The internet has revolutionised the way we communicate, share information and do business. It is an invaluable resource with a seemingly endless number of benefits. Unfortunately, it also poses risks that are difficult to quantify. The sheer volume of cyber risk exposures means that companies need to be proactive in mitigating these risks to prevent attacks.
In fact, 8 in 10 public and private sector organisations have attributed a rise of these attacks to working remotely from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s concerning is that as of 2020, cybercrime accounts for 43% of all crime in Singapore.
Top cyber risks
As cyber threats continue to grow in frequency and severity, business leaders must be aware of the most pressing risks to their organisations. This includes:
- Phishing attacks – This can come in the form of emails or text messages presumedly sent by trusted contacts. Under the guise of urgent claims, attackers lure users to click on malicious links that require sharing of sensitive company details.
- Malware – Short from malicious software, malware is the umbrella term for cyber threats such as computer viruses and trojans. Once users click on these malicious codes, a file or program may be downloaded to enable hackers to access and manipulate company networks. It can be costly to recover from such attacks, potentially putting small businesses in a difficult position.
- Ransomware – This type of cyber attack will employ encryption of company data such that employees are unable to access the information. Not only will a hefty ransom have to be paid to restore access, but companies will also have to answer to affected parties. It was reported that local ransomware cases increased to 154% in 2020 and it is possible that the number of cases in 2021 will be more than that.
Given these facts, it’s important that businesses take proactive measures to defend against cyber attacks.
5 tips to increase cyber security for businesses
1. Assess your existing security measures
Earlier in August 2021, nearly 73,500 patients’ data were affected in a ransomware attack on a private eye clinic. Where information such as identity card numbers and addresses can be compromised, it is crucial to evaluate your business’ current security measures ahead of time to steer clear from the aftermath of such attacks. That way, you are more aware of your vulnerabilities and can proceed to improve your weakest links accordingly.
Moving forward, the following changes can include implementing multi-factor authentication, setting up firewalls and keeping your infrastructure up-to-date, for example.
2. Reevaluate user access
With more employees working from home, your company should relook guidelines around their usage and be strict in order to protect sensitive business data. In fact, phishing and ransomware often exploit human error.
By allowing access to only the key staff, you can reduce risks and increase the resilience of your IT environment. Whether in the office or at home, remind your employees to ensure their network is secured with a strong password to prevent infiltration.
3. Educate your employees
With the above two steps addressed, it is crucial to ensure these employees are knowledgeable in spotting threats of cyber attacks. For example, there are some signs of identifying phishing emails. This includes misspelled domain names, fake email addresses and suspicious links.
Additionally, by conducting training and impromptu cyber attack simulations, your company can do the due diligence of improving your employees’ response time to handling such situations.
4. Upgrade when necessary
As the methods employed by hackers are becoming more sophisticated, you must always stay on your toes to defend your business against cyber criminals. With emerging threats, it is necessary to monitor your IT environment and upgrade your cyber security to block unwanted cyber attacks. Cyber security specialists can increase your cyber resilience, so you’ll want to make sure to choose an experienced provider to safeguard the protection of all your data.
5. Get cyber liability coverage
That being said, should your system fall victim to a cyber attack, the potential loss of data can negatively impact your business in Singapore. Experiencing a cyber attack can put any company in a tough spot and leave you at a loss of what to do next. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to protecting your business from cyber threats as every company has different needs. Ranging from first party to third party coverage, cyber risk insurance presents a smart precaution for companies to be prepared for the cost of any data breach.