Cyber Security: if you are not knowledgeable, can be a stressful and confusing world to venture into. Whilst it is a crucial part of any business, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding cyber security that often discourages a business from taking the necessary steps to keep safe online. These myths are dangerous in themselves, as if somebody has decided not to bother with cyber security because of something untrue they had heard; they are leaving themselves more exposed, making it easier for hackers to target their business.
For example, some business owners believe installing security software will bog down their computers and slow them down to the point where they don’t run efficiently. This is not true. If all of the security tools have been implemented and installed correctly, then there is no reason why a computer’s productivity would be affected in any way. Business owners often do not bother with cyber security because there is a misconception that Apple products are immune to all viruses and hacking. This is objectively untrue and a widespread myth that can cause a lot of harm if blindly believed.
A lot of the time, business owners can be discouraged because they believe that cyber security will cost them too much money. Whilst high-quality cyber security will undoubtedly cost a business money, it is a preventative measure that saves money in the long run and prevents the business from being put in jeopardy when something goes seriously wrong (like a data breach, for example). Capita estimates that the average cost of a data breach is around $3.86 million. This includes detecting and escalating a breach, notifying those affected and the regulatory authorities, paying fines and legal fees, repercussions of the reputational damage caused, and other costs that fixing the issue incurs.
Upon hearing this, some people might reply: ‘I have a password – is that not enough?’. Having a strong password is a necessity, but unfortunately, it isn’t strong enough on its own to keep your information safe. Multi-Factor Authentication is a quick and simple way to add another level of security. Most people will have seen this when signing in to their email on a new device; it requires users to authenticate themselves via a second method, such as their phone or an app like Google Authenticator. MFA means that even in the worst-case scenario where hackers do manage to get hold of usernames and passwords, they still won’t be able to log in without the ‘second factor’. This is something that all employees can implement, as contrary to popular belief, it is not solely down to the IT department to keep the business safe online.
Nowadays, without the correct security software in place, a business can be hacked or breached without even realising it. There used to be some easy signs, like pop-up ads or slow-loading browsers, but it is in a hacker’s best interest to remain unnoticed for as long as possible. The longer they can access your systems, the more data they can steal. Data breaches often come from within the business itself (research suggests up to 75%), so it is more important than ever for employees to be clued up on security protocols to avoid a potentially fatal error. It is also crucial to train staff on how to spot phishing. People think all phishing and email scams are blatant, silly, and easy to spot (‘This is the FBI, pay me $300 in Amazon vouchers, or you’re going to prison!’), but this is not always the case. It is often so well hidden within emails, through external links, that anyone could fall victim to it.
Another myth people seem to believe is that you can only be hacked on a computer. This is not true, and viruses and hackers can infiltrate a wide variety of devices – such as smart TVs, phones, and Wi-Fi routers.
To ensure you are cyber-safe: reach out to our team at Magnetar IT.
Date: April 17, 2023