As many Canadian businesses face the loom of a recession and the additional scrutiny of their customer’s data in the wake of many security breaches, now is the time to tighten company security to avoid falling prey.  According to research by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), in 2021, 41% of businesses that ever suffered a cyber attack reported that it cost them at least $100,000, up from 37% in 2019.

It is not all gloom; you can protect your company and educate your staff to limit the chances of a breach.  We understand it can be challenging for SMBs to keep up with the most recent cybersecurity threats and best practices, and we are here to help fill the gaps. In this article, we will cover how businesses are being impacted and ways to mitigate or prevent attacks in their tracks.

Common Types of Cyberattacks

There are many common types of cyber attacks that businesses face. Phishing and social engineering attacks are becoming more common, and they have the potential to be highly effective against businesses that lack robust cybersecurity defences. In another article, we cover the three common types of Phishing attacks and how to prevent and protect yourself and your staff. Attacks using ransomware are increasing in frequency, and they have the potential to cause significant disruption as well as financial losses for smaller businesses. The average cost of a data breach in Canada was $7.3 million CAD in 2021, representing a 20% increase of $900,000 in 2020, according to IBM and Proxyrack. Scams involving business email compromise, also known as BEC, have the potential to cause significant financial losses for smaller companies.

The Effects of Cyberattacks on Businesses

Ransom payouts for data breaches are not the only implications are not the only impact business face after a cyberattack, even though those are the most commonly reported on.  After a company faces a cyberattack there are many internal costs to fix or repair any damages caused or the need to hire firms to assist in securing your systems after an attack.  Cyber attacks can also cause irreparable harm to the reputation of a business, which in turn can lead to a loss of customers and revenue.  One study found that 60% of all companies that suffer a data breach are forced into bankruptcy within six months. In addition, the company may be subject to legal and regulatory challenges if a business does not comply with data privacy regulations such as GDPR or PIPEDA. With security practices in place and employee cyber hygiene training, you can reduce the chances of an attack.

How to Mitigate an Attack

The good news is that businesses can frequently prevent cyberattacks and take action to lessen their damage in a relatively simple and affordable manner. Here are two suggestions for enhancing the cybersecurity of your company which you can implement today:

  • Make cybersecurity a continuous effort. Being prepared is the best way to lessen the harm caused by a cyberattack. This might entail creating a thorough cybersecurity plan and hiring specialists as needed. It’s a good idea to use robust antivirus software, keep software updated with the most recent security patches, and protect devices from hackers.
  • Strengthen your ‘Human’ firewall. Your strongest or weakest line of defence may be your employees. Cybercriminals and hackers frequently access systems by duping your staff into handing over passwords. Employees need to be continuously trained on the risks of cyberattacks and the significance of being watchful. Consider holding training sessions to educate staff on recognizing infected computers, dubious emails, and websites, as well as using two-factor authentication and creating strong passwords. Ask us how we can train your staff to be more cyber-aware.

In Closing

Canadian businesses must take proactive measures to secure their operations as they face the possibility of a recession and increased scrutiny of their customer’s data after numerous security breaches. Cyber attacks on businesses can result in ransom payments, internal costs to repair damages, reputational harm, and potential legal and regulatory challenges. Businesses can mitigate an attack by creating a thorough cybersecurity plan, hiring specialists as needed, and using robust antivirus software, as well as strengthening the “human firewall” by training employees on the risks of cyber attacks and the importance of being vigilant. Watch our on-demand webinar, The Evolving Cybersecurity Landscape.  Our experts will provide small business owners with the knowledge and tools to protect their businesses and stay ahead of the game.