Small businesses are at the heart of Mississauga’s local economy. In 2019, around 93,254 small businesses operated in Mississauga. This number represents 99% of the city’s business community.
Some reasons why most small businesses thrive in Mississauga include:
- The city ranks first in the world for macroeconomic stability.
- It is considered the second-best place in the world to establish a global headquarter.
- It is the third-best place in the world to start a new business.
It’s no secret that businesses, whether small or big, need to leverage advanced technologies to foster innovation and gain a competitive edge. While the increased use of smart technology has its benefits, it also exposes businesses to a variety of formidable risks. This has necessitated the implementation of organization-wide IT security measures.
Working with an experienced IT company can go a long way in helping businesses defend themselves against cyberattacks.
Let’s check out some cybersecurity threats that businesses commonly face and should be prepared for.
Common Cybersecurity Threats Faced by Businesses
Phishing attacks are usually carried out via emails or text messages. The perpetrator pretends to be someone you can trust. This might be someone from your office or your bank or even a respectable brand. In short, the email address they use has a familiar name, but it is slightly altered.
Phishing emails contain malicious links or attachments. The email content is designed to persuade you to click on the link to access a website, log into your account with your secret credentials, or enter your sensitive information (such as credit card number or bank account details). Once the hacker has procured this information, they can misuse it in any way they like.
While ransomware has been around for several years now, awareness about this type of cyber threat is negligible. This is a shame because even a single ransomware attack can cause businesses to part with millions of dollars in ransom payments - or even shut down completely. Ransomware has evolved over time, making it easy for hackers to exploit loopholes in business IT networks and infiltrate them.
McAfee expects “criminals to exploit their extortion victims even more moving forward.” In fact, it has become easier for cybercriminals to get their hands on ransomware kits on the dark web. This should be a wake-up call for every business that underestimates the impact of a ransomware attack.
Cloud jacking refers to a practice where cloud computing systems are intruded by a third party. Once the attackers breach your IT security and access your company cloud, they can reconfigure its code to reveal or steal sensitive data, indulge in corporate espionage, and eventually take complete control of the cloud.
This type of attack can make your employees inadvertently grant cybercriminals greater access to your sensitive business data, and even transfer company funds into fake accounts.
Unsecured Networks and Endpoints
Most businesses usually take the steps necessary to secure their overall IT infrastructure as well as the computers, laptops, servers, databases, phones, tablets, and other devices connected to it. However, the majority of remote work environments lack the robust IT security measures that are implemented at workplaces.
Employees who work remotely can, therefore, be at great risk from insufficiently secured network perimeter and endpoints.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has spiked the remote workforce, it has become easier for hackers to take advantage of potentially compromised IT security. This puts your business at a huge risk.
Exposed Internet of Things Devices
Internet of Things (IoT) devices is being increasingly used in business environments. These include smart locks, smart lights, smart thermostats, connected security cameras, voice assistants, among others.
With more company data passing through these devices on a daily basis, they have become a prime target for hackers. It has, therefore, become critical to secure them.
Findings suggest that “More than 34% of businesses around the globe are affected by insider threats yearly.”
In fact, “55% of organizations identify privileged users as their greatest insider threat risk.”
Given the lack of awareness of the cybersecurity landscape among employees, it is highly likely that your current or ex-employees may knowingly or unknowingly end up harming your business. With more employees working remotely, the risk of insider threats has increased exponentially, necessitating extra precautions.
How Your Business Can Manage IT Security Risks
We want to discuss a few helpful tips on minimizing cybersecurity threats and risks. While you can implement some of these measures yourself, you will do well to partner with a reliable Mississauga IT security company to ensure a thorough job.
By taking this simple step, you can rest assured that your overall IT environment is in good hands.
Familiarize Yourself with Potential IT Security Risks
To defend yourself against IT security risks, start by identifying exactly what you need to protect. Make a list of all your company’s digital assets, including your organization’s data and intellectual property.
