Only 50% of American businesses have a cybersecurity plan in place, despite the fact that cybercrime has cost them almost $7 billion in 2021.
A cybersecurity benchmarking study was just completed by ThoughtLab, leadership and economic research firm. The study, Cybersecurity Solutions for a Riskier World, examined cybersecurity strategies in 1,200 large organizations from 16 countries.
The study found that material breaches increased by 20.5% between 2020 and 2021 and that those breaches directly caused an increase in cybersecurity budgets. With 29% of CEOs and 40% of chief security officers admitting that their organizations are still not ready for a significant cyberattack, increased budgets do not always equate to increased preparedness. Their motivations differed:
- 44% mentioned supply chain issues.
- 41% mentioned the rapid pace of digital innovation.
- 28% cited insufficient cybersecurity budgets and a lack of support from top management.
- 24% reported a shortage of cybersecurity talent.
How do these facts affect your company? Remember that CPA firms may be responsible for any data breaches that affect the personal information of their clients in some states. Even if you are not legally liable, a cybercrime committed against your company will have a direct impact on both your current client list and those searching to hire you for services.
Though cybercrime threats vary, ransomware and phishing are currently considered the two top threats to businesses across the country. Read on if you’re not sure what ransomware and phishing are or how they can affect your business.
Malware and ransomware
Ransomware is a common type of malware that infiltrates your computer system and encrypts your files, rendering the system until a ransom is paid. If the ransom is paid an encryption key is received which allows access to the files again.
In many cases, businesses have had to pay a ransom in order to gain access to their files. Unfortunately, paying the ransom does not guarantee that the hackers will release the files.
Phishing attempts in the past were clumsy and simple to spot. That is no longer the case, with counterfeit communications becoming increasingly difficult to detect. Every day, over 150 million phishing emails are sent.
Typically, phishing emails use a request that appears to be coming from a reputable organization, like a bank or government agency, to trick victims into giving their personal information. A link that directs you to the hacker’s website, where your private information can be easily compromised, is always included in the first email or text you receive from a contact. It can be challenging to verify the authenticity of an email or text due to the level of technology hackers have access to.
One method for determining the credibility of a link is to hover your mouse over it. This will show you the clickable link and enable you to see where it will take you.
Of course, the best way to avoid phishing is to not follow the link that is sent to you until it has been verified. It’s also critical not to respond to any email or text that asks for confidential info or a password.
Whether your company is small or has offices all over the world, it is vulnerable to cyberattacks. Taking the necessary precautions will help to keep your company and its client data safe.
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