Cyber Attacks: A Growing Threat to Brand Reputation

The growing number of cyber attacks each year are appalling. In 2015 alone, companies saw an average of 160 cyber attacks every week, which was more than three times the average in 2010 of 50 per week.

In order to establish a successful brand for your business, you must take the time to build customer trust and loyalty, increase brand awareness, and boost performance. But with even just one data breach or cyber attack, all of your efforts could get flushed down the drain in the blink of an eye.

Last year, some of the nation’s most respected brands were the targets of cyber attacks. Big businesses that were hit include Premera Blue Cross, Anthem, Sony Pictures, Staples, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase, Target, Michaels, and many more. But small to midsize businesses (SMBs) should be just as concerned about cyber security as large enterprises. Research shows that 81% of SMBs are currently concerned about cyber security, and 91% think about it often.

If your business is unprepared for the consequences of cyber attacks, you’re tasked with the near impossible challenge of rebuilding customer trust, loyalty, and revenue. To achieve success, businesses must provide each of their clients with dependable services and create a  brand that can be trusted. When a cyber attack hits your business, there are several negative outcomes that can arise, such as increased downtime, loss of company assets, or the leak of sensitive customer information and data. These consequences all add up to a tarnished reputation – something that can significantly lower the net worth of your entire company and increase your risk of going out of business permanently!

So how can you shield your business against this new age of “brand terrorism”? In the past, businesses kept hackers out with basic security measures like firewalls, intrusion detection, and antivirus software. Yet in this day and age, employee mistakes have grown to be a huge concern. In fact, research shows that human error is attributed to 95% of all data breaches. Simple mistakes such as using weak passwords or opening virus-contaminated emails (known as phishing) occur often. Other commonly carried out mistakes include sharing corporate data outside of the company or forgetting to delete sensitive data – leaving it vulnerable to costly and damaging data leaks.

The best defense against cyber attacks and data breaches may be to thoroughly train your employees to prevent carelessness and negligence. It’s crucial to spread the message on the importance of confidentiality and implement data protection technology and solutions to keep your company data safe. Employ multi-factor authentication (MFA) and encryption solutions, which could drastically reduce the incidence of online identity theft and other types of online fraud.

Here at G6 Communications, we make it our mission to keep your company data safe from lethal hackers and cyber attacks. For more information, please contact us for a free consultation!

Fending Off a Cyber Attack: The Five-Point Plan

A cyber attack can occur at any point in time and could lead to your company’s demise. That’s why it’s especially important to have a comprehensive IT security framework in place to keep your digital assets locked up and guarded. Your mission-critical data is the heart of your operations – without it, employees can’t carry out their duties and be productive, which means your company can’t thrive.

A good way to kickstart your cyber security plan is with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity. Since releasing the framework last year, NIST has been educating a broad audience – organizations ranging from multinationals to SMBs – about the use and value of a strong IT security framework.

The bottom line of the framework addresses five basic functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover.

1. Identify and Prioritize Your Assets

This first step is crucial to carry out. By giving priority to your most valuable assets and identifying which are more vulnerable to a cyber attack, you know which parts of your infrastructure need greater protection. There are two major things to consider when ranking your assets: probability of attack (POA) and consequence of breach (COB). Understanding these key elements will help you begin optimizing your IT security.

2. Protect Your Data

Protection means preventing intruders from breaking in and getting past your front door. By designing and deploying appropriate IT safeguards, your business can deflect cyber criminals from accessing your network. Investing in high-quality backup software and data recovery services helps ensure business continuity and also cushions the impact of a cyber attack.

3. Detect Cyber Criminals

Detection is key when it comes to recognizing potential threats and intruders. By implementing the right IT solutions to identify the occurrence of a cyber attack, you’re able to intensify your IT security framework and prevent the same type of cyber attack from striking again.

4. Respond to Risks

Once someone breaks in, you need to know what steps to take to fight off the attacker. Having a plan that defines how you respond to cyber attacks makes the whole event less scary and more manageable. The response function is highly action-centered and forces you to strategize against intruders. After the breach, you also need to analyze and understand why your protection failed you and how you can optimize your security infrastructure for the future.

5. Recover Your Business

Recovery is essential for your business to get up and running after a cyber attack. By making your IT infrastructure resilient to hackers, you need to implement disaster recovery solutions that save your precious data.

To learn how you can ensure the best business continuity and IT security plan for your company, contact G6 Communications for a free consultation!