What Cybersecurity Risks do Online Businesses Face?
The 21st century has moulded modern society as we know it.
Humanity’s first steps towards a mechanised, automated, and digitalised society started gathering speed after the Industrial Revolutions of the mid-1800s.
The post-1800s would see a boom in everything from industrial machines, aviation, the automobile, to even the incandescent light bulb that we take for granted.
Soon after, we would create silicon chips and computing, which would fundamentally change society.
This was all in preparation for the internet-enabled interactive world that we live in today.
It is a natural evolution, but it comes with several caveats.
The technology that we have today, mainly access and communicate over the internet, carries several cybersecurity risks that most people, even in 2021, do not pay attention to.
With great power comes great responsibility, which is why we need to understand how to control our cybersecurity while using the fantastic internet tool and understand how vital cybersecurity best practices are for an online business’s survival.
There is no need to state how crucial the internet is for almost all business operations today when it comes to the business world.
Most businesses have digitally transformed to keep up with business trends, or at the very least, the minority who haven’t are planning to leap.
Understand what risks your business could face if you don’t take precautions, and you will avoid a host of cyber-risks and cyber-threats that happen to millions of organisations all over the world daily.
Let’s take a look at why this is such a pressing issue.
What Are The Cybersecurity Risks For Online Businesses?
Any business, organisation, or institution that relies on some technology for their daily activities will undoubtedly need an internet connection, as well as an internet presence today.
Without these facets, it is difficult for a brand to gain recognition or survive in today’s interconnected and interdependent business markets.
Even still, it is not just about marketing or having a presence but particularly protecting assets.
Every business has essential and sensitive assets, and these assets need to be protected at all times.
This could be financial assets, confidential corporate data, or simply sensitive personal data belonging to customers (most often a combination of all three.)
By protecting business assets appropriately, the result is that the customer is also protected.
Every year, the number of cybersecurity threats is increasing, which means that attacks and data breaches are on the rise, which is evermore reason for an online business to put cybersecurity first.
Below is a shortlist of the top cybersecurity risks that can spell disaster for an online business (in no particular order);
- Human error
The above are the three main general cybersecurity risks that an online business must focus its cybersecurity on.
To expand upon this list a little, let’s look at each of these points individually.
Human error is classified as an internal ‘threat’. This doesn’t mean that all employees are malicious, although some are.
An internal threat also means human mistakes that can become a real threat to the company.
This can be anything from an employee opening an infected email and infecting the company network to cases of disgruntled employees purposefully trying to sabotage the company.
Human error can also result in misconfigured vulnerable systems, which is also a significant threat on its own.
Cybercrime is an external threat. This means that a remote attacker or an attack group orchestrates an individual or mass attack on online organisations.
The most damaging cybercrime can come in the form of phishing campaigns, as well as ransomware campaigns.
There are even more cybercrime attacks worthy of mention, such as DDoS attacks and man-in-the-middle attacks.
On the other hand, cyber espionage is also a significant issue in the business industry.
Malware is something that is ubiquitous online and does not necessarily have to be directly orchestrated by cybercriminals.
You can download malware in an email, come with an ad, a downloaded file, or even an extension.
Malware can cause theft of corporate data, as well as personal customer information.
To best protect against the three main cybersecurity risks above, a business has to take several operational, technical, and training-oriented steps.
Furthermore, an online business must have a good cyber-insurance plan and a solid cyber-risk management plan.
How an Online Business Can Future-Proof Its Cybersecurity Posture
Organisations today are urged by laws, regulations, and compliance to raise cybersecurity awareness and technical readiness, and for a good reason.
Cybercrime and cybersecurity risks have caused trillions of dollars of damage annually, and people could have avoided a large portion of these financial losses with some cybersecurity best practices.
However, it is sometimes not as simple as that.
The world has only recently awoken to how damaging organised cybercrime can be, and public awareness about cybersecurity is thankfully on the rise due to numerous privacy scandals, mass data breaches, and even cyber crime events that have threatened national security in the not-so-distant past.
Let’s take a look at the top three confirmed criteria an online business needs to satisfy to improve its cybersecurity posture significantly;
- Training the workforce about internet best practices and cybersecurity hygiene
- Protecting assets by securing networks, applying backups, and monitoring threats
- Having Incident Response Plans, cyber-risk portfolios, and cyber-insurance prepared
It sounds simple enough, but in reality, these steps do require a substantial financial outlay and a hefty chunk of resources such as time and workforce.
Nevertheless, no matter how much it may cost to acquire equipment, pay for training and reprioritise cybersecurity risks, it is always more than worth it because, in the end, no business out there wants to have their hard-earned work compromised or their loyal customers put at risk.