Your business has security plans in place: there are locks on the doors, key codes for employees, and on-site security guards... but what about plans for your cyber security? Is your company's sensitive electronic data safe?
The cost incurred by businesses because of cybercrime is set to be $2 trillion of damage by 2019. You don't want to be part of this massive loss... you need a cyber security plan.
Both the risks of cyber security and their solutions must be considered to maintain status as an industry authority.
The cyber security discussion is important — it's about breaches of customer's private information, loss of important data, maintaining a competitive edge... and above all else, your company's reputation.
Don't suffer the fate of getting hacked — in this article, learn the importance of cyber security and what the CEO of a small business can do to prevent loss.
First, let's talk about the importance of cyber security and what the risks of underestimating it are. Then let's discuss three easy steps the CEO can take to prevent a cyber breach.
What's the Risk? — The Importance of Cyber Security
The risks that accompany a cyber breach are terrifying. Here is a comprehensive list of the top reasons an effective cyber security plan is crucial to your business.
- Lost or damaged data: Records are necessary for any business. Getting hacked can mean logs that are rendered unusable or are completely lost. Money and unimaginable amounts of time will be spent recovering.
- Loss of income: While your business is busy recovering from the aftermath of a cyber attack, your clients are going to the competitors. A cyber attack can debilitate a business for days while it tries to pick up the pieces.
- Risk of an expensive lawsuit: The data stolen by a hacker can be sensitive, meaning you promised to protect it and didn't follow through. This leaves your business liable for a lawsuit when your clients decide to retaliate.
- Potential extortion: Hackers have been known to steal private information about a customer or a business, then threaten to make the data public unless paid a handsome sum of money. This extortion is not only expensive, it's embarrassing.
- Damaged reputation: This is possibly the biggest risk of all... a black mark on a shiny record as a company. Publicity and word of mouth can turn a cyber attack into the demise of a once top-dog corporation. A loss of trust means a loss of revenue.
The importance of cyber security is obvious when you analyze the consequences of a cyber attack. Standard policies do little to protect businesses from cyber breach damage — it's up to you to protect your company.
So what can you do? Let's dive into the realistic and easy solutions a CEO can use to increase cyber security and decrease the risk of getting hacked.
Easy Ways to Increase Cyber Security
Now the gravity and importance of cyber security is realized, let's talk about 3 easy steps a CEO can take to up their cyber security game.
1. Increase Employee Awareness
Awareness is the first step in prevention. Have a cyber security training plan in place so your employees know how to handle the sensitive data they deal with daily.
Over half of adults surveyed said they had suffered from a breach in their cyber security, but over 20% of the same group were using passwords over 10 years old. One can only imagine the impact awareness could've had on decreasing the number of successful cyber attacks on this sample group.
Teach your employees the basics like how to create strong passwords, identify spam or phishing schemes, and update their virus protection. These simple skills used at a base level can prevent big picture disasters.
Your employees should know who they can ask about cyber security when they are confused. Have a simple system in place to ease their access to security information.
Even with a training program, mistakes will happen. This leads us to the next critical step.
2. Plan for Disaster
While having strong cyber security systems in place decreases risk, it doesn't eliminate the possibility of getting hacked. Plan for reaction to a cyber breach... it's like having a fire drill. You don't want to use it but may have to.
Make a plan to recover electronic data, locate the weak security spot that was breached, and notify customers if their personal information was compromised. It's extra security for emergency situations.
3. Hire an IT Security Team
The best way to protect your network from dangerous activity is to leave it in the hands of experts.
A simple holistic approach to cyber security is an IT security team. They add an extra layer of protection above and beyond firewalls and antivirus programs. This allows for more prevention before an attack happens.
A team can evaluate the unique needs of your company and tailor a protection plan for you. Every business deals with different information on individual platforms that need special attention to detail.
The average expense of a cyber crime on a US company is $15.4 million... so the cost of adding a cyber security team is easily justified when the alternative is considered.
Cyber security is critical for every business. It's also an industry that has a growing employee deficit each year... so the implementation is mostly up to the company's CEO and employees.
The risks of underestimating the importance of cyber security include lost or damaged data, loss of income, risk of a lawsuit, potential extortion, and a damaged reputation.
Prevention is key but not always possible. The three easy steps to decreasing risk of a cyber attack are:
- Increase employee awareness and ability to prevent at the base level
- Plan for the aftermath of an attack — have an emergency backup plan
- Hire the professionals — add a layer of protection with an IT security team
CEOs can reduce their company's potential of becoming a cyber-hack statistic by understanding the risks and the easiest prevention methods.
If you're in need of security solutions to protect your firm, contact us.