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5 Common Misconceptions About Cyber Security And Data Protection

6 min read

One could hardly argue that data has become the most valuable corporate asset of companies operating in the digital world. That is why keeping it safe and avoiding the disastrous consequences of data breaches should be a priority.

Unfortunately, even in 2018, there are still many misunderstandings about how cybersecurity works — creating room for exploitable human errors and allowing cybercriminals to execute attacks successfully. We address some of the top misconceptions in this article.

Misconception #1: Antiviruses and firewalls are enough

  • Reality:

Such security measures play their part for sure, but some dangers are likely to fall off the radar. Human errors illustrate this perfectly — for example when sending an email to the wrong recipient due to confusingly similar names and autofill where addresses are selected just after typing two or three characters.

  • What can be done?

Make sure that your employees are aware of how their mistakes can result in data loss and encourage them to:

  • Double-check files before sending externally
  • Review security guidelines periodically
  • Take part in security awareness training

Misconception #2: We’re small, so we’re invisible to hackers

  • Reality:

According to the Ponemon Institute, 61% of small organizations have already experienced a cyber attack. The consequences are harsh — financial, reputational, legal, among others — and they may kick entrepreneurs out of the game.

  • What can be done?

Since their resources are limited, small businesses should start by prioritizing their security efforts and can use threat detection software to identify their weak links. The next step is to implement high-impact security practices such as subscribing employees to security newsletters or teaching them about the signs of phishing and scams.

Misconception #3: Hackers focus on specific industries

  • Reality:

Hackers and scammers always look for the easy way, and they are likely to avoid sectors that typically invest a lot in their cyberdefense. So the fact cybercrime has not happened much in your industry might play against you. As a rule of thumb, any business that works with sensitive information — personal details, trade secrets, contracts, etc. — and host it online and across devices is at risk.

  • What can be done?

It’s important to take measures to encrypt your data, set strong passwords, limit access rights to databases and applications, and, of course, backup your information so you can recover quickly from attacks.

Misconception #4: Malicious intent is always outside

  • Reality:

90% of organizations report feeling vulnerable to insider threats, with 53% of them confirming an actual insider attack happened over a period of 12 months. That is tough, but ill-intentioned employees who know your company’s vulnerabilities very well or even corporate spies might be walking within your walls.

  • What can be done?

Keep your eyes open, starting with your recruitment process and screening who you allow in your company. Additionally, make sure everyone understands their responsibilities and what could happen should they be leaking data purposefully and conduct fraud.

Misconception #5: Cybersecurity is solely IT departments’ job

  • Reality:

Hackers know they have better chances to succeed targeting people who know little about cybersecurity. That means non-IT staff members are more likely to experience phishing and hacking attacks firsthand and, therefore, must know how to react.

  • What can be done?

Besides awareness and training, it’s vital that employees feel accountable when they detect threats and report them immediately such that adverse consequences can be mitigated more effectively.

All in all, understanding the misconceptions and realities of today’s cybersecurity landscape is essential for protecting data and users better.

About the author: Alexandre François is a Head of Marketing at SafeSend Software, a solution specifically designed to prevent accidental emailing. He enjoys sharing best practices that businesses can apply to reduce risks of data breaches and achieve better cybersecurity.

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