Ransomware has taken full advantage of small to mid-sized businesses during the pandemic, and yet, most of them are still at risk of this – and similar – cybercrimes. This is likely because these businesses don’t understand the risks and don’t view cybersecurity as a valuable investment.
What Cyber-Attacks Do To Your Business?
Cyber-attacks can disrupt your business operations from minor to huge financial losses. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), 28% of small businesses experienced data breaches during the pandemic. And, 25% of them filed for bankruptcy, while the other 10% had to shut down.
What’s even more concerning is cyber-attacks are expected to increase by 15%, with an estimated financial annual loss of $10.5 trillion by 2025. To understand these cyber-attacks better, let’s look at their types:
Ransomware – Financial Loss
Every business has valuable data, and cybercriminals use that data to make money out of it. They take away all the information while destroying it from your company network and then demand ransom for it.
Island Hopping – Losing Contracts
Small businesses working with big corporations become the prime target for hackers. They exploit the weak cybersecurity of small businesses to harm the associated larger companies. This often results in small businesses losing contracts from other larger companies due to weak data security infrastructure.
Eavesdropping Attacks – Sensitive Information Leaks
Information transfer via public or open networks is vulnerable. And when working remotely, you might end up connecting to a public network for work. Hackers may use this opportunity to access and steal your information from your connected device and sell the stolen data to others.
Unsecure Servers – Reputation Damage
Web pages with disabled HTTPS aren’t secure as they make it easy for cybercriminals to get into your company’s network and steal information. This wouldn’t only lead to you losing customers, but would also damage your business’s reputation.
In short, cyber-attacks cause your business financial loss, reputation damage, legal liability, losing contracts, and even continuity problems. And, untangling the aftermath of a cyberattack is time-consuming, expensive, and has dire consequences. Taking proactive steps to protect your company data can save you from ruining your business and save up to more than $1 million.
So, How Can You Secure Your Business Data?
A Virtual Private Network (or VPN) is a tool that can minimize the cybersecurity threats your business faces. Here are some of its top benefits.
Provide Data Security and Privacy
A VPN like Nord VPN encrypts data, masks your public IP address and allows your data to travel through a safe tunnel on any network – even on public networks. This single feature protects your business-sensitive data from most cyber threats, particularly ransomware, island hopping, and similarly others. But even if somehow the hackers get data, the decrypting process takes a lot of time. This gives you enough time to contain the breach and avoid financial and information loss.
Remote Access And Increased Productivity
When working remotely, you may need secure access to the sensitive files on your company’s network. And, this can be done using VPN’s encryption.
Safe Access To Business Apps And Company Portal
You can use any business-specific platform, irrespective of your current location. For instance, Slack and Google aren’t available in China. Using VPN can let you bypass geo-restrictions and conduct daily business activities seamlessly. You can also access your company’s portal using additional customized VPN settings, giving you the flexibility to work outside of office premises.
Cost-Effective And Less Overhead
Once a VPN is set up, it lowers data leakage and physical cost. It is capable of saving millions of dollars in the case of avoiding data breaches. While, you don’t have to look and pay for physical office space – saving your money and overhead costs.
Want to Go a Step Ahead With Cybersecurity?
The following practices can help you protect your business even more.
Multi-Factor Authentications (MFA)
Complex and unique passwords with hard-to-guess passphrases are essential for cybersecurity. However, they get easier for hackers to guess over time. So, you must add an MFA – OTP verifications, smart cards, biometrics, etc. – for authorized access to your business accounts and change its passwords from time to time.
Invest, Install, And Update Cybersecurity Software
VPNs are excellent for online privacy and info transfers. But, they can’t protect you against virus or malware attacks, such as trojans, unwanted programs peeking into your data, destroying data for business loss, etc.
To fully protect business data, you must install anti-virus, anti-malware, and firewall software. Plus, keeping them updated will help you find any data breaches, detect the viruses, and quarantine them before you suffer any loss.
Update Company’s Resources And Keep File Backups
Updating the company’s software or hardware fixes its bugs and improves its capacity to support the latest security features. For instance, a video calling app got an update for encrypted communication. This is useful for business-sensitive meetings.
While making data backups can save you from the hassle of paying the ransom for the stolen data.
Avoid Public Networks, Unverified Sources And Suspicious Links
If you are not using a VPN and working remotely, then avoid connecting to public networks. Others in the same network can easily view or access your information. And for hackers, you’ll be an easy target.
While downloading or clicking on unknown links via emails/pop-ups can put you at risk of phishing, pharming, and malware attacks. And, visiting web pages with disabled HTTPS and not having SSL certificates can lead to a data breach.
Develop A Response Plan
Make a contingency plan with clear procedures and policies to follow in case of a cyber-attack to avoid catastrophic consequences. Educate your employees, designate a response team, and do test runs to further improve protocols.