Next, identify all potential external as well as internal threats. External risks can include ransomware attacks and hacking, while internal risks could mean accidental file deletion, malicious employees, and so on. Figure out the likelihood of the occurrence of each risk. You can then determine the financial, reputational, and other types of impact in case your assets were to get damaged or stolen.
Once these factors have been identified, evaluate the threats that can cripple your existing assets and security controls to identify specific risks.
If this seems overwhelming to you, don’t hesitate to seek assistance from an IT security services provider for an accurate assessment. You don’t want to end up erring in this matter.
Formulate a Robust Strategy
Once you’ve conducted a thorough assessment of the potential risks your business can face, you need to take prompt action and create a risk management strategy.
Make a clear plan that details how your business will prepare for, identify, and respond to threats. While you may not be able to anticipate every threat, having a robust plan can help you mitigate a considerable amount of risk.
Your plan should include the policies and processes for risk mitigation. It must emphasize the importance of managing IT security risks to your business partners, customers, and employees.
Further, the plan needs to clearly state acceptable behaviors through a predetermined code of conduct, which explains to employees how they should manage cybersecurity risks.
Train Your Employees
Successful businesses adopt a proactive approach to IT security risk management. All employees should be trained to support the organization’s risk management processes. After all, cybersecurity is never about one person, but a joint effort.
It is crucial that all your employees are well-versed with your risk management strategy and understand its relevance. To ensure this, provide them with comprehensive training in this regard at the time of onboarding them. Your current employees should also be provided regular training, regardless of their location.
You can always engage a Mississauga IT security company to this end. They will design a training program that instills a sense of accountability among your employees to garner more IT support for your risk management initiatives.
Test Your Strategy
With a constantly evolving cyberthreat landscape, cyberattacks are proving to be more lethal for businesses. To prevent them from occurring in the first place, you need to conduct regular risk assessments to identify your changing/new strengths and weaknesses.
You can launch a simulated cyber incident to gauge your overall cybersecurity strategy. Figure out:
- If your business can detect when and how it is being threatened
- Whether your company can withstand the attack
- The extent to which your IT infrastructure can be compromised
Testing your cybersecurity plan will help you understand how your business will fare in the event of a security breach. You can then update your strategy based on the discoveries. Working with an experienced IT security company can prove to be immensely helpful here.
Automate Your IT Security Defenses
Cybercriminals use increasingly sophisticated tools to carry out their attacks. You, therefore, need to move beyond manual or outdated defense methods. Automation is the way forward, and you need to incorporate it into your cybersecurity strategy to identify anomalies, as well as prevent/respond to attacks.
Continuous monitoring of your IT infrastructure will allow you to intercept threats before they can cause any harm. Automatic detection and remediation tools can be leveraged to this end.
An IT security company will be able to provide you with the expertise needed to automate and optimize your cybersecurity defenses including IT consulting services.
Stress on the Importance of Speed
An immediate response is a must in the event of a cyberattack or data breach. After all, the longer it takes to respond to a threat, the more damage is caused.
A prompt response should be a part of your IT security policies and company culture. This involves the early recognition of potential risks, swift identification of breaches and attacks, and speedy response to security incidents and events.
Emphasize Cyber Hygiene
Good cyber hygiene comes from daily practices and behaviors that contribute towards strengthening your business’s cyber health. It begins with educating all your organization’s stakeholders about cybercrime scenarios and the available mitigation strategies.
Bear in mind that these practices and behaviors will eventually shape the security-related processes in your company. They will be more effective when the people performing them know exactly what they are doing and why.
Facilitating cyber hygiene in your organization will need you to invest considerable time and money into educating your team, but it will be well worth it.
With cybercrimes continuing to evolve rapidly, managing your business’s cybersecurity now requires constant work. Fortifying your IT security means taking proactive steps to stay a step ahead of cybercriminals. The most effective way to get started is by identifying, prioritizing, and mitigating each threat.
A Mississauga IT security company can help your business build on its strengths and plug weaknesses, keeping it protected. They will also arm your IT infrastructure with an added layer of security while empowering you to anticipate threats and minimize damage.
What is IT security and how will implement it in your business in Mississauga benefit you? Let's find out together.