The risk of being affected by a cyber-attack is again in first place, according to a survey by Allianz Global Corporate and Speciality, regarding “Business Risks Worldwide in 2022”. In the previous year, it was relegated to second place due to interruptions in operating chains. The fact is, cyber security is not a topic to be ignored.
What are the cyber actors?
The actors have different profiles and pursue different goals. – They can be roughly divided as follows:
The spectrum thus ranges from governments that have considerable financial resources and capabilities to wage cyberwar to cybercriminals who have specialized in extorting ransomware using simple means. The attacks target vulnerabilities in the IT security system. In this process, a successful attack on an entry point can compromise the IT security system.
Are smaller craft businesses also affected by hacker attacks? – Is cyber security even an issue?
Smaller craft businesses are not equally threatened by all players. Cybercriminals are particularly interested in SMEs. The hurdles for penetrating a network are often lower than in large companies due to unclosed security gaps or a lack of security awareness among employees. The reasons for this are a lack of resources or know-how to ensure IT security.
How should executives respond when cyberattacks block and cripple the enterprise?
It is important for executives to address the issue of cyber security before an attack occurs. This allows for preparation on how to properly respond in the event of an emergency. Processes and contact persons defined in advance mean that a certain degree of control over the situation is retained, despite the state of emergency. It is important to remain calm, not to make any rash decisions, and to first create a picture of the situation. Processes and contact persons defined in advance ensure that a certain degree of control over the situation is maintained, despite the state of emergency.
The following questions may be helpful in arming yourself against an attack:
- Is a critical response team in place?
- Are the responsibilities and accountabilities in the crisis team clearly defined?
- Are required resources and competencies available in the crisis team?
- Is the process clearly defined and up-to-date?
- Do regular drills take place on how the crisis team should respond in an emergency?
When a cyberattack occurs, specialists should be called in as quickly as possible, and the police and the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) should be contacted.Do regular drills take place on how the crisis team should respond in an emergency? Companies that specialize in cyber incidents can help minimize the damage and, if possible, prevent it from spreading. The police can secure and analyze data traces for later prosecution and also arrange contacts to specialists. Reporting the incident to the NCSC helps to assess what type of malware has affected you and whether other companies are affected. The police can secure and analyze data traces for later prosecution and also provide contacts to specialists.
How do you protect yourself against a cyberattack?
The biggest risk factor in IT security is people. Expensive firewalls and software are powerless if employees are not sensitized and may circumvent technical security precautions through their behavior. Therefore, it should be a central concern of every SME to train its employees with regard to IT security.
Comprehensive IT security consists of the following building blocks:
- Proactive monitoring
- Sensitization of employees
As can be seen, these individual building blocks can be implemented by means of software and hardware solutions, training or manual controls. This is also the reason why modern IT security is complex and expensive.
Should you store your data externally and should this be done every day?
Many companies neglect the issue of data backup. In some cases, it is performed using outdated methods that are not 100 percent reliable. It is important to ensure that the data backup is regularly checked and tested to prevent data loss in the event of an emergency. Since cybercriminals are able to completely analyze the network topography of a company, it is advisable to keep backups network-wise as well as geographically separate from the productive system. This can also prevent a complete loss of data in the event of a natural disaster.
A backup solution in the cloud with storage location in Switzerland can counteract this problem. The frequency of backup depends on the data generated, its reproducibility and the company’s risk appetite. Even a daily backup is not always sufficient.
What specific measures can SMEs take to protect themselves against a cyberattack?
It is important that companies understand that IT security is an iterative process and cannot be ensured by a one-time investment. As a first step, it is advisable to conduct a security assessment, since IT security is a basic requirement for the operation of modern IT systems. Any weaknesses are identified within the company and remedied after consultation with experts. This is a snapshot, which can change, for example, through the use of new software or end devices. It is therefore essential that IT vulnerability management is carried out. This is a continuous process by which points of entry from an IT security system are continuously identified, investigated, prioritized, contained and responded to accordingly. The implementation of such a vulnerability management system reduces the vulnerability of the IT security system.
In a further step, employees should be sensitized by means of security awareness training. Security awareness is a permanent learning process that is intended to promote awareness of IT security. Therefore, refresher courses as well as highlighting current hazards are enormously important.
“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. – A proverb that enjoys general popularity in a wide variety of situations is also part of the answer to the question: “What is the biggest IT security challenge in your company?”
Conclusion Cyber Security
In summary, it is clear that companies, regardless of their size, can fall victim to a cyber attack. It is therefore important for all companies to prepare for this and establish appropriate processes.
Developing awareness about cyber security is key – because: “There are two types of companies: Those that have already been hacked and those that will be.”–Robert Mueller, Director of the FBI (2001 – 2013)
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