With half of the world’s population now having access to the internet, cybercrime has become one of the biggest challenges of modern times. Some estimates put the global cost of cybercrime to $6 trillion dollars per year by 2021. The widespread use of network technologies is fast outpacing our ability to stay secure. Businesses are struggling to keep up with constantly evolving threats, but their lack of preparedness often boils down to common mistakes that can be easily avoided.
Here are some of the most common cybersecurity mistakes that need to die:
#1. Failing to map digital assets
Things were much easier back in the days of in-house servers and workstations connected to an internal network. There were fewer endpoints to worry about, no cloud storage services, and no mobile devices. The adoption of networked technologies has rapidly increased the number of potential attack surfaces.
Getting a centralized view of your data-bearing systems is a critical first step towards ensuring the safety of your organization. You need to know exactly where your data lies, which security controls are in place to protect it, and who has access to it.
#2. Neglecting security training
If there’s one thing that most successful cyberattacks have in common, it’s that they stem from human error rather than shortcomings in technology itself. Phishing scams are a popular way to distribute malicious software, as well as a way to exfiltrate confidential data from victims. If your employees can’t identify common risks such as targeted scams, it’s only a matter of time before they unwittingly cause serious damage to your business.
Your employees are on the frontlines when it comes to cybersecurity. Technology empowers them, but there’s no substitute for regular awareness training. Training employees to develop a critical mindset when surfing the web is an effective strategy for keeping your business out of harm’s way.
#3. Avoiding vendor risk assessments
Almost every business works with third parties for critical technology functions such as online collaboration, backup and disaster recovery, and cloud storage. Even if your internal security infrastructure is second to none, a vulnerability in one of your technical partners or somewhere along the supply chain can be all it takes to bring everything crashing down. Furthermore, it’s your responsibility to protect your data, regardless of where it lies.
When assessing digital risks in your organization, it’s critical that you take into consideration your vendors and technology partners. It’s important to assess your business associates and ensure that they have in place the security measures required to keep your network and digital assets safe.
#4. Thinking only about malware
Many internet users don’t think beyond antivirus when it comes to information security. While malicious software remains a major threat, your primary goal should be to stop it from getting past your network in the first place. Conventional antivirus solutions and firewalls are reactive in nature, so they’re really only a last resort. What matters more is how data breaches and malware infections occur in the first place.
Most malware spreads through online scams, which is why your employees need to think beyond malware and understand how cybercriminals ply their dishonest trade. If you’re only thinking in terms of malware, you’ll end up neglecting that critical human element.
It’s also important to keep your systems up to date. The latest software updates often come bundled with fixes and security patches that can prevent a host of cyberattacks.
#5. Trying to do everything yourself
Cybersecurity isn’t getting any easier. Scammers are bolder and attacks more sophisticated than ever before. Enormous attack surfaces aren’t helping either. With such a huge number of possible entry points, relying only on your in-house IT department is hardly sufficient. Also, information security expertise doesn’t come cheap, and hiring a full-time information security officer is well beyond the limited budgets of many smaller businesses.
Many organizations choose instead to outsource information security, either in the form of a fully managed security infrastructure or to augment their existing IT departments. By contrast, trying to do everything yourself is bound to lead to some gaping holes in your cybersecurity.
Capstone IT provides highly responsive IT support and guidance for businesses wanting to maximize productivity, security, and efficiency. Call us today to request your free 30-minute strategy session.