Cybercrime is a fact of life. And as the future for business across industries is driven by digitalization, the reality of resulting cyberattacks can be harsh.
The truth is technology increases vulnerability and cybercrime isn’t just a big corporation problem. According to a recent Verizon report, 46% of all cyber breaches impact businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees, and the percentage of smaller businesses being hit continues to climb steadily.
Cybercrime’s Method to Your Madness
As excitement about new technologies grows within your organization, it’s not unusual for leadership to forget security flaws in the rush to implement them. From the growth of Software as a Service (SaaS), combined with the technical requirements for remote work, cybercriminals thrive within the rush of confusing technology transitions.
Cybercriminals are increasingly intelligent and crafty. From phishing, vishing, ransomware, malware, social engineering, and other attacks, cybercriminals can squirm through any gaps in an organization’s infrastructure. With opportunities growing from the expanding digital economy, cyberattacks are on track to cause damage amounting to about $10.5 trillion annually by 2025 — a 300% increase on 2015 levels, according to McKinsey & Co.
Ransomware stood out as a significant challenge in 2022 and the trend is expected to increase in 2023. A type of malicious software that encrypts a user’s data and literally holds it for ransom, cybercriminals use ransomware to extort money, steal data, or disrupt operations. Ransomware is most commonly spread through phishing emails, malicious websites, or unsecured networks.
It’s reported in the first two quarters of 2022, there were a total of 236.1 million ransomware attacks globally worth $14 billion to cybercrime groups. And no company in any industry is safe from the threat of ransomware attacks or other cyber threats, with Samsung, Uber, Microsoft, and T-Mobile all subjected to breaches in 2022.
Tempting a Cyberattack
Remote work during the pandemic drove a 238% increase in cyberattacks, according to a March 2022 report by Alliance Virtual Offices. An ongoing elevated security risk, Gartner called the attack surface expansion that comes with remote work, along with greater use of public cloud, highly connected supply chains, and use of cyber-physical systems have exposed new and challenging cyberattacks.
Ongoing remote workplace practices present significant security cracks in three ways:
- What happens outside normal hours. When employees are active on networks outside of normal hours, cybercriminals see an opportunity. With in-person security monitors deactivated, cyberattacks are less likely to be detected.
- Shared networks. Accessing shared networks from multiple devices, including personal ones, lack the level of security work/in-office computers have.
- Personal devices. According to a recent study, 98% of remote workers use a personal device for work every day, with 67% of business-impacting cyberattacks targeting remote workers.
Adapting new technologies to manage administrative or financial processes and store important data also welcomes cyberattacks. Customer relationship management (CRM) or enterprise resource management (ERP) platforms represent new areas of vulnerability, especially when data is stored in cloud-based systems with no centralized method of storage and security.
Organizations increasingly rely on CRMs and ERPs to offer end-to-end visibility for financial personnel as well as senior management. But these systems also hold the most valuable company data related to its finances, making cybercrime a high priority for CFOs, controllers, and other financial staff.
Another often overlooked cybercrime teaser? Idle and unused technology. From old computers and software to long-forgotten mobile phones, unused technology may not be updated with the latest security patches, making them vulnerable to malicious actors. Idle technology may also not be monitored or managed, increasing your company’s potential exploitation.
Protect Profits from Cybercrime
The cost of cybercrime globally is predicted to hit $8 trillion in 2023 and will grow to $10.5 trillion by 2025, according to a Cybersecurity Ventures report. But understanding where the risks lie can help.
While the cloud’s connectivity can be a business coup, it also creates data security risks. According to IDG, 98% of businesses they surveyed said securing applications, data, and infrastructure in the cloud is “very” or “somewhat” challenging. Numerous cloud services improve day-to-day operations and can help grow the business, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and other Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). But as AWS and GCP excel in helping enterprises deploy Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products, they may not offer enough protection for data stored in the cloud.
To amp up security, many businesses turn to software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) to provide a secure connection between multiple locations, allowing for better visibility into network traffic and easier to detect malicious activity. SD-WAN is a cost-effective solution that also provides better control over access to sensitive data, allowing businesses to limit who has access to what data.
Yet as the savior for cloud and digital transformation, SD-WAN presents its own security issues — and that’s where secure access service edge (SASE) comes in. SASE refers to the combination of SD-WAN and cloud-based security. As businesses continue to operate in a hybrid manner, SASE addresses cybercrime by tightly converging network and security functions, making the robust security of users and devices the focal point of its operating model. To help mitigate the risks and serious financial losses cybercrime presents, one way to regain power is to understand your total technology ecosystem. From voice, data, cloud services, SaaS license, and mobility, the world is a cybercriminal’s oyster. As your tech landscape grows, SpyGlass can help take the step toward an organized telecom services strategy with a SnapShot Audit to gain an edge for the future.