How to Prevent Cyber Attacks from Impacting Your Business

5 min
Cybernetic Search

By Cybernetic Search

On average, cyber attacks happen every 39 seconds, equating to around 2,200 cyber threats each day. Cybercrime has grown in prominence in recent years as cybercriminals gain more sophisticated tactics while businesses become more vulnerable. With that said, how many companies know how to prevent cyber attacks? More importantly, do you know the cyber security methods for preventing cyber attacks?

It’s estimated that 46% of all cyber breaches impact companies with fewer than 1,000 employees, while 60% of SMEs that are affected by a cyber attack go out of business within six months. With these worrying stats potentially looming over your organisation, we wanted to give you some reassurance. 

In this guide, we will explore the common cyber security methods for preventing cyber attacks and provide you with five steps on how to implement cyber security into your business. By the end of this guide, you will have a deep understanding of how to prevent cyber attacks from impacting your business.

We will delve into the following:

  • Common cyber security methods for preventing cyber attacks
  • How to implement cyber security into your business
    1. Conduct regular cyber security risk assessments
    2. Control third-party risk
    3. Apply strong passwords and access controls
    4. Use up-to-date cyber security software
    5. Educate employees about cyber security risks

Common cyber security methods for preventing cyber attacks

We touched on how cybercrime has increased in our guide: why is cyber security important for your business? Thankfully, cyber security is fighting the rise in cybercrime in several ways. From encryption processes to intrusion detection systems and more, here are some ways cyber security can protect your business from the points surrounding cybercrime mentioned above. 

  • Encryption: Encryption is the process of converting data into a form that cannot be read without a special key, making it very difficult for unauthorised users to access the data, even if they are able to gain access to the system or network.
  • Access control: Access control restricts who can access certain data and can be implemented using passwords, biometrics, or other authentication methods.
  • Firewalls: Firewalls are devices that filter traffic between computer networks and can be used to block unwanted access to sensitive data.
  • Intrusion detection systems: Intrusion detection systems (IDSs) monitor computer networks for signs of unauthorised activity. If an IDS detects suspicious activity, it can alert administrators so that they can take action to prevent a security breach.
  • Data backups: Data backups are copies of important data that are stored in a secure location. In the event of a data breach, the backups can be used to restore the data.

Now you have an understanding of the most common cyber security methods for preventing cyber attacks; you’re probably wondering the steps you can take regarding how to prevent cyber attacks from impacting your business. Scroll to our next section to explore how to implement cyber security into your business.

How to implement cyber security into your business

When it comes to implementing cyber security into your business, there are several things you can do. From conducting regular cyber security risk assessments, controlling third-party risk, applying strong passwords and access controls, using up-to-date security software and educating the employees about cyber security risks, in this section, we will focus on five steps you can take.

1. Conduct regular cyber security risk assessments

The first step for implementing cyber security in your business is conducting regular cyber security risk assessments. A mere three in ten organisations have conducted a risk assessment over the last year. However, the seven other businesses do not realise that these risk assessments can help you determine your company's vulnerability to the different types of cyber attacks and identify gaps in your internal and external cyber security processes.

Here your cyber security consultant or expert within the IT security field can evaluate how and where the data of your employees, clients, customers and investors is stored, backed up and protected, as well as who has access to it. 

You should conduct a cyber security risk regularly, at least once a year, to help you realise the consequences of not having robust cyber security in place, ensure your cyber security strategy is up-to-date with the industry regulations and give your business the best chances of staying protected from breaches.

2. Control third-party risk

While you should pay significant attention to your internal cyber security measures, your business should also implement processes to control third-party risks. Only just over one in ten companies assess the risks posed by third-party suppliers. Third-party risks refer to the potential threats and dangers posed on your business by third-party suppliers, traders, vendors and other external partners associated with your organisation that have access to your systems and networks.

From your client data and your employee's sensitive information, you must put processes in place to ensure your third-party relations take due diligence when it comes to protecting your data. 

To control third-party cyber security risks, make sure you research external companies before you partner with them to ensure they take care of security. Then, once you've partnered with a third party, keep close communication with them to ensure they are always updating their procedures and keeping your data's security at the forefront.

3. Apply strong passwords and access controls

Earlier, we mentioned that weak passwords are among the most common cyber security risks facing businesses. Therefore, as part of your cyber security strategy, you should encourage your employees to create strong passwords while applying access controls to further protect your data. Here are some of the things you can do regarding the application of strong passwords and access controls.

