5 myths about cybersecurity every business should know

A sound cybersecurity solution is vital to all businesses that perform any of their operations digitally. This is true today more than ever before. With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UN reported a 600% increase in cybercrime across the world in 2020.

Unfortunately, forming a solid cybersecurity strategy for your business is far from easy. It requires a multitude of networking best practices, employee training and business-grade security software. To add to the complications, there are still many myths about cybersecurity that pervade the business world, which only empowers cybercriminals to focus on corporations more.

Here are five myths about cybersecurity you should be aware of if you're running a business.

1. Cybersecurity is the responsibility of the IT department.

Your IT department is a vital part of your cybersecurity efforts, but so are your employees. Workers need to know how to spot a phishing attack, for example. Your IT department is powerless against a sophisticated phishing attack in which an employee unknowingly gives up valuable information to a cybercriminal.

According to a 2021 IBM Cybersecurity Intelligence Index Report, "Human error was a major contributing cause in 95% of all data breaches." Human error can include not installing security updates promptly, unknowingly giving information to cybercriminals through phishing emails, or having weak passwords.

2. Sophisticated cybersecurity software is sufficient for preventing cyberattacks.

Even the most advanced cybersecurity software suite can't protect your business against every cyber threat. This type of cybersecurity solution needs to be one part of your plan, but it also needs to include the human element — which means training employees to recognize cyberattacks, and providing actionable steps that they can take in case of a breach. This might include taking your business completely offline as soon as you detect a cyber threat to minimize the amount of data lost. It's also important to notify the authorities so they can begin an investigation into the origins of the attack.

3. Small businesses are not at risk for cyberattacks.

You might think that because there's less to gain from small businesses over large corporations, cyberattackers would focus on large corporations. But this isn't the case. According to a study done by cloud security company Barracuda Networks and cited by Forbes, "a small business with less than 100 employees will experience 350% more social engineering attacks than an employee of a larger enterprise."

There are some relatively simple precautions your employees can take to prevent making your business a victim of cybercrime, such as using encryption software or two-step authentication.

4. Employees can't prevent ransomware attacks.

With proper training, employees can reduce their risk of becoming a victim of ransomware. There are also some best practices businesses can use to help their employees, such as:

  • Run drills and tests. The human element is the trickiest factor to control in cybersecurity, so running "what-if" scenarios can help keep employees knowledgeable and aware. Your business can try sending fake phishing emails to see whether your employees can spot the difference between a phishing email and a legitimate one, for example.
  • Keep access to sensitive information privileged. Keep information on a need-to-know basis as much as possible. Your employees shouldn't have access to data that isn't relevant to their position or that they don't need at any given time.
  • Keep all security software updated. Security updates happen all the time and it's important to stay on top of them. An update that's put off for too long can leave you vulnerable to threats. This is especially important if your employees work from home.
  • Block certain types of attachments. Malware software is often made up of certain file types such as .exe, .bat, .com, and .docx. If your employees don't open these types of attachments regularly, there's little reason to allow them to be opened at all.
  • Use email filtering. Limiting the addresses and emails that can get sent through your network can limit the number of unwanted and potentially malicious emails that reach your employees' inboxes.

5. A Wi-Fi network is secure if it has a strong password.

Strong passwords are important, but if a cybercriminal has enough time and resources, they can devote themselves to cracking any password, including the one that protects your Wi-Fi network. If a cybercriminal gains access to your network, they can intercept any and all data that is sent through it, potentially causing unspeakable amounts of damage and costing you very large amounts of time and money.

This is why a business Virtual Private Network (VPN) is ideal for maximum network security. A VPN creates a secure tunnel for your network connection, making your IP address untraceable and the data that goes through the VPN completely separate from your private network. When you connect to a VPN, you're connecting to a server that could be anywhere in the world so you're not even transmitting or receiving data through your own IP address.

A VPN also encrypts all data that goes through it. Even if a cybercriminal were to somehow get a hold of the data that's flowing through the network, it would be worthless to them.

Cybercrime may be on the rise, but so too are the tools you can use to combat it. By understanding some common myths about cybersecurity, you can better prepare your business for the threat that looms overhead.

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