We live in a data-driven world. From huge multinationals to the family-owned store around the corner, businesses rely on mountains of data to function. Over half of small businesses in the UK are looking to use analytics to gain an edge over competitors according to Smith & Williamson.
This constant state of transmission and output has created an irresistible golden vein for cybercriminals. Attacks are on the rise, and are getting harder to detect.
Customers are also more aware of the risks than ever before. Security isn’t only the concern of IT, but of every consumer, whether B2B or B2C. According to PCI Pal research, some 44 percent of Brits claim they won’t spend on a business for months after a security breach and B2B enterprises face the possibility of getting blacklisted for poor security.
From sliver of the IT pie to key business function
Clearly, cybersecurity is an indispensable cost of doing business in the technological age. Global spending on cybersecurity is predicted to reach £107 billion in 2020. More than half of UK organisations report increasing their security budgets in the past couple of years according to a CSO study.
Viewed from above, it seems like businesses are shoring up considerably against cybercrime, but on the ground, it’s a different story. Only 31 percent of organisations in the UK have conducted risk assessment in the past year. Many underestimate the likelihood of getting targeted, despite the alarming frequency of attacks: every 19 seconds a business is getting hacked according to UK insurer Hiscox.
Common cybersecurity threats
A business’ security system needs to defend against a vast array of malicious attempts, from botnet-driven Distributed Denials of Service (DDoS) to complex social engineering schemes designed to dupe even discerning employees.
Below are just a few threats your system needs to be prepared for:
- Malware: A broad category that includes viruses, worms, keyloggers and any kind of program that can manipulate your network to steal data, block access, or spy on your activities. Ransomware, a type of attack where criminals threaten to wipe systems and data unless the ransom is paid, costs companies a sobering £58 billion per year (Hiscox). More insidious types of malware can hide in your system for years.
- DDoS: During a DDoS attack criminals send massive volumes of traffic in order to overwhelm your system, essentially rendering it unusable. A DDoS attack occurs every minute, according to Netscout, and can unload queries at rates as fast as 600Gbps onto networks.
- Phishing: Phishing is arguably one of the hardest threats to fight against because a successful attack ultimately hinges on human judgement. Attempts often use psychological tactics to get employees to divulge information. For instance, appealing to authority by masquerading as legitimate emails from superiors to get users to click malicious links.