It’s imperative that you protect your organization’s data, communications, and collaborations from the rising tide of potentially damaging cyber threats. But what are the most significant cyber threat challenges today – and what pitfalls do you need to avoid when guarding against them?
Top Cyber Threat Challenges
It’s not paranoid to admit that the world is filled with potential cyber threats. Individual actors, criminal gangs, and even state governments have the tools and the motivation to attack companies, organizations, and government agencies worldwide.
What are the most common cyber threat challenges facing your organization today? Here are the top five.
According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigation Report, phishing is involved in 36% of all data breaches. Phishing has proven to be an effective way for malicious actors to gain the credentials necessary to access an otherwise-secure network. All it takes is one employee (out of hundreds or thousands) falling for a fake email and an entire system can be compromised. It’s also worth noting that Zoom, Slack, and other communication platforms popular with remote workers have expanded phishing’s reach beyond just email.
Sophos estimates that more than a third (37%) of all companies were victims of ransomware in 2020 – and the situation is getting more worse. Many ransomware incidents now include an extortion component. In addition to holding data and systems hostage, many ransomware instigators now threaten to release confidential information obtained via unauthorized access to the public unless additional payments are made. This only emphasizes the need for your organization to properly guard against ransomware attacks.
Employees working from home represent a higher cyber risk than when they were working on-premises. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, 45% of employees were working from home – and that number is expected to remain high even as some workers return to the office.
- Using nonsecure personal devices instead of more secure company-issued devices
- Higher incidence of malware on home computers
- Greater susceptibility to phishing schemes in the home environment
- Risk of having sensitive communications intercepted over less-secure home and public Wi-Fi networks
More workers, remote and otherwise, use smartphones and other mobile devices to conduct official business, which represents another significant cyber threat challenge. Mobile devices are inherently less secure than traditional desktop computers – cellular and Wi-Fi communications can be intercepted, and rogue devices can transmit malware to a corporate network. In addition, mobile devices are easier to steal, and a stolen phone or laptop can contain all manner of sensitive data of value to cyber criminals. (A stolen phone or laptop can also provide easy entry into your network for malicious actors.)
Cloud-based data storage is a boon to remote workers who need to share files from a variety of non-office locations. Unfortunately, cloud file sharing can also bring with it a variety of security issues. Security for cloud storage often lags security for traditional on-premise networks. It’s more difficult to restrict file access in the cloud, and many cloud providers don’t adequately encrypt the data they store or data in transit.
Pitfalls to Avoid
When dealing with these and other cyber threat challenges, it’s easy to overlook issues that affect cyber security. Here are five common pitfalls your organization should seek to avoid.
Not Admitting Your Organization is a Target
If you think cyber criminals only target other, bigger organizations, you’re wrong. Ransomware and other unwanted events affect companies and organizations of all types and sizes; no organization is immune. Hoping that the bad guys ignore you isn’t a good defense. One unwanted cyber event can cost your organization hundreds of thousands of dollars and result in hours or days of costly downtime. You need to consider your organization a prime target and prepare accordingly.
Not Taking Cybersecurity Seriously
Even organizations that recognize the cyber threat don’t always take cybersecurity seriously. To properly guard against the burgeoning number of cyber threats, you need to properly staff your IT department, have an active cybersecurity team, and appropriately fund your cybersecurity efforts. It doesn’t matter how big your organization is, you need a detailed cybersecurity strategy – and the staff and budget to implement it.
Not Adequately Protecting Remote Workers
Given the increasing size of the remote workforce – and the increased security risk associated with remote workers – you need to pay particular attention to protecting your organization’s remote workers. These protections should include deploying a secure communications and collaboration solution, such as that offered by Wickr, and properly encrypting all remote activity.
Not Installing Security Patches
Malicious actors will exploit any vulnerabilities they encounter, so don’t make it easy for them by not keeping your software and firmware up-to-date. Install all security patches when issued to protect your digital assets – and make sure that all employee devices are promptly updated, as well.
Not Having an Incident Response Plan
Finally, many organizations make the mistake of not knowing what to do if they are victims of a data breach or ransomware attack. You need to create an incident response plan in advance that provides step-by-step instructions for responding to any unwanted cyber event. The failure to plan for such incidents will only make the situation worse if your organization is attacked.
Turn to Wickr to Protect Your Communications and Collaborations from Cyber Threats
It’s important that you protect your organization’s communications and collaborations from the growing number of cyber threats – especially those affecting remote workers. Wickr’s secure communications and collaboration platform uses end-to-end encryption and other military-grade security to protect all of your organization’s text, voice, and video communications from cyber criminals and other malicious actors. It’s the most effective way to deal with cyber threat challenges today.
Contact us today to learn more about secure communications and collaboration.