Simple steps that companies of all sizes can take

By Sharp Electronics Corp.

The following is reposted with permission from Sharp Electronics Corp.’s “Simply Smarter” B2B Blog.

Cybersecurity remains top of mind for businesses as our world becomes more digitized.

A recent report by IBM showed that the average cost of a data breach was $4.5 million in 2023. With cyberattacks on the rise, Sharp Electronics Corp. asked Tony Roessler, the company’s managed network services national manager, to describe common attacks and share best practices to protect your business from a breach.

Describe the most common cybersecurity attacks against businesses that you’re seeing. 

There are many forms of cybersecurity attacks against businesses these days. However, the most common I’m seeing are phishing attacks. This is a scam where bad actors use social engineering to either have victims transfer funds, purchase gift cards or install malicious codes. The attacker’s email can look like a family member, colleague or even a company’s support team, and will request sensitive information to potentially install malware.

One way that organizations can prevent this is by sending staff fake phishing emails as examples so that they are aware and can be on the lookout for suspicious email addresses or links.

What are some easy but effective steps businesses can take to protect themselves from a cybersecurity attack?  

Today, it’s critical for businesses to protect themselves and be on the lookout for bad actors. Organizations large and small can take a few simple steps to set themselves and their staff up for success.

First, they can implement a password change policy that requires updates every three months and ensures that passwords are unique, with a mix of characters, numbers and symbols.

Next, it’s crucial to enable multi-factor authentication (MFA). Having this allows for an added layer of protection by requiring users to verify themselves beyond a traditional username and password.

Finally, it’s important to have security awareness training for employees so that they’re updated on the latest threats, know how to identify them and can flag an IT professional if needed. 

Related: Your Business Isn’t Immune from Cyberattack

What are some common mistakes you see businesses and/or individuals make that can lead to a cybersecurity breach? 

The biggest mistake I see is having the same password for multiple machines and accounts. If there’s a potential breach, a hacker can access confidential information across many platforms. This is like giving a hacker a key that unlocks your home, car, office and so on. Most users repurpose the same password because it’s easy to remember one password rather than many unique codes; however, it is highly recommended to make your passwords different and complicated across platforms. 

Another mistake is not having updated subscriptions, apps, support or hardware. Technology is constantly updating and implementing new features that can assist in blocking hackers from accessing data. Everything from your work laptop to personal smartphone should be as up to date as possible so that they’re well equipped to fight off an attack.

How can we stay educated on the latest cybersecurity trends and threats? 

I suggest meeting with your IT provider or consultant quarterly to discuss current trends or to uncover any gaps in your cybersecurity strategy. I also recommend developing a technology roadmap, which is a helpful visual tool for planning and executing technology goals. This can help employees at all levels understand where technology capabilities currently stand, where they’ll go and how the result can support an organization.

In addition, joining user groups to discuss best practices, training, current trends and other topics can help in staying up to date and continuing cybersecurity education. You can also stay informed by reading articles or subscribing to newsletters from publications such as Cybercrime MagazineSecurityWeekCyber Defense Magazine and others.

How can organizations use AI to protect or assist in a cybersecurity attack?

AI has been a buzzword over the past year across all industries. This tool can be a great asset in defending a company from a potential cyberattack by predicting and studying behaviors. AI can alert personnel that the network is seeing anomalies either in user behavior or traffic, and flag that to an IT professional before a breach is underway.

Sharp Electronics Corporation, parent of BrandSource partner Sharp Home Electronics Company of America (SHCA), is a global technology company that helps consumers and organizations of all sizes enhance their performance and adapt to the future through innovative home and business products and services.

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