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Cyber Attacks – A Real Threat to Business Continuity

Information technology is here to stay. And, with greater technology comes more responsibility — and risk.

We are increasingly dependent on technology. Not only are we connected to smart devices in our personal lives, but businesses, as well, depend on technology. The IoT has made it possible for consumers and business alike to streamline and carry out complex processes through technological network infrastructures.

From a car’s operating system and database commands, to medical equipment and supplies, computers and smart technology are gaining a more protagonist role in society.

As technology becomes a centralized part of everyday operations, a breach in security poses more of a threat to business continuity than ever before. Organized cybercrime has become a very real liability and the impact of such attacks could result in economical loss, damage to the company’s reputation and, in some cases, an attack could be a matter of life and death.

It’s no secret that cyber-attacks are on the rise. IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index reported that during 2016, more than 4 billion records were leaked due to vulnerabilities and security flaws. Among the most common attacks were phishing scams, brute force attacks, SQL injections and DDoS. In October of 2016, a large Internet-wide disruption of sites such as Amazon, Twitter and even CNN, was caused by an organized hit to DNS provider, Dyn.

Although an exact amount of the cost of cyber crimes is hard to obtain, The Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report estimates that cyber-attacks have cost the global economy as much as $450 billion. That number could rise as technology becomes more of a central part of everyday operations, everywhere and in every industry.

Could This Happen to Me?

It always seems impossible until it happens. A cyber crime can start from something as simple as an email phishing scheme (i.e., deceiving someone into providing personal information by appearing to come from a legitimate entity) to more complex, targeted intrusions.

And, even though data security breaches are on the rise, organizations don’t appear to make IT security a priority. In EY’s 2016-2017 Global Information Security Survey, only 22 percent of the 1,735 executives, IT and security managers surveyed said they include information security in their strategy.

Simple Considerations for a More Secure Workplace

Regardless of the type of business, role or geographic location, everyone can take a few simple steps to prevent security breaches.

Keep Software and Technology Up to Date: New threats are created every day and, without updated technology, businesses become an easy target for organized cyber gangs.

Use Firewalls and Protection Services: Adding an extra layer of security will give you peace of mind. Having a third-party system constantly safeguarding vulnerabilities will ensure your business is protected, even when IT teams are not actively looking for threats.

Encrypt Communication: If your organization is constantly sharing confidential information, such as financial records or passwords, make sure to utilize a secure system with end-to-end encryption.

Create a Contingency Plan: We’ve all heard it: The key is preparation. Cyber-crimes are a matter of when, not if. How would your company respond to a cyber-attack?

Develop a Cyber-Security Culture/Policy: Even the strongest, cutting-edge firewall can’t protect you against careless or uninformed employees. By frequently discussing cyber security in the workplace, organizations can prevent costly mistakes.

RELATED: Cyber security webinar on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM CST. Register HERE

Could your organization ensure business continuity in case of a cyber-attack? What steps are you taking to reinforce security measures?