Data security issues, continuous data breaches, and advanced cyber-criminal activity make it harder for businesses to stay updated with the latest strategy to keep their accounts and customer data protected.

We continue to see companies small or large being targeted by cybercriminals, according to Nexor, the UK experienced a 31% rise in cyber-attacks  during the height of the pandemic in May and June 2020.  

Cybercrimes from malware, insider threats, and stolen data to hacked systems will always be a threat so how can companies ensure they are prepared for security risks as technology and cyber criminals continue to advance? We take a look at the top 3 data security risks business are facing.

1)  Lack of resources to deter cyber threats

Hackers and companies are aware of issues concerning IT infrastructures and computer systems, but it is the responsibility of the business to ensure systems are guarded and secure from unauthorised access and that they are not vulnerable to cybercriminal threats through unsecure internal networks and software. 

A report in partnership with the office of cyber security and information assurance in the cabinet office, estimates the cost of cybercrime to the UK to be £27bn per annum

As the pressure for cyber professionals rises, panic in business also increases as there is a shortage of IT security professionals with skills in IT and cyber security. The ISC 2021 Cybersecurity Workforce Study states that the global cybersecurity skills shortage has fallen for the second consecutive year, but the size of the workforce is still 65% below what it needs to be. CEO, Clar Rosso at ISC shares her thoughts:

“Any increase in the global supply of cybersecurity professionals is encouraging, but let’s be realistic about what we still need and the urgency of the task before us…The study tells us where talent is needed most and that traditional hiring practices are insufficient. We must put people before technology, invest in their development, and embrace remote work as an opportunity. And perhaps most importantly, organizations must adopt meaningful diversity, equity, and inclusion practices to meet employee expectations and close the gap.”

UK government report published last year found that 48% of organisations lacked the expertise to complete routine cyber security practices, and 30% of organisations had skills gaps in more advanced areas, such as penetration testing, forensic analysis, and security architecture.

With a high demand for security professionals and a shortage in skills, could cyber criminals be a few steps ahead? 

Many businesses, especially most small businesses lack the capability and expertise to withstand a cyber security attack. Finding the right talent and investing in the skills can be a challenge, but there are consultants that specialise in working with various types of businesses that can add value and help place the right data protection strategies and provide businesses with the best tools and training.

Guard Wisely are independent data security specialists that are trusted by organisations to solve their biggest compliance, security, operations, and BAU challenges. They have delivered many successful security projects to a large variety of Enterprise Customers Globally and over 180,000 employees. 

2) Technology continues to accelerate 

The pandemic fast-forwarded the need for digitalisation, and the sudden change to remote working meant that more data was being shared across unsecure cloud environments, kept on networks and employee desktops. This meant an increased risk for businesses as they figured out how to maintain data security in a hybrid work environment.

We have seen that everything and everyone is connecting through the Internet, and wireless capabilities are bringing innovation to all areas of business and general life at unprecedented speed. 

With remote and hybrid working being a part of the future of work, data needs to be regularly monitored and controlled. Large enterprises need to manage their customers’ and employees’ data to remain compliant, to do this they need to understand where that data resides to secure it.  

Across the world, there are now nearly two billion internet users and over five billion mobile phone connections; every day, we send 294 billion emails and five billion SMS messages; every minute, we post 35 hours of video to YouTube, 3,000 photos to Flickr and nearly 35,000 ‘tweets’ according to this report .

Over 91 percent of UK businesses and 73 percent of UK households have internet access and £47.2 billion was spent online in the UK alone in 2009.

The issue arises for data security as the embedded operating system in any device is deployed in its firmware, and these operating systems are rarely designed with security as their prime focus. This means that many systems have flaws and vulnerabilities, which is a gateway for many hackers and cybercriminals. 

3) Weak passwords encourage cyber-attacks and “insider breaches” 

With so many passwords to remember for a variety of devices, sites, and networks, we will continue to see a security risk in passwords. In most cases, hackers do not find it difficult to figure out corporate passwords and, employee passwords tend to be easier to work out.  

Not only this, but once you know the password for a device, you’ll most likely be able to have access to other accounts. People tend to keep the same password across many of the accounts they hold, for the ease of remembering but this as much as we know it, is a security issue that needs to be addressed. 

Unsecure passwords could increase ‘insider’ breaches at the workplace. Organisations often overlook the threats residing inside their ecosystems which can have devastating effects. These companies, although they are aware of threats don’t usually have an insider threat program in place, and are therefore not prepared to prevent, detect, and respond to internal threats.

Having access to anyone’s computers or devices at work can mean that systems will be at a higher risk of attack from insider threats. Hackers are always looking for opportunities to steal passwords and break them into private and corporate accounts.

To minimise these risks, companies must evaluate and introduce measures to ensure access to certain files and folders is in place. They will have to make sure individuals have unique passwords to enter their computers so that other people cannot access or abuse computer activity. 

Tracking which files and folders are being used and accessed on individual machines will also be beneficial in a lot of cases. As a short-term fix, they can also ensure they turn on two-factor authentication (2FA), also known as multi-factor authentication where possible for important accounts, as a secondary method of authentication.

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