Business Crime & Protection The importance of


cyber security

customer’s data at their fingertips within seconds. With threats on the increase, businesses need to focus their attention on protecting themselves from attack. As hackers have become more sophisticated, the

for businesses E

By Paul Colwell (pictured), Chief Technology Officer at CyberGuard Technologies

very business is at risk from a cyber attack. In 2017, seven out of 10 companies fell victim to cyber crime, costing the UK economy £10bn. With threats like malware, hackers can have your organisation’s and

threat from malware continues to grow. Research by Panda Security found that, back in 2005, 123 new strains of malware were found every single day, with 10,000 new strains found for the entire year. Fast forward to 2016 and that threat became even more daunting; every second, four new strains of malware were being found. All businesses need to ensure security measures are put in place to protect their data. However, implementing security measures is only

solving half the problem. In 2017, a Data Breach Investigations Report found that over 90 per cent of all cyber attacks could be traced back to human error. This makes employees a key factor in initiating but also amplifying the risk of cyber crime. Training your employees and raising their awareness around cyber security is one of the best defences. Phishing scams, in particular, rely on employee

ignorance, enabling criminals into a system through an action that is easy to overlook. An example of such a threat is known as Spear-Phishing. This deliberately targets organisations or individuals precisely with an email-spoofing attack to gain entry via a downloaded attachment. With access to the system, a hacker can gain access to finances, confidential data and sensitive information. Organisations such as the NHS, FedEx, Nissan and Hitachi were all crippled by a version of the attack known as WannaCry. It’s not just via email where businesses are

vulnerable. With data now being stored digitally and placed in the cloud, it acts as another target for cyber

‘In 2017, a Data Breach Investigations Report found that over 90 per cent of all cyber attacks could be traced back to human error’

criminals. Through our own research, 95 per cent of businesses stored their active data digitally, but one-in -five businesses don’t have security measures in place to protect it. With such data having high monetary value to a business, our findings are worrying. While the 20 per cent of businesses without security measures were looking into creating a plan of action if a breach takes place, a small (but still concerning) two per cent of respondents had no plans to implement a plan despite the clear risks. Knowing exactly what to do to protect data within

your business isn’t easy for everyone but there are schemes that can help. Cyber Essentials is a UK Government-backed scheme supported by the IT industry, which launched in June 2014. With their help, a business can properly protect itself and receive a certificate to reassure stakeholders and customers alike. It is considered a quality standard in various industries and is key for landing certain government contracts. Yet, as we found in a recent survey and despite the benefits of receiving Cyber Essentials accreditation, one in five businesses are unaware of the scheme. With certification awarded to those businesses that

are compliant, it is important for your business that those who provide your security essentials are also accredited. CREST is a not-for-profit organisation that represents and supports the cyber security market. They provide accreditations for businesses and individuals who provide cyber security services. With a need to regulate the industry and create standards, CREST is there to provide this. Our very own CyberGuard has been CREST accredited for this reason. Cyber security is essential if CEOs, directors and managers want to keep their data and the data of their customers safe. By having a data recovery strategy in place and a plan for detecting cyber threats, a business can properly protect itself. With the essential precautions in place, all that is left to do is to educate staff on the possible vulnerabilities they could encounter. This can be done by cyber security awareness training that gives your employees the vital knowledge they need. No matter what size business you have, criminals will

use cyber attacks to get what they want. It is up to you to make the necessary decisions to ensure your business isn’t left devastated by a threat that is unlikely to go away.

March 2019 CHAMBERLINK 57

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