Why