How Do Cybersecurity Services Keep Businesses Safe?
Editor's note: This article was originally published in 2019. It has been updated to include more current information.
As cybersecurity attacks continue to evolve and now target businesses of all sizes, many organizations have poured financial and other resources into keeping their business safe.
Small and medium-sized businesses often are at a financial disadvantage when it comes to hiring executives like a chief information officer (CIO), chief technology officer (CTO), or chief information security officer (CISO).
The good news is there are ways for these organizations to get the same level of robust IT care without bearing the full financial burden.
In this article, we’ll explore how cybersecurity services keep businesses safe and how small and medium-sized businesses can capitalize on these services.
After reading this article, you’ll have a full understanding of the protection cybersecurity services offer and the internal and external options for available to provide these services if you decide they are right for your organization.
Kelser offers a full complement of cybersecurity services as part of our managed IT support services and solutions. Having said that, we know that managed IT isn’t the right solution for every organization.
We write informative, easy-to-understand articles like this one that presents all of the information so business leaders like you need to make educated decisions about the best technology solutions for their organization.
What Can Cybersecurity Services Help Prevent?
In today’s high tech business climate, the technology infrastructure of your business is more important than ever before. When your infrastructure is down, business slows and sometimes even stops. No business can afford that.
Your technology needs care and maintenance to stay safe, available, and efficient.
So, let’s explore what kinds of negative events proactive cybersecurity services help prevent.
1. Business Disruption
IT security isn’t just about your data, but about preserving business continuity in general. For example, criminals have launched targeted cyberattacks that cause manufacturing machines to malfunction, shutting down operations, disrupting business processes, and causing lost revenue.
Even scarier is the possibility of a cyberattack against a national infrastructure system such as water or electricity, or against hospitals and healthcare providers.
There are many reasons why attackers might seek to disrupt your operations. Some are looking for direct financial gain, while others aim to send a political message. In 2022, the global average cost of a cyberattack hit $4.35 million.
2. Phishing Attacks
More than 90 percent of cyber attacks begin with a phishing email. However, it’s one thing to recognize this statistic, and another thing to effectively prevent phishing attacks in the first place.
Phishing emails and calls aren’t always obvious. Many cyber criminals try to impersonate banks or companies that you’re familiar with, using a sense of urgency so that you’ll react without thinking rationally (e.g. an email with the subject “INVOICE OVERDUE”).
These messages usually contain links or attachments that will attempt to steal personal or sensitive information.
Raising employee awareness through frequent security awareness training programs and simulated phishing attacks can go a long way toward keeping your information safe.
Malware—short for “malicious software”—is software that can damage or gain unauthorized access to a system. There are many types of malware, ranging from viruses and Trojan horses to worms and ransomware.
Ransomware is particularly malicious. It is used to encrypt data on a device, making it unusable until you pay a “ransom” in return for which the criminal will decrypt it. Imagine someone entering your house and putting all your valuables in a safe, and then demanding payment before opening the safe so you can access your property.
Ransomware is often installed without the user’s knowledge and can lie dormant until it is activated.
Some other forms of malware include spyware (which collects information on users without their knowledge) and adware (when users click on the advertisement, their internet activity is hijacked and they are redirected to an advertiser’s website).
4. Financial Damage
Both your staff members and your organization itself are at risk of identity theft. Even savvy employees can fall victim to spear phishing attacks, which target specific individuals or groups using information about the target.
In a famous attack, criminals targeted Ubiquiti Networks and stole $46.7 million by creating fake emails that looked like they came from company executives. The emails “authorized” international wire transfers.
Business identity theft is an attack in which criminals gain information and use it to impersonate a business. Criminals can also use information gathered to discover trade secrets, take out loans or open lines of credit that can result in debt and financial loss, bad credit and reputation damage.
Stealing the identity of a person or business is fairly easy and common. It requires requiring only a few pieces of data. For individuals, this may be their address and Social Security number; for businesses, this may be their staff directory and list of clients.
5. Distributed Denial Of Service (DDoS) Attacks
A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack disrupts the normal operations of a targeted server, service, or network by flooding it with malicious internet traffic. Think of it like a massive crowd of people assembling outside a store, preventing other legitimate customers from going inside.
DDoS attacks can be devastating to companies with a heavy online presence, such as e-commerce businesses. The attack makes it impossible for the organization to process sales.
6. Website Defacement
Imagine what could happen if malicious actors were able to take control of your website or social media platforms. Cybercriminals could post fraudulent press releases, delete web pages, expose sensitive information, and more.
While you could likely restore your operations eventually, such an attack might destroy your business relationships and reputation with your customers. Techniques such as SQL injection, password hacking, and cross-site scripting (XSS) are common exploits that criminals use to take control of a website.
7. Intellectual Property (IP) Theft
A data breach isn’t just an embarrassment for your company—it may also spell the end of your business. Criminals may steal your financial information or trade secrets, as well as private health data that must be kept confidential under HIPAA security rules.
IP theft is also a national security risk. The 2023 National Cybersecurity Strategy, released by the White House in March, is an attempt to secure the nation’s digital ecosystem.
8. Data Destruction & Manipulation
Some hackers seek to undermine an organization’s own trust in the integrity of its systems by deleting and manipulating data. Even if you can identify the problem, the vulnerability will still be there as long as you use the same technologies.
No Business Is Immune
Whether you’re a tiny startup or a massive multinational, no business is immune to the threat of cyberattacks.
There’s a lot of ground to cover with IT security, but the good news is that a little effort goes a long way.
How Can You Get The Cybersecurity Services Your Organization Needs?
The good news is that cybersecurity resources are constantly evolving to address the latest threats. The not so good news is that you are likely too busy running your business to keep up with the ever-changing world of cybersecurity.
To keep your business on top of the latest threats you can either hire internal experts to keep your technology infrastructure updated and maintained or you can hire external experts who focus on managing your IT.
Related article: Internal Vs. Outsourced IT Services: An Honest Comparison
Want to learn steps you can take to improve your company’s cybersecurity posture?
Click the link below for a free e-Book that explains “10 Actions You Can Take Now To Improve Your Cybersecurity.”
Learn steps you can take now including:
Implementing multi-factor authentication
Password protecting mobile devices
Maintaining current backups