The cyber security of Australian businesses is something that is so important but is unfortunately often an afterthought. Many owners or operators put basic measures in place, such as anti-virus software, thinking that is enough to protect their systems.
It’s only after they suffer an attack, costing them untold time, money and experience, that they finally concede they need to put more robust defences in place. And that’s if their business is able to weather the storm that is a cyber attack – many don’t, collapsing due to the costs incurred monetarily, mentally and digitally.
This isn’t a doom-and-gloom article, but it’s important to understand what is at stake if you don’t put sufficient protective protocols into action.
So we’re going to examine what can happen if you don’t have adequate defences, so you can avoid being caught out by the malicious actions of a Threat Actor in the future.
These days, everyone is a target
It used to be that only ‘big’, global companies were the ones at risk from Threat Actors. They had the bigger wallets and would likely want to keep the fact they’d been breached quiet, as they had international reputations to uphold.
But Threat Actors have learned that bigger isn’t always better.
Smaller businesses often have lower levels of protection, either because the systems they use are less secure or they don’t think of themselves as a potential target.
And because they’re easier to infiltrate, Threat Actors can hit more small businesses in less time than focusing on a well-defended ‘big’ company. And if just one of those small businesses pays the ransom, then that Threat Actor has just made anything upwards of $50,000 AUD for a few hours’ work.
A successful cyber attack can cripple a business
Recovering from an attack isn’t as cut-and-dried as some people might believe. Depending on the sophistication of the attack and how quickly you are able to respond to it, the best-case scenario is it may only take a few weeks to be operating normally again.
Without a hefty war chest set aside, it’s likely such a long downtime will sink a business.
And if it doesn’t, there are other effects an attack can have, such as a loss of customer or investor confidence. Or mass resignations as staff leave for jobs with more stability and security. Potential deadlines for contracts or projects may be missed leading to a drop in revenue and reputation.
In many ransomware attacks, the Threat Actor(s) will also steal information before encrypting the system. Breaches of sensitive personal, financial or commercial information could lead to investigations by regulatory bodies.
You can’t just rely on insurance
While cyber insurance is crucial, it’s not carte blanche to ignore security measures. Some terms and conditions may require certain levels of protection to be in place for coverage to apply.
And in many cases, insurance companies are finding ways to avoid paying out. Both AXA France and Lloyd’s of London have stated they won’t cover certain types of ransom demands anymore. This means you need to be even more vigilant that the coverage you have is enough, or you need to find a new policy.
Get our complete guide to cyber security
If reading all that has got you worried, we’ve got some good news.
We created a full guide to cyber security, laying out exactly what you need in place to prevent the majority of Threat Actors from being able to infiltrate your systems.
There are also protocols you can implement that allow you to track suspicious activity, so if a sophisticated attack does breach your system, you can see exactly how they got in and what they’re doing, allowing you to stop them and patch the vulnerability so it can’t be used by other attackers.
You’ll also find a wealth of other information, giving you everything you need to protect your systems and network.
If you want to know more about how to protect your business or organisation.
Get our Ultimate Guide to Cyber Security 2022