Following on from the NHS WannaCry attack in mid-May 2017, the awareness of Cyber crime has been escalating, with business owners and individuals alike showing a keen interest in understanding how they can combat the risk of Cyber crime and prevent their organisation going through a similar breach of security.
Although Cyber crime certainly isn’t a new concept, it is on the rise. Because these hackers are skilled in their approach, it is highly unlikely this problem will be resolved anytime soon, if ever, as we move further into a digital-only era.
After all, it only takes one person to open a spam link on what looks like a genuine email, for everything in your business to come tumbling down.
Are you prepared to take the risk?
Cyber crime is a constant battle between Cyber criminals and the software developers who design and manufacture IT security software.
Whilst the IT security strategists are continually finding solutions, it is still frequent that that the hackers win.
Hackers are professional at finding weak points to manipulate. For them the bigger companies are generally more lucrative as the ransom they demand can be higher, however realistically any data holds some value on the dark web, so no business is immune.
Businesses are starting to recognise the importance of Cyber security
A telephone survey of over 1500 business owners, conducted as part of the National Cyber Security Programme showed interesting results:
- The number of businesses with a website had increased from 2016 to 2017 by 8%, meaning now 85% of businesses have a website
- The number of businesses with a social media page, or pages, had increased in the same period by 9%, meaning 59% now had some social presence
- The use of cloud services had increased from 49% to 59% – a big factor in cyber security 61% of businesses are reported to hold their customer’s personal data, electronically – possibly the most relevant fact
- 46% reported at least one security breach in the 12 months leading to February 2017, rising to 66% for medium sized firms and 68% for large firms
- The risk of attack increased for businesses holding personal data, from 46% to 51%, showing that personal data is what Cyber criminals favour
Of those surveyed:
- 74% said that Cyber security is of high priority
- 31% said it is very high priority
- 7% said it was low priority, down from 13% in 2016
Avoidance and prevention – is this possible?
Out-of-date security software in the NHS has been blamed for the hackers success regarding the WannaCry breach.
Does that mean that the attack could have been avoided if their systems were maintained to a higher standard?
It is possible, although when weighing everything up, the NHS were not the only organisation targeted. Countless other companies, with supposed robust security systems, also fell victim.
It isn’t wise to think that your business, however big or small, could completely avoid an attack simply by following best practice.
There are measures you can take to, as best as possible, protect your valuable patient data.
1) Are your security systems robust?
2) Are your security systems up to date?
3) Is someone in your business responsible for Cyber security?
4) Are you focusing on Cyber training for your staff to educate your team on the risks of Cyber crime and things to watch out for?
The number of business owners that are protecting themselves with Cyber insurance has escalated significantly in the past few months.
Most business insurances only cover an element of costs relating to Cyber crime, often not enough to support having to make any compensation payments to patients, customers or suppliers in the event of a breach.
This is why it is vital to check your policy and speak with a specialist insurance broker about your options, to ensure you have adequate cover.