Firstly, ensure your employees use complex and unique passwords for each account that contain at least 12 characters long and a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. You should also encourage your team to update their passwords regularly, never share them with others or include personal information with their passwords, and use a password manager to produce secure passwords.   

For context, these were the top five most common passwords used in 2022, as reported by NordPass:

  1. password
  2. 123456
  3. 123456789
  4. guest
  5. Qwerty

So if anyone in your business uses one of these five passwords, you should definitely put stronger, more secure passwords in place. 

Additionally, you should look to enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), otherwise known as Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). MFA and 2FA give your accounts an added layer of protection, whereby users are required to enter a unique code from another device, such as a phone, and provide a password when they log in.

4. Use up-to-date cyber security software

Another thing you should do when implementing cyber security into your business is to use up-to-date cyber security software. For example, to protect your company's various devices from cyber threats such as phishing and malware, select a reliable antivirus software that is widely recognised and used in your industry and ultimately limits the vulnerabilities of cyber attacks on your business. You could always speak to one of your third-party associates to see what software they use.

Similarly to performing regular risk assessments, when using software to support your cyber security efforts, be sure to update the software to further strengthen your defences against cybercrime. Cyber security is constantly evolving, so updating your software keeps you protected and ensures your business keeps up with the times. 

5. Educate employees about cyber security risks

Our final advice for implementing cyber security in your business is to ensure you educate your employees about the cyber security risks that could affect them, your clients and your business. 

The 2022 Global Risks Report produced by the World Economic Forum revealed that human error partially accounted for 95% of cyber security threats. Therefore, conducting regular cyber security training within your business is essential to ensure all your employees know the risks and how to avoid them. 

From being aware of what a phishing email looks like and how to create secure passwords, your training should become part of your company culture and onboarding process. By implementing training and updating your staff with cyber security knowledge when industry updates and changes in regulations occur, you can ensure your business is protected from cyber attacks as much as it possibly can be. 

The final word on how to prevent cyber attacks

Safeguarding your business from the ever-present threat of cyber attacks is paramount in today's digital age. This guide has covered common cybersecurity methods, emphasising the importance of encryption, access control, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and data backups. We’ve also explored the potentially devastating impact cyber threats can have on your business while providing you with five strategic solutions for preventing cyber attacks.

In summary, here are the five steps on how to implement cyber security in your organisation. 

Conduct regular cyber security risk assessments to identify potential threats and ensure your security measures are up to date and aligned with industry regulations. 

Controlling third-party risk is equally important, requiring due diligence in choosing external partners who prioritise data security.

Apply strong passwords and access controls, as weak passwords remain a common vulnerability. So, promoting strong, unique passwords and the use of access controls is vital. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) can also offer an additional layer of protection.

Using up-to-date cyber security software, including reliable antivirus solutions, is essential to protect your business against evolving threats. Regularly updating software is equally crucial to maintain robust defences.

Lastly, educating employees about cyber security risks is critical to your overall defence strategy. Human error accounts for a significant amount of cybersecurity threats, making regular training and awareness programmes essential to your company culture.

By following these steps and continually adapting to the changing landscape of cyber threats, you can significantly reduce the risk of cyber attacks impacting your business. Protecting your data, your clients, and your reputation should be an ongoing commitment, and with the right measures in place for preventing cyber attacks, you can minimise the potential for cyber threats disrupting your business operations. 

Remember that cybersecurity is not a one-time task but a continuous process that requires diligence, vigilance, and adaptability.

Another thing worth noting which has grown in prominence in shaping the cyber security landscape is Artificial intelligence (AI). We explored the impact of AI in cyber security in our guide: Assessing the benefits and challenges of AI in cyber security.

Get in touch with a cyber security recruiter today!

With the knowledge of how to prevent cyber attacks from impacting your business, it may be time to consider the next steps in hiring cyber security specialists who know how to implement cyber security into your organisation. If you require talent within this space to help bolster your defences against the rise in cybercrime, we can help.

Our experienced team of cyber security recruitment experts are ready to support your hiring strategy by connecting your company with top talent who know how to prevent cyber attacks from impacting your business. 

Get in touch with one of our specialists today and discover how we can take your brand one step closer to preventing cyber attacks.