Of course the short answer to the above question is ‘nobody knows.’ This is what makes the world of cyber attack such an unnerving and difficult problem for those it could potentially impact. We don’t know for sure where the next problem will materialise but we can make some informed judgments based on what has gone before and the information out there about potential next threats.
Size doesn’t matter…
Small business are increasingly becoming a target for hackers and cyber criminals. While, previously, we saw big corporations being targeted, now the view is that every organisation has data that is valuable and that makes it a potential target. A Symantic Security Response report in 2012 identified a 300% increase in attacks on small businesses in the previous 12 months and this has continued to rise every year since.
…But your defences do
One of the reasons why there has been such a rise in attacks against small businesses is simply that they are easier to get into. Most SMEs have less of a security budget than a big corporation and fewer security measures in place – if hackers can get into the Pentagon they will have little trouble with an unprotected local business. However, while the losses may be smaller in numerical value for a smaller business, the impact can be much more devastating for a company without the resources to absorb the impact of the attack.
Security is a must, from the top down
For many businesses, security is left up to whoever deals with the IT and this makes them a great target. The process of identifying and protecting against threats must necessarily begin with an understanding of what the business’ assets are, what must be protected and what the potential vulnerabilities are. This is why security is a consideration for top level management, down – it’s a key part of strategy that will in theory impact on every area of the business if a cyber attack does happen.
It’s crucial to stay on top of developments
Cyber crime is one of the fastest evolving ‘industries’ and increasing your chances of avoiding attack depends on being on top of the latest threats. Currently, businesses face particular problems from ransomware, which can be used to lock you out of your own network, prevent updates and encrypt all essential data until a ‘ransom’ is paid. For 2016, mobile malware is also predicted to increase. It’s crucial to install security updates and keep an eye out for patches that are released for software when issues are discovered. The threat posed by employees is one that has to be carefully dealt with – a significant proportion of attacks originate from inside a business, whether intentionally or simply someone clicking on the wrong email link.