2020 was a year unlike any other. With the economy taking a hit because of a worldwide pandemic, businesses struggled to keep operations going, maintain steady cash flow, and keep employee morale high. On top of that, businesses had to ward off cybersecurity attacks. As the majority of workforces shifted to work from home arrangements to ensure business continuity, cybercriminals saw even more opportunities to wreak havoc.
Neither small startup businesses nor transnational corporations had been safe from cyberattacks last year. Even household names like Google, Nintendo, and EasyJet had had their data compromised, exposing the information of thousands of employees and clients. Per IBM, the average cost of a data breach in 2020 was a staggering $3.86 million, which reminds us that cybercriminals constantly pose a constant threat to corporate networks.
To better combat cyberattacks in the future, we must learn from past security incidents. Here are the top four lessons we’ve learned from last year’s biggest data breaches.
1. C-suite executives must spearhead cybersecurity programs
High-profile breaches were not uncommon in 2020. Cybercriminals were not deterred by the status or size of a company: if they saw an opportunity, they grabbed it with both hands. Cybersecurity must therefore be a top priority when it comes to budget and policy, with top management driving change, as they have the most power to affect change within the company. Top decision-makers have to be more involved with cybersecurity and implement practices from the top down to show that the organization is serious about data security.
2. Training your workforce is a must
In 2020, cybercriminals weaponized the pandemic to exploit every weak link they could find. They sent COVID-19-themed phishing emails to millions of addresses, hoping that unwitting users would click on malicious links. We also saw some sophisticated phishing schemes last year, including one that embedded ransomware in a fake mandatory health survey targeting the staff of a university in Canada.
Not only is the number of phishing attacks going up — the number of points in the system that a cybercriminal can attack is also increasing, partly due to the widespread adoption of remote work setups. More than ever, employees play a critical role in safeguarding data.
Train your workforce to spot phishing scams, set strong passwords, and have good cyber hygiene, as one mistake is all it takes to let a cybercriminal in.
3. Regularly test your backup and disaster recovery plan
Having a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) plan enables you to quickly and effectively mitigate the consequences of a cyberattack. Whether your data is compromised because of virus infections, system failures, natural causes, or human error, a perfectly working BDR plan allows you to restore servers and files to their state before the breach.
However, even something theoretically infallible can fail in real-life scenarios. If your BDR strategy’s capabilities against attacks aren’t tested, there is no way to determine if your processes will work when the next cyberattack hits. Cybersecurity is an ongoing process, but almost 30% of businesses fail to develop and reinforce their BDR plans.
Don’t be complacent. Apart from conducting an annual complete BDR test, run spot checks on IT systems and essential technology to see if they’re running as they should.
4. Partner with experts
The biggest data breaches of 2020 reaffirmed what we already know: that the landscape of cybersecurity is in constant flux, with new vulnerabilities discovered every day. It is crucial that businesses invest in solutions and services that can keep up with increasing, evolving threats.
Partnering with a managed IT services provider like Midwest Data Center can help. A business technology expert, Midwest can analyze your current infrastructure and processes to discover pain points and determine the necessary solutions for comprehensive cybersecurity implementation. We also assign a dedicated cybersecurity expert to monitor your network, giving your business an added layer of security from cybercriminals who can misuse your data and destroy your reputation.
If you want robust IT security and proactive technology management and maintenance, call us at 855-900-DATA or send us a message today.