What is Cybersecurity and why does it matter?
Cyber security refers to the tools and techniques applied to your data and your hardware (PCs, laptops and devices) which protect them from being infiltrated by third-party cyber criminals.
Threats can come in the form of hackers, viruses, theft or loss of hardware, malware, and ransomware. How these threats manifest themselves, and therefore affect businesses varies, depending on the nature of the threat.
- Loss of data – corporate, customer and client data is at risk of being lost.
- Loss of revenue – following an attack, your network, and therefore your business could be out of action for days, weeks or months severely affecting revenue.
- Identity theft – a large amount of personal data is stored which is enough to steal identities and use them for fraudulent or criminal activities. This could be your identity or those of your clients.
- Loss of company reputation – Imagine having to call your clients to explain their data, credit card details, address or medical details have been infiltrated. This would seriously affect your reputation.
By implementing an IT security infrastructure in your company, it is possible to reduce these threats and prevent third parties from infiltrating your systems, stealing your data, or extorting money out of your company.
Do companies need cyber security?
Everyone who uses a PC, laptop or electronic device to conduct business requires some level of cyber security; whether you are carrying out online banking, paying electronic invoices, storing clients’ medical files or other personal data.
Ask yourself the question. Would you leave your PC and all its data in public for anyone to see, and use as they will?
No? Then you need cybersecurity.
Official statistics released as part of the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2020 have shown that almost half of businesses (46%) and a quarter of charities (26%) have reported a cyber security breach or attack. These figures rise to (68%) among medium-sized businesses and (75%) for large businesses and high-income charities (57%).
However, cybersecurity doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Tools like malware and ransomware software, network firewalls, security logins, and multi-factor authentication are straightforward to implement and cost-effective but will protect your data from getting into the wrong hands.
Top Tip: Read our Guide on Malware and Ransomware here.
What are the types of cybersecurity?
There are five main types of cybersecurity.
In organisations that work on an internal network, security measures are required to protect against external and internal threats and unauthorised access. This can include extra logins, multi-factor authentication and monitored internet access.
These security tools are in the form of firewalls, antivirus programs and encryption programmes that run on specific software. They prevent third-party infiltration into your data.
With more and more business data being stored in the cloud, most cloud application providers implement cloud security tools to ensure that data is safer in the cloud than on in-house servers.
Top Tip: Read our Guide on Cloud Computing for more information
Critical Infrastructure Security
This is cyber security which affects critical infrastructure, and whilst not everyone works within these industries, we are all affected if there is an infiltration of the electricity grid, water purification, traffic lights, shopping centres or hospitals. For example, in 2017, the NHS was subject to a major data breach (Wannacry) due to outdated security systems. It affected nearly 10,000 patient records and cost the NHS £92m.
Internet of Things (IoT) Security
This applies to numerous physical systems like Wi-Fi routers, printers, Alexa, heating systems and security cameras – all of which are connected to the internet. These devices are becoming more popular as businesses and individuals want to streamline their lives, and therefore it is becoming more important that they cannot be infiltrated by cybercriminals.
Types of cyber attack
So, what can happen should you or your business be the victim of a cyber-attack? Cyber-attacks can come from external and internal sources and locating the source can be a major part of the solution.
Most cyber-attacks have the objective of:
- Stealing data.
- Extorting money.
- Disruption of hardware, software, or entire infrastructure.
Most of us come across cyber-threats on a daily basis, and hopefully, we simply ignore them.
This is in the form of:
- Phishing – Trying to obtain personal data through online communication (e.g. emails saying you have won the lottery, but you need to pay an admin fee).
- Vishing – Data collection via voice communication. One of the most recent vishing scams is calls about Track and Trace where there is a ‘fee’ for the test.
- Smishing – As more companies are legitimately communicating via SMS messaging so are the data thieves who are turning to this medium to gather personal data.
However, most cyber threats are a lot more sophisticated. For example, the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) will take your company network out of use, and the hackers will flood it with corrupt files, data and connections. This could potentially cost your business thousands of pounds in lost revenue.
Here at CIS, we take such threats seriously, and we have discussed the top 20 cyber threats of 2020 in a recent article.
At CIS IT security is a passion; we want to ensure your company’s data is safe by providing a variety of cyber security tools essential for your computer safety. If you would like to discuss anything to do with cybersecurity contact us today.