Not so long ago, IT security was just something that only techies worried about. Business owners and leaders viewed IT security as part of the overall responsibility of the IT department. As a matter of fact, most people through as long as you have an antivirus package, firewalls and encryption tools all was okay and they could focus on the other “key” aspects of the business.

No doubt, this has turned out to be a rather misinformed way of looking at IT security. So, why has IT security become important all of a sudden? Well, it is now common knowledge that hacks and data breaches regularly affect businesses of all sizes.

A report filed by Forbes shows that hackers and cybercrime is the most devastating threat to small and medium businesses. Another report on Forbes indicates that the global cost of cybercrime is expected to hit $6 trillion by 2021. As a business owner, that should definitely catch your attention.

So, what has changed in IT security?

A lot has changed in the last decade or so. However, it is hard to overstate the technological development we have witnessed over the last couple of years. A prime example is that the average broadband speeds have increased by over 500% in the last decade.

This has allowed more business to move part or all of their operations online to take full advantage of this development. Things such as online document sharing, universally accessible databases and emails available on every device are now commonplace. Most recently, cloud services are now taking over everything.

With all the benefits that these technological developments bring, they have also given rise to cybercrime. The possibilities and potential rewards for hackers have increased exponentially. From a malicious techie launching ransomware to make a living to organised gangs targeting industries, the risks permeate every sector of the society. The number of cases involving potential IT security breaches is endless, touching all on sizes of businesses.

If you are one of the few people yet to experience a data or network breach, the fact that these attacks seem to be on the rise should keep you up at night. If that doesn’t get to you, consider the average cost of recovering from a cyber-attack which is estimated at $5 million.

While these figures might seem exorbitant to most small and medium businesses, they are proportional. A bill of $50,000 has the potential to completely put a small or medium business out of business. A widely quoted statistic shows that 60% of all small businesses that undergo a major IT security breach incident go out of business shortly after the attack.

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What’s next for Your Business?

We are now on the same that IT security is absolutely important. Also, although there is a reason to worry, you can stand up to the threat. So what can you do to protect your business from this surging threat? The following are some suggestions.

Stay Informed

One harsh reality you have to cope with is that your IT department are not fortune-tellers. It is not fair to expect them to know and mitigate every IT security risk. This is because most cybersecurity threats originate from user errors, social engineering, web browser exploits and other things that your technical team cannot comprehensively predict. The solution is to make IT security a concern for every employee in your business.

Sensitize your employees on the reality of cybercrime. Aspects such as avoiding clicking on suspicious links and maintaining secure passwords should be a personal responsibility of every employee. Hackers are not magicians, they only exploit naivety, recklessness and failure to follow mainstream advice.

Invest in IT Security

It is time to do more than just an antivirus package. Although it is important to have an antivirus, it is not enough protection against modern threats. Your team need more resources, tools and solutions. Even though they might be expensive, they do not compare to the cost of a cyber-attack.

Get Insured

Cybersecurity insurance is a booming market and a solution that all businesses need to consider. This service gives your business protection against financial risk. Other than that, it gives you access to technical experts such as damage limitation specialists that would be useful if your business is hit by a data breach.

Take Keen Notice of Your Data Flow

As noted above, a data breach can emanate from something as innocuous as an employee leaving an unencrypted personal device holding sensitive company information in public by mistake. Legislation passed recently, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) motivates business to examine possible weak spots that could lead to a breach, expose data or make it easier for hackers.

Invest in Data Backup, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans

Having a backup is a golden ticket against all forms of ransomware. Although such an attack will cause some annoyance and disruption, if you have a backup, you do not need to pay the hackers any money. Such basic and otherwise obvious precautions will save you a fortune. This extends to having proper, up to date business continuity and disaster recovery plans.

Why is cyber security-critical in 2019? Hopefully, this answers the question. And even though projections show that IT security breaches will continue to grow and evolve, you now know that you can stand up to this onslaught through the several pointers listed above.

Another solution is to make use of a trusted IT services provider. At Our IT Department, we are a highly accredited IT solutions firm with 20 years’ experience in offering cutting edge IT solutions that streamline businesses, secure their IT assets and spur them to increased growth. Subscribe to our newsletter to learn more about how you can protect your business.

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