As 2023 draws to a close, businesses are hard at work planning and implementing the latest cybersecurity solutions and strategies to sharpen their defenses. The digital landscape is rapidly expanding before our eyes, leading business owners to double down on their cybersecurity efforts as new adversaries emerge. So, what are the most common forms of cyberattack today? And what benefits do businesses reap when investing in a robust cybersecurity strategy? Today, we break down the latest information to help you safeguard your critical data, improve security and limit the effects of cyber incidents in today’s IT landscape.

Common Types of Cyberattacks

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Social Engineering – considered one of the most dangerous forms of attack, social engineering relies on manipulation and human error to expose confidential information. Phishing is a common type of social engineering and is associated with red flags such as emails urgently asking for help or asking users to verify personal information.

Ransomware – a type of malicious software (malware) that infects a victim’s computer, encrypts their files and prevents them from regaining access until they pay up. A new tactic for Ransomware is to exfiltrate a copy of the data prior to encryption and threaten to leak or sell if the ransom is not paid. Even then, hackers may not relinquish the files—leaving you without cash or a key to access your data. It’s commonly spread by downloading malicious attachments found in phishing emails, visiting infected websites, clicking on fake ads or using infected USB flash drives. Global cybersecurity leader, CrowdStrike reported an 82% increase in ransomware-related data leaks just last year.

Malware – malicious software used by hackers to damage devices, infect computer systems and steal sensitive data without the victim’s knowledge. Examples include ransomware, spyware, adware and Trojan horses. Malware can enter your computer through infected email attachments and insecure internet downloads.

Hacking Third-party Networks – a type of data breach where hackers compromise a less secure, third-party supplier to gain access to their victim’s data. Continuously monitoring vendors is a must when selecting external suppliers and is an important component of any risk management and cybersecurity strategy.

Risky Cyber Habits – With remote work on the rise, it’s even more important to refrain from bad cyber habits. Avoid unsecured Wi-Fi networks and use a VPN, multi-factor authentication, strong passwords and password managers to protect your online accounts and systems. Practicing good cyber hygiene can halt 80% of data breaches. Taking advantage of employee cyber awareness training and instilling a culture of cybersecurity is essential to ensuring your network remains secure.

Cloud Vulnerabilities cloud computing stores data and programs online over the internet rather than on your device’s hard drive. The convenience of online data storage comes with increased risks for potential data breaches if not secured and configured properly. Insecure application user interfaces (APIs), insider threats and configuration mistakes are just a few vulnerabilities to look out for.

Benefits of Cybersecurity Investment

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Research from IBM Security reveals that the average cost of a data breach in the United States is up to $9.05 million, the highest cost when compared to 17 other counties and regions. Cyberattacks and data breaches are expensive—both monetarily and reputationally speaking. A cyberattack has the ugly potential to cost you your business and leave business operations at a standstill, sending revenue plummeting. Setting aside a budget to secure your IT infrastructure may come with a cost, but it’s a cost that will save your business money and time in the long run. Implementing a sound cybersecurity strategy paired with employee cyber training and leading cybersecurity tools provide a considerable cost benefit to businesses as a whole.

Build Trust

Devising a strategy that will keep company and client data secure builds trust and is key to a valued and transparent partnership. Building a reputation as a cybersecure, cyber-aware business will also help build customer loyalty, business retention and enable growth because clients are confident that their data is safe.

Unhindered Productivity

Not only are cyberattacks costly they also squash productivity in a matter of seconds, leaving team members unable to perform daily tasks. Depending on the extent of the attack, business operations may halt entirely. Equipping your team with the latest cybersecurity tools and information goes a long way to boosting the productivity of your team and safeguarding your IT infrastructure. Cyber awareness training provides your team with the information they need to enhance cyber hygiene and know how to respond when an incident surfaces.

Reduce Remote Work Risks

A survey conducted by Upwork reported that over 50% of the U.S. workforce is working remotely. As remote work environments increase, so should cybersecurity efforts. Ensuring your workforce has the tools they need to remain secure will decrease the likelihood of cyber incidences tremendously. Having a cybersecurity and compliance strategy in place, along with setting up VPNs, offering reliable IT support and securing personal and work devices will go a long way to maintaining good cybersecurity practices and protecting against looming threats.

Have Peace of Mind

Perhaps the most important aspect of setting aside budget to maintain data security is knowing you and your team have the defenses in place to combat and bounce back from an attack. Knowing that your IT systems are adequately protected with leading tools and a team of cybersecurity experts is a huge peace of mind for business owners, teammates and clients alike. As the digital landscape expands and new technologies take center stage, businesses must enhance their cybersecurity posture now more than ever. Investing in cybersecurity is an investment for the future. 2024 is forecasted to be a year of increased IT security spending as businesses combat the growing number of threats and enlarged attack surfaces. Technology research firm Gartner Inc. projects information security and risk management spending will total $215 billion in 2024 compared to $188.3 billion in 2023. At the end of the day, the more cyber security armor your business has, the more your will be able to protect yourself from threat actors. No matter what challenges arise, having a robust cybersecurity strategy and a team of experts ready to help at a moment’s notice will help you avoid the headaches of a data breach.

With headlines full of cyberattacks and security breaches, every individual must take online risks seriously. Our IT specialists are here to answer your questions and ensure your company remains protected with the latest security features. Chat with our team today to learn more!