Hackers constantly dream up new ways to infiltrate computer systems, steal data and create chaos. The truth is, NO organization is safe from a cyber attack.
Think you’re immune from a cyber attack? Think again.
Here are a couple of stats that will keep you up at night, whether you’re a Fortune 500 company, or a small or medium-sized organization:
- 33% of Fortune 500 corporate executives fall for phishing attacks.1
- 70% of cyber attacks target small businesses.2
- 60% of hacked small and medium sized businesses fail within the six months following a breach.
That’s because schemes are evolving quickly and becoming more complex. For these reasons, the consequences of a cyber attack are increasing at an alarming rate. Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. There are exceptions, but victims often quickly pay the ransom demand in order to regain access to their data, servers or computers. Ransomware attacks were virtually unknown 10 years ago; however, in the past two years victims have paid out more than $25 million in ransom.3
Ransomware is lucrative to cyber criminals and the reason why attacks on businesses grew 10 fold from 2015 to 2016. Deviations of ransomware and other cyber attacks grew 400% in 2016 alone.4
Some of the more common deviations include phishing and social engineering, financial and personal data breaches. Some cyber attacks occur as a result of employee carelessness, like losing a company laptop, or negligence, such as ignoring corporate controls on password updates. Many times, however, employees open files, links or emails that appear to be from legitimate sources, but result in a breach. Cyber criminals understand and prey on human weakness and business vulnerabilities.
There is no way to stop attacks from hitting a business, and they will only continue to evolve as hackers dream up new ways to compromise systems or steal data and sell it on the Dark Web.5
Besides demonstrating genuine care for their workforces, employers have a vested interest in the mental, physical, emotional and systemic health of every employee. A healthy workforce is a happy workforce, and happy employees tend to stay put. Healthier employees also take off fewer sick days.
Business priorities change by industry
All types of business are susceptible to cyber attack. Attacks may impact a firm differently depending on the business sector. The important thing to remember is that whether a firm is a non-profit entity, a professional services organization or a healthcare provider, they are all vulnerable. Understanding how a cyber attack would impact a specific business is critical. Working with an internal IT department and establishing a strong security plan is key in minimizing exposure to a cyber attack.
The consequences are real, but not just for the IT department. In today’s climate, company officers and the board members can be held accountable by shareholders and investors. Because they have a fiduciary responsibility for maintaining the financial stability of an organization, a risk management program that includes cyber insurance is a way of meeting that obligation.
Cyber attacks are almost inevitable, which makes them somewhat of a predictable business risk. Cyber insurance helps a business deal with the aftermath. Here are six examples of some of the costs associated with an attack:
- Forensic investigation
- Business interruption
- Reputational harm
- Public relations
- Legal advice
The moral of the story is hackers know your vulnerabilities better than you do. They will always be 10 steps ahead. All businesses need to take the proactive approach rather than the reactive and suffer consequences if they’re not properly prepared.
Are you prepared?
1 PivotPoint Security, “CEO Fraud Up 270% in One Year—and 33% of Top Execs are Still Vulnerable”
2 Inc. 5000/Symantec, “60 Percent of Companies Fail in 6 Months Because of This (It’s Not What You Think)”
3 The Verge, “Ransomware Victims Have Paid Out More Than $25 Million, Google Study Finds”
4 CSO Magazine, “Ransomware Took In $1 Billion In 2016—Improved Defenses May Not Be Enough to Stem the Tide”
5 CS Monitor, “The Identity Underworld: How Criminals Sell Your Data on the Dark Web”
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© 2017 Corporate Synergies Group, LLC. No part of this material may be republished or distributed without prior written consent.