This article was featured in the Arkansas Business special publication, Venture.
Cyber threats continue to grow. Even with people returning to the office, the rapid demand for us all to be present online has also led to a dangerous surge in cyberattacks, data breaches and fraudulent activity targeting individuals and businesses.
The nation saw a 600% increase in cybersecurity threats during the pandemic, starting early with the threats posed by unsecured video conference platforms and the sudden work- from-home population unsafely accessing corporate networks. Work-from-home continues to challenge the security of networks, and businesses should be aware of the potential risks to their networks and trade secrets the work-from-home workforce creates. As e-commerce and our digital activities evolve, the threats themselves continue to advance. Remaining up to date on the current threats is now a full-time activity for most businesses.
It’s now a matter of when the threat will occur rather than if the threat will occur. According to McAfee Enterprise, during the pandemic, 81% of global organizations experienced increased cybersecurity threats and 79% experienced downtime as a result of a cybersecurity incident. Preparation is key. The following are tips for every business to consider:
- Every second counts after a security incident. Have an incident response plan in place and don’t delay in implementing it when the incursion happens.
- Secure everything. Lock down physical areas related to the breach and change access codes if needed. Take all affected equipment offline to stop the potential for more data loss.
- Know your external support team. Incidents require support of technical and legal professionals to provide expertise and you don’t want to add to the stress of the incident by hunting down your team as it unfolds.
- Notify the appropriate parties. There are legal requirements for notification, especially if you have health or financial data. Make sure your team is informed of the notification obligations for the data your company stores. Consider having a communication plan as part of your incident response plan.
- Keep informed about current security trends to protect against data leaks. Do you use two-factor authentication? Do you routinely educate your employees of the risks of suspicious emails? Consider implementing a yearly or biannual plan to make sure your employees are informed about data security.
2022 is a great time to talk with tech professionals and attorneys about how to protect your business.
Meredith Lowry is a patent attorney on the Wright Lindsey Jennings Tech Law team. She is obsessed with business, tech and data.