With digital transformation on the rise, it’s easy to understand why organizations are suddenly curious and super interested in cybersecurity. The shift to remote working and the adoption of cloud computing, among other technologies, has exposed many companies to the world of cybercrime. This is particularly the case in industries where remote working hasn’t been the norm. And more so in organizations where digital security hasn’t received that much attention.
In 2017, cyber theft was identified as the fastest-growing crime in the United States. The same year, Cybersecurity Ventures predicted that cyber-crime damage could hit $6 trillion annually in 2021. But with the pandemic-induced cyber-attacks and the current trends in the market, the damage could be a lot more.
Before we look at how you can formulate a cybersecurity strategy for your online business, let’s first understand the nature of cyber-crime. We’ll also explore the common cyber-attacks and some trends to keep up with.
As technology advances, so do cyber-attacks and cybersecurity strategies. According to Deloitte, 20% of cyber-attacks witnessed pre-pandemic unseen malware or techniques. However, this jumped up to 35% during the pandemic with specific attacks using some form of machine learning, which remains undetected and adapts to its environment.
Every business owner or cybersecurity professional needs to be aware of the cyber threat landscape. Nowadays, digital invaders latch on to anything that can get them through their mission, even if that means compromising the integrity of your most trusted employee. Due to the many sophisticated sources of cyber threats, businesses need to be extra vigilant on how and who gains access to their network.
Besides cybercriminals breaking into the less-sophisticated network infrastructure, malicious employees and insiders with privileged access to sensitive information can also wreak havoc. The rise of hacktivists with their socially or politically motivated intentions also poses a threat to specific industries. On the lower scale of the cyber threat landscape are junior hackers, popularly known as script kiddies. These attackers with less technical skills are constantly testing out the waters on various organizations and systems and improving their skills.
Some of the cyber-attacks that have become rampant in recent years include malware, ransomware, and phishing. Malware is malicious software or virus that attacks data systems, allowing criminals to copy or steal crucial data, disrupt the system, or block access to important files. Ransomware, Trojans, and spyware can be categorized as malware.
Over the years, ransomware attacks have been on the rise. Here, attackers encrypt files before demanding monetary compensation to solve a problem they created themselves. On the other hand, phishing attacks rely on social engineering techniques executed mainly via email, texts, calls, etc.
Getting Your Act Together: Formulate a Cybersecurity Strategy
When it comes to protecting your organization from cybercrime, there’s a lot that needs to be done. What you want is to approach cybersecurity from an awareness, offense, and defense standpoint. Cybersecurity awareness focuses on educating employees and other stakeholders on security best practices and procedures. All these play a role in accessing any data or handling a device that has access to the internet. Awareness training could also involve compliance training, phishing awareness, and conducting cyber-attack drills.
Defensive cybersecurity strategy is more of a reactive and perhaps proactive approach that focuses on prevention, detection, and response to cyber-attack incidents. This is the most critical step you can take after cybersecurity awareness. Measures include protecting devices and networks against malware attacks by installing advanced antivirus software, which helps prevent low-level attacks.
Helping employees set up home network security to protect home Wi-Fi, using VPN, and carrying out frequent network audits and reviews are all defensive strategies. Other advanced measures in this category include leveraging modern technologies and cyber intelligence tools such as indicators of attacks (IOC). Implementing the Zero Trust security model and smart GRC (governance, risk, and compliance) solutions will also help minimize risk exposure.
On the offensive track, cybersecurity professionals can leverage ethical hacking techniques to mimic and understand cyber-attackers. Using skills such as penetration testing can help eliminate the guesswork in what could happen during an attack. It also prepares the cybersecurity team to fix vulnerabilities that most hackers could exploit.
Get Started Today
To be successful with cybersecurity, you need a strategy. And not just another plan designed by your IT department. It should be a well-articulated, prioritized and budgeted strategy that has blessings from the C-suite. In other words, your cybersecurity committee should have a representative from the top management. The strategy should also be ingrained into the organizational culture.
Besides having the right tools and technologies such as zero trust, anti-malware, and GRC software for risk evaluation and management, you also want to invest in your talent. So, the up-skilling your cybersecurity team to catch up with the current market trends is vital.
Similarly, bolster a culture of continuous learning, upgrade your systems regularly and have a reliable backup system. You should also consider using a password management system and hire a competent cybersecurity company for regular network audits and security assessments.