centre.
There are many components to consider as part of a cybersecurity strategy, including firewalls, endpoint security, email filtering, multi factor authentication, cyber insurance and cybersecurity training. The cost of a cybersecurity strategy will be impacted by your industry, company size, complexity of IT environment, compliance requirements, and sensitivity of data.
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