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Here’s how to invest in your business instead

When you think about cybersecurity protection for your business, does a specific cost come to mind? Depending on a company’s industry, its IT infrastructure, and its technology needs, that cost can range widely.

But the cost of insufficient cybersecurity can be high. Malware, ransomware, and other types of cyberattacks can inflict serious financial damage on a company. In its annual Cost of Cybercrime Study, Accenture and Ponemon Institute analyze the economic impact of cybercrime—and make it clear that long-term investments can unlock real value for businesses.

According to the study, a single ransomware attack can cost anywhere from $14,000 (for small businesses) to $646,000 (for bigger ones). A single malware attack? For some companies, it could cost upwards of $1.4 million. A single phishing attack? $1.6 million.

That data point played out in real time last week, when the parent company of nationwide chain Dunkin’ Donuts agreed to pay $650,000 in fines and costs to settle a New York lawsuit. That stemmed from ongoing cyberattacks between 2015-2018, which compromised the online accounts of more than 300,000 customers and stole usernames and passwords from the Dunkin’-branded Perks Loyalty customer program.

And that doesn’t even include the cost of technology upgrades and cybersecurity enhancements. For highly regulated industries like finance, legal, and health care, the cost of a data breach or cyberattack can be even higher. In 2019, the cost of health care-related breaches soared higher than any other sector, coming in at an average of $429 per individual patient record compromised.

So what can your business do to avoid some of these exorbitant costs and better plan future cybersecurity expenditures?

The good news is that forward-thinking data protection can go a long way toward keeping your business and its information safe. On top of that, future cybersecurity costs can be incorporated into a smart financial strategy that works for your business.

1. Invest in system monitoring.

When deployed properly, intrusion detection tools like network traffic analysis and SIEM/SOC can highlight cybersecurity vulnerabilities before hackers exploit them. Smart tracking of specific trends in the wider digital world can anticipate new types of attacks, while proactive protection can mitigate the loss of critical data. Working with a trusted IT partner can help you achieve these goals and build solid cyber defenses for your company.

2. Train your staff to understand email threats.

This is a crucial step for enhancing day-to-day cybersecurity. Educate your employees to look for phishing attempts and spam messages. Implement a more robust layer of monitoring, particularly for underutilized or unused accounts. This kind of security is crucial for overall cybersecurity protection. Many times, your employees can serve as an initial line of defense, identifying suspicious messages or spoofed domain names and marking them as junk to prevent an email-based infection before it starts. More powerful email monitoring tools rely on automated analysis to spot new phishing attempts and adjust rules accordingly.

3. Identify vulnerabilities on older devices or less-secure login protocols.

Still running legacy applications on outdated machines? Not using multi-factor authentication (MFA) on remote access accounts? This can lead to infection from viruses, malware, and ransomware, compromising your data and requiring extra layers of threat mitigation. Strong firewalls can help by detecting and preventing unauthorized access, while network security device logs can be monitored by a trusted IT partner to identify any irregularities. In today’s remote work environment, access to tools like remote desktop protocols (RDPs) and virtual private networks (VPNs) can also be implemented to keep employees safe no matter where they do their work.

4. Make sure security patches and software updates are deployed.

Many times, simply forgetting to install a critical software update can lead to significant cybersecurity problems. The infamous WannaCry ransomware attack exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft’s operating system—one that the company had issued a patch for but many computer users had failed to deploy. At CMIT Solutions, our proactive approach to IT security means that our clients receive these patches and updates automatically (and during off hours) so they won’t affect employee productivity.

5. Don't neglect data backups.

When it comes to ransomware prevention, one of the smartest strategies is sound data storage. Backing up your information regularly, remotely, and redundantly can mitigate the damage of any cyberattack, allowing you to restore your machines and your operating environment if a disaster strikes. Testing that backup and restoration plan is important, too. A trusted IT partner can ensure that all steps of the process are working properly— that way you won’t have to scramble in the event of a cyberattack.

6. Worried that you’ve been hacked?

If you suspect that you may be the victim of a cyberattack, immediately disconnect from Wi-Fi and/or unplug the ethernet cord that is hardwired to your Internet modem. This will isolate the incident so it does not spread throughout your network. Then, contact an IT provider immediately. Quick action can often mean the difference between a long-lasting disaster and one your business might recover from more quickly. With a business partner like CMIT Solutions on your side, you can prepare for and protect against any cybersecurity issue.

We defend your data, secure your network, and empower employees to work productively and efficiently, protecting against malware, ransomware, data breaches, and other cyberattacks. Most importantly, we help you plan your budget with long-term growth in mind while avoiding the exorbitant costs that stem from cybersecurity problems.

Want to understand the cybersecurity landscape better? Afraid your information has been compromised? Determined to keep your data safe? Contact CMIT Solutions today.

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