Tips to Protect your Business from Cyber Threats in 2021

As the first quarter of 2021 comes to a close, the threat of cyberattacks continues to grow. Sizable damage to data can cause businesses to lose a significant amount of money. This is especially true if their cybersecurity is not where it needs to be to prevent these attacks. Keep reading to learn how to maximize your business’s cybersecurity in 2021 by understanding key statistics in the ongoing cybersecurity battle. 

 

Cybersecurity Readiness in 2021

Most businesses are aware of the ongoing threat related to cybercrimes, but the state of readiness for most is low. 2020 was a record-breaking year when it came to cyberattacks. According to The Hill, the FBI’s cybersecurity report was up 400% with around 4,000 cybersecurity complaints coming in daily. This increase is directly linked to the transition of working remotely which has increased the vulnerability of businesses’ sensitive files. Cybersecurity in the United States has increased since the start of 2021 — Yahoo Finance reports that 91% of businesses increased their budget for cybersecurity this year already, almost meeting 2020’s total of 96%.

Many corporations are at risk of cyberattacks even with the number of preventative services they already have in place. In fact, a report from the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) states that many companies with over 500 employees are likely to continue using cybersecurity software already installed onto their computers. These companies are more susceptible to attacks and leave hackers with easy access to data. Preinstalled software puts these companies at risk because it’s usually ineffective against modern-day hackers. In order for companies to prepare for potential threats in 2021, more cybersecurity should be put in place. 

The cybersecurity budget of most businesses might not be enough to stop even the most experienced hacker. Cyber insurance, for example, is one type of cyber protection that involves protecting your company’s lost data if a cyberattack were to occur. This is a valuable asset to any business, but Comparitech explains that only 35% of organizations have cyber insurance in place that matches their specific needs for potential threats.

Even IT specialists within companies see the current cybersecurity efforts as a threat itself in protecting against cyberattacks. According to an article by Yahoo Finance, seventy-eight percent of IT specialists fear that even the increased cybersecurity budget will not be enough. These IT specialists believe readiness levels are not where they need to be. Companies should consider evaluating their current cybersecurity measures with specialists in order to decrease their risk of cyberattacks.

Overall, readiness for cyberattacks in 2021 has grown significantly as companies are increasing spending for security software. It should be noted that if companies plan to continue operating remotely, cybersecurity measures need to be heightened. This increased susceptibility will continue to catch hackers’ attention if cybersecurity efforts are not matched. 

 

Types of Cyber Threats

Hackers have different options when it comes to attacking your companies’ data. Depending on the goal of the cyberattack, each type has a different function that negatively affects your security. 

 

 

  • Phishing scams make up 80% of the overall reported types of security threats, according to CSO. Phishing is when a hacker sends fraudulent messages, usually through email, in an attempt to gather sensitive information from the receiver. These scams are one of the easiest types of security breaches for hackers to pull off.

Oftentimes these messages include links or downloadable material that corrupt your computer. The best way to limit the number of phishing emails that reach your inbox is by using security systems that scan all material being sent or received, both internally and externally. 

  • Malware is software designed to disrupt a computer system. A report by Deep Instinct found that malware increased by 358% last year. Businesses need to be prepared for these threats in even greater numbers in 2021. Remote work is the primary cause for such an increase in malware activity. 

Malware can reach your business through different forms. Depending on the malware, it can affect your data by stealing, encrypting or deleting it. It can also alter or hijack core computer functions and even spy on your activity without your knowledge or permission. The six most common types of malware include viruses, worms, trojans, adware, spyware and ransomware, according to United States Cybersecurity Magazine

Viruses modify files and replicate code which can be difficult to clean up. Worms are similar to viruses, although these replicate on their own without any end-user. Sneaking onto your computer through different forms like pop-ups, system notifications or emails that seem legitimate is the type of malware known as trojans. They require the user to click the bait, and once executed, a system can become infected. Adware simply exposes users to ads that are malicious and once clicked, your system redirects you to a page that infects your computer. Spyware helps hackers spy on their victims and their systems in the hopes of gaining access to personal data.

  • Ransomware is created to block access to a system until a certain amount of money is paid to unblock the information. It’s a form of malware that is one of the most common types — common enough to have a category of its own. In 2020, individuals fell victim to ransomware attempts every 10 seconds, according to Infosecurity.

Comparitech mentions that last year, half of all companies who faced ransomware attacks paid to get their data unblocked — which, unfortunately, only encourages hackers to commit more ransomware attempts. Deep Instincts report also found that ransomware attacks last year increased significantly, by 435% to be exact, and will continue to be a major threat for businesses this year.

It’s important to focus all cybersecurity efforts on each of these threats, however, Dark Reading suggests that phishing and ransomware will be the biggest threats in 2021. Remote work continues to be the primary operation of most businesses in 2021 which means hackers will continue taking advantage of businesses during these vulnerable times. Make sure your business is protected from these threats and navigating cybercrimes appropriately by assessing your current cybersecurity efforts.

 

Data Breaches

Forty-nine percent of businesses in the United States have been victims of a data breach since the start of their business operation. In 2020 alone, 26% of companies were hit with a data breach that may have been prevented with higher quality cybersecurity. An overall increase in data breaches as a whole is due to the increase in industry-targeted attacks.

Data breaches accumulate large costs for the affected company. These costs go towards recovering stolen data, repairing damaged systems and the overall economic loss in potential opportunities. The NDIA found that The United States is home to the most expensive data breaches which have cost as much as $8.19 million. With each breach, around 25,575 records are lost. 

Failing to establish high-quality cybersecurity can damage a business’s reputation if found in a data breach. When customers’ data is exposed under a company’s watch, many become frustrated with the company’s lack of attention. Varonis found that millennials are less trusting after experiencing a data breach with a company, especially one they don’t have established connections with.

 

Risk & Exposure

Small businesses are also at risk of cyberattacks and data breaches. They might feel invisible to hackers as the media tends to leave out occurrences of this nature, giving small businesses a false sense of security that leaves them less prepared. Small businesses make up 28% of the total victims of data breaches, according to Comparitech. These businesses often don’t have the resources that larger companies have when it comes to cybersecurity. Comparitech further explains that annually, 43% of cyberattacks target smaller businesses worldwide making it crucial for small businesses to invest in cybersecurity. 

 

 

You may think your business’s files are secure enough in their current position, but that might not be the case. Overexposure of data within a company is a common issue. In a report from Varonis in 2019, only 5% of company folders were protected properly. This could mean different things depending on who has access to the folders. Fifteen percent of companies found that their employees had access to more than one million folders that they should not have had access to. 

Cybersecurity statistics help prepare your company by assessing current gaps in protection, increasing threats to your company, as well as alert you to new trends to be aware of. These statistics from last year could help your business significantly in understanding where to start in establishing a sufficient amount of cybersecurity. 

 

MDL Is Here to Help

Increased cyber attacks over the last year called for more attention to cybersecurity within businesses of all types and sizes. It is a never-ending battle with hackers to find new technology to block their always-evolving malware attempts. MDL can help protect your business against the risks of cyberattacks in 2021 by providing your team members with high-capacity transport solutions for cybersecurity so you can feel confident when using your data.

At MDL, it’s our job to train your employees on the best practices to keep data safe from potential hackers. We’re experts in providing a proactive approach to cybersecurity for your business. Since the majority of cyberattacks are a result of human error, it’s essential that your team knows the warning signs of a cyber threat. In addition, we can provide disaster recovery to give you peace of mind that your data is backed up externally. In case a cyberattack occurs, your data is safe and secure with MDL Technology.

 

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