The term “Cybersecurity” is tossed around more than a football during an NFL game. It seems like everytime you check Google News there is a new article outlining the devastating results of a cyber attack. As a business owner or manager, your data and IT infrastructure are two of your most precious assets. So how do you protect them?
There are so many misconceptions and myths being passed around in the industry that it’s difficult to know if your organization is fully protected or not. We sat down with the security specialists here at TOPS to identify the 11 top myths surrounding the topic of cybersecurity that business owners in the Okanagan need to be aware of.
1. Anti-Virus Software Fully Protects Your Business
The truth is, there is a lot of amazing software out there that can be a fantastic aid in the fight against cyber attacks. The problem? Most business owners select the least expensive software they can find and believe that once they instal it, they are covered from all angles. These anti-virus users are a hackers best friend. Software can help but it is insufficient as a full enterprise solution.
2. Your Passwords are Unhackable
Humans are creatures of habit that strive to make life predictable and safe. Simplifying your life can be a great idea, except when it comes to passwords. Many of your employees will believe that a cyber-attacker will never guess the name of the first dog they ever had, especially if they end it with their favourite number. To make matters worse, they will be so confident in this password that they will use it over and over again, leaving a little trail of easter eggs for those with ill intentions. Passwords are much easier to crack than you may think- we highly recommend using a secure password manager which will help your employees create unique, encrypted passwords for each application they use.
3. Resorting back to “paper methods” or disconnecting is Safer
When you store a file on your network, we will be able to tell who accessed it, when they viewed it and if any copies were made. Can you say the same thing for a piece of paper? There are situations where printing documents and relaying information on paper 100% makes sense but these physical copies must be closely managed.
If you decide to keep data stored electronically on an “unplugged” system that is not connected to the internet, you may actually be increasing your risk. When a network or system is disconnected, it makes it more difficult to monitor as interactions and data are not being logged as frequently. Additionally, if security patches are implemented to your system, this online data will be less protected.
4. Physical and Digital Security are Completely Separate Issues
In today’s world, all of your security threats and strategies need to be intertwined. Your security cameras could be remotely accessed or a third-party could take control of the locks on your doors if they are connected to a security system. If a device or system is connected and digitally controlled, hackers can access and modify the functions easier than you may think.
5. Hackers and Attackers are only targeting big companies or celebrities
Large companies and high-profile individuals such as celebrities are often the most protected when it comes to cybersecurity. Many hackers have programs that can scan for unprotected computers and networks and would rather pick the low-hanging fruitthen attempt to break the firewalls of a corporation that has the protection of an outside party such as TOPS.
6. If you don’t open suspicious emails you are safe
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Yes, you are correct in not opening an email from a random bank or wealthy person offering you the opportunity of a lifetime… however, some of the most dangerous emails could be coming from trusted sources. Viruses are able to access others through contact folders which means that an email from your wife might not actually be from her and could actually contain malicious software.
7. It will be obvious if your system has been infected or breached
Not every breach will make your computer slow down and send a barrage of pop-up windows your way. Skilled hackers will access your computer and be nearly undetectable. While it appears that your computer is running normally, there is actually a massive cyber attack going on in the background.
8. Attacks and threats will always come from outside your organization
Again, unfortunately for business owners, this is absolutely not true. It is becoming more common to hire temp workers, seasonal employees and freelancers in order to stay competitive. If someone has access to your internal system, they are a threat, even if they don’t realize it. Many business owners spend their security dollars suspiciously blocking outsiders when some of the most harmful attacks can come from within their own walls.
9. It’s a massive expense to fully protect your business from cyber threats
This is one of the most frustrating misconceptions we hear. Having efficient cybersecurity and protection is not just for the massive corporations with million-dollar retainers. We have solutions for businesses of every size, designed to protect against malicious attacks and threats without draining your expense accounts.
10. Securing your own system fully protects your assets
If you have decided to take the necessary steps to fully secure your data and IT networks, congratulations, you are a leader in your industry! Unfortunately, your job is not over yet. Creating a safe and secure cyber environment is an ongoing effort that should expand to every other organization and entity that you interact with. Subcontractors, vendors, accountants, vendors- anyone that interacts with your information is a risk. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so you must ensure that everyone you are working with is also fully protected. This might seem a little extreme, but ask the business owners that have lost the payment information of their clients to a hacker if this sounds excessive- you know what their answer will be.
11. Worrying about cybersecurity is just the IT departments job
Do the members of your IT department ever seem a little…tense? There are many jobs that fall onto their plates, many of which are a waste of their time.
“My monitor won’t turn on.”
“Maureen, the screen must be plugged into an outlet in order to work, and no, I’m not showing you how to change the wallpaper of your phone’s background again.”
Your IT department is an extremely important asset to your organization and protecting against cyber attacks should not solely fall on their task lists. Cybersecurity should be a priority throughout your business, with everyone chipping in to ensure that your system stays safe and secure.
After reviewing these 11 myths, you might be realizing it’s time to give your business a security overall. Connect with our team today and we can walk through the various options you have to keep your systems safe and secure.