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Think about this for a minute: according to blackfriday.com, e-commerce sales this year are expected to surpass $9 billion on Cyber Monday alone. That’s a seriously hefty sum of money, which means that come Cyber Monday, those e-commerce sites are going to be seriously attractive targets for cyber criminals. That $9 billion expected jump in online sales is all the opportunity and incentive they need to use this popular shopping day to conduct their unscrupulous cyber crime campaigns.
Cyber Monday Sales vs Cyber Monday Security.
It also means that Cyber Monday is no longer just about online sales. Today, it is as much about cybersecurity as it is about cyber sales, making it incumbent upon businesses, large and small, to implement the necessary cybersecurity measures that will protect their data and their customers’ data.
Or suffer the consequences…
Yes, that’s right, or suffer the consequences. According to financesonline.com, the average cost of a data breach for organizations worldwide has reached $3.92 million. Of course, the businesses that implement cybersecurity measures don’t suffer the consequences. Unlike smaller-to-medium-size businesses (SMBs), large enterprises have been relatively quick to embrace cybersecurity measures and technologies, primarily because the larger organizations have significantly greater resources and deeper pockets. However, there’s another more subtle reason why SMBs haven’t taken their cybersecurity more seriously; they simply don’t think they’re at risk.
SMBs are actually more vulnerable to cyber attacks precisely because they don’t devote enough resources to cyber safety. The statistics don’t lie: according to cnbc.com, 43% of all cyberattacks target small businesses. And when attacked, the results aren’t pretty: the average cost of cyber attacks on SMBs is a whopping $200,000. Furthermore, according to forbes.com, approximately 60% of SMBS that have to suspend operations due to a cyber attack never recover. But financial costs are not the only costs incurred; intangible assets such as reputation, customer relations, and customer goodwill also suffer after a cyber attack.
So just how can SMBs benefit from cybersecurity?
Digital safety. First and foremost, installing powerful antivirus software (AV) on your systems and network will protect your company data and your customer data. It will also ensure that your employees don’t inadvertently put your business at risk. For example, installing a solution that includes ransomware antivirus protection and spyware protection can protect your business data from being held hostage by ransomware or stolen by spyware.
Customer confidence. Equally important, is the customer confidence inspired by proper protection against cyber breaches. When your customers and clients know that their welfare is your concern and that their personal data won’t be compromised, they feel more confident in your services and trust your products.
Improved productivity. Another added benefit is improved productivity. Viruses, worms, rootkits etc., can drastically slow down computers and bring work efforts to a standstill. Antivirus software will make this threat disappear.
Keeps your website up. Good cybersecurity can also keep your website from going down, which every business owner knows is a recipe for disaster. Infected systems or networks can force websites to close and closed websites equal lost transactions, and lost transactions equal lost income. Need we say more?
So what can SMBs do to protect themselves?
Install antivirus software. Even with employees trained in cybersecurity, malware can sneak through. Phishing attacks are particularly successful. The Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) revealed that phishing was involved in 32% of confirmed breaches and 78% of cyber-espionage incidents, making it a top threat action. Antivirus software should be installed on all computer systems and the network to prevent phishing and other cyber attacks.
Perform regular backups. And the backups should then be stored at a location that is separate from the business location in case of fire or flood. The backups should also include all data on the cloud.
Create a cyber awareness company culture. Businesses can foster cyber awareness by educating their employees about cybersecurity best practices and company policies and protocols. Furthermore, employees must be informed if those policies and protocols change.
Enforce safe password practices. The 2019 DBIR report also revealed that 80% of hacking-related breaches involve compromised or weak passwords, so strong password protocols are a must. Suggestions for strong password practices include creating passwords that have numbers, symbols, and both upper and lowercase letters, and changing passwords approximately every two to three months.
Protect your business against supply chain attacks. Third party and supply chain attacks occur when your business systems are compromised via an outside partner or service provider. Hackers search for the weakest link in order to slip their malware onto their target system. To protect your company, confirm that all of your vendors have the latest cybersecurity measures in place too.
Cyber Monday Sales vs AND Cyber Monday Security.
As it turns out, businesses can have a successful Cyber Monday AND a secure Cyber Monday. There is no conflict between them when you implement the right cybersecurity measures. Of course, cybersecurity shouldn’t end on Cyber Monday. Effective cybersecurity requires constant vigilance. It also requires a cybersecurity company culture, and the right cybersecurity technology. But all of this is a small price to pay, and isn’t difficult to implement, when the return is the resilience and health of your business. In fact, you can start right now and take your first step toward cybersecurity by installing Reason antivirus software…