Cyber threats are evolving at an alarming pace, especially with wider access and proficiency with AI tools. As you plan budgets for next year, it is critical to approach cybersecurity as a business strategy. The consequences of insufficient cybersecurity are no longer merely financial, but also encompass the very survival and reputation of your organization. Here are a few thoughts to consider on why you need to increase your cybersecurity budget in 2024.
No business is too small. Hackers love that small business owners think this way because it makes them an easy target. Whether you’re included as a quantity, not quality approach or just a stepping stone for bad actors to learn on their way to larger targets, if you have money or data of any size or amount, you are at risk.
Your employees are putting you at risk. They are not likely doing it on purpose, but human error is the #1 issue with cybercrime. Whether it’s a bad link that is clicked or a malicious attachment that is downloaded, these small “accidents” can create huge problems for your business. Providing security awareness training and creating a culture of the importance of cyber attack awareness are two of the most important strategies to reduce your organization’s risk.
Software needs to be updated when you’re notified about it. This is true for your web browsers too. If you get a notification about an available update, it often means that a bug or a vulnerability needs to be patched. Software and hardware providers are constantly responding to attack trends to make their products more secure and pushing critical updates to you as quickly as they can. If you don’t patch it, that’s a little hole in your network that hackers can and will find. Your IT team needs to have the resources and urgency to ensure automatic updates or to manually update if necessary.
Back up your data. Disasters happen, whether natural, like a tornado or flood wiping out your office, or a cybercriminal locking down your network and ransoming you to return it. Having a tested and recent backup will allow you to reduce downtime and further damage to your business.
Use a VPN when working outside of the office. If you’re on vacation, working while traveling, or even working at the local coffee shop, connecting to public WiFi can put you at risk. Hackers can break into unsecured WiFi or set up fake ones, hoping you will connect to them. Make sure to provide and inform your employees on a secure VPN (virtual private network) to keep your network safe from bad actors when you need to work outside of your office connection.
Data breaches are expensive. The cost of data breaches puts most small companies that get hacked out of business within six months. These can range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the damage done. You need to make sure your business has a strong security posture and deploys all applicable preventions.
Having cyber insurance doesn’t mean you’re covered if you’re hacked. If you’re hacked, cyber insurance doesn’t automatically cover you. Insurance agents will check to make sure you’ve done everything in your power to prevent the attack. If you haven’t, your claim can be denied. Make sure you understand and are closely following any conditions of your cyber insurance policy to ensure coverage if something does go wrong.
Compliance doesn’t mean you’re secure. Being compliant means you are fulfilling all the requirements that the government has issued. This does not mean you are 100% secure; it means you have implemented the basics. Consult with a cyber security professional who deals with clients in your industry to make sure that you’re not only compliant but that you have the proper security systems in place to protect your organization.
Basic antivirus and firewalls are not enough. These are helpful, but they aren’t enough to keep you secure. Hackers are routinely finding ways to break through this software, so if you’re not implementing other security measures, you’re at risk. There are next-generation solutions that are not as expensive as you think and will cost you WAY less if you ever become a victim of a data breach.
Take your cyber security seriously in 2024. Do you have the resources and solutions to manage the above measures and circumstances? What is your current security posture? If you’re not sure where to start, take advantage of our FREE, no-obligation Security Assessment. At the very least, you will have a second, expert opinion to assess if and where you’re vulnerable to an attack. Get started.