Over the past few years, we've seen a massive jump in cybercrime - both in quantity and effect. According to the most recent FBI Internet Crime Report, Americans reported over 850,000 online crimes, with losses in excess of $6.9 billion. Reports of cybercrime jumped 7% from 2020, which may may not seem like a lot at first glance.
However, it is a clear indication that cybercrime is growing steadily and becoming increasingly sophisticated, which is why it is so critical for businesses to adopt proactive cybersecurity measures.
Cyberthreats Facing Americans
According to the Cyber Security & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the usual targets for cybercriminals are:
- Personal information
- Financial data
- Intellectual property
- Health history
In addition, they often target industries like healthcare to access medical records and steal information for identity theft purposes. These malicious actors are also utilizing the following scams and schemes to steal your valuable information:
- Phishing Attacks
Proactive vs Reactive Cybersecurity
Let's take a look at the two approaches to cybersecurity that businesses ordinarily employ.
Reactive cybersecurity involves responding to threats only after they have occurred. While some may view reactive cybersecurity as cost-effective, only incurring costs when absolutely necessary, it can actually be much more costly and time-consuming, depending on the loss of data, productivity, and reputation.
On the flip side, proactive cybersecurity entails taking measures beforehand to make sure your network is secure and safe from malicious actors. This can include audits, security software, effective policies (updates, passwords, user access), firewalls, encryption, and many other measures.
All of these steps work to ensure that cybercriminals do not gain access or cause any damage to your systems.
The Benefits of Proactive Cybersecurity
Proactive cybersecurity offers several advantages that can be beneficial for your business.
- Protection - being proactive helps protect customer data and often ensures compliance with industry regulations who may even require certain measures to be taken
- Risk Reduction - preventative measures reduce the risk of attacks and data breaches, and minimize impact if they do occur.
- Cost Reduction - adopting this approach can also help reduce lost productivity due to employee downtime and fees paid out to cover damages and recovery
How Can Your Business Be Proactive?
We mentioned earlier a few ways that your business can invest in proactive cybersecurity, but let's flesh it out a little.
- System Audits - regularly reviewing your systems and policies help ensure that certain weaknesses haven't been overlooked or that you haven't failed to adjust your position after learning new information
- Educating Staff - training staff on cybersecurity protocols, procedures, and best practices is essential for a secure environment. Users are the largest attack surface in your organization, training will ensure that everyone knows how to spot suspicious activities and respond accordingly
- No Magic Bullet- stop looking for a single policy, piece of software, etc., to fix everything and approach security holistically - investing in things like a proper business firewall, multiple pieces of security software (not just free anti-virus), disk encryption, and multi-factor authentication so you have overlapping measures each covering a certain weakness and assisting with others
- Updating Systems - keeping software up to date adds features and eliminates vulnerabilities that could be exploited
Get your organization off to a strong start in 2023 by doing a deep dive to identify parts of your security approach that could use bolstering. By implementing additional proactive security measures now, you're sure to save your organization from many headaches and costly damages down the road.