IT Security News Quarterly Update - Autumn 2020

Our Autumn IT Security News quarterly update and last one for 2020, is nicely timed with October’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM).

Now in its 17th year, NCSAM continues to raise awareness about the all-important subject of cyber security across the globe, which is perhaps even more pertinent this year given the alarming spike in cybercrime due to the pandemic and more people than ever working from home.

Cyber Security is Important

I thought I’d start with a famous quote. If you’ve got a mountain bike, would you leave it unchained at a busy shopping centre all day while you go shopping? If the answer is “No of course not”, then why is it acceptable to not secure your network, your business, your livelihood? Jamie Williams – Net Technical Solutions – Oct 2020.

Ok so that is not a famous quote, it’s just me trying to be clever, but it is a relevant metaphor.

Your business is your lifeline and is valuable to you, your staff and of course your customers and needs to be protected from criminals.

You wouldn’t leave your bike unchained outside of a busy shopping centre all day, would you? (Well if you did, you’d only do it once!)

We are all taught to be aware of our valuables and the potential for thieves to be lurking close by; there are signs all over the place that state 'thieves operate in this area' to help remind us of this very fact on a daily basis. However, even though the value of our IT data and our digital footprint has increased dramatically (and more recently, at an alarming rate), we haven’t really been taught about data security – how to protect that data. Nor are there signs posted everywhere saying criminals operate in this environment, but they do.

Not only that, in the bike example you are only exposed to opportunistic thieves in that particular area at that time, but with a connection to the Internet, your data and all that you do online is open to, in some form or another, the entire world.

IT personnel have been trying to educate their companies and staff for years about the dangers of cybercrime. The introduction of the GDPR in 2018 made everyone at least look up, take note, and acknowledge that data needs some sort of protection. In fact, the huge fines established by this law for failing to protect data have been set so high as to really emphasize just how important it is to take this matter seriously.

Data security is improving though, with adverts, police campaigns and the media all helping out but there is nevertheless a long way to go. We are still seeing far too much financial damage being done to businesses of ALL sizes, especially to those companies that don’t take the cyberthreats seriously.

During my working week, I see and hear of so many businesses that “don’t want to do anything on the IT security front right now”, only to find themselves at some point later victims of a cybercrime. And at that point, they then want a lot of cyber security things implementing – right now!

However, at that point (depending on the breach or attack), the long-term damage has already been done. The bird has flown! To the organisation that’s been attacked, they see the cost as: gone, money stolen or time down unable to work, plus potential fines for breaching GDPR.

It is much more than that:

  • It could be that the business and their client base are more likely to be targeted more often in the future, increasing the risk of a repeat attack
  • Or that data has been stolen and will pop up in months\years to come, potentially to be used for blackmail
  • Or that trust between the company and their clients is irreparably damaged, especially if it was the client’s data that was stolen from the company

The continuous success of cyberattacks by hackers suggests many companies still regard data security and cyber security as an unnecessary overhead, adopting an “It won’t happen to us” approach. Unfortunately, all the statistics and data that we have to hand suggest that this is not the case. With little protection and changes to your staff behaviours in place, figures show that at some point it WILL happen to your business – in much the same way as if you continually leave a bike unchained outside a busy shopping centre, someone will, at some point, take advantage.

It’s not all doom and gloom though.

On a more positive note, there are so many different things you can now do to start improving your data security and they don’t always come with a huge outlay. By starting straight away, even at a slow and steady pace, you will begin to build up barriers to prevent the hackers getting in - from putting the right staff training in place to ensure that your employees are aware of what to look out for and can identify the danger signs to using the best infrastructure of firewalls and software to protect your data from the outset.

Most hackers are driven by money and if they encounter a barrier, they will quickly move on. Obviously, that isn’t always the case but it’s certainly the case in a lot of situations as there are just so many businesses and individuals still out there without walls for them to find and attack.

For more information on what you can do to help keep your organisation’s data secure, download and read our latest FREE CYBER SECURITY GUIDE - THE ULTIMATE SECRET TO KEEPING YOUR BUSINESS DATA SAFE.

Additionally watch our latest and very relevant short video on the key online scams to look out for during the pandemic.

Remember – be alert, keep your data safe and if you have any questions relating to your business IT security please don’t hesitate to contact me on 😊

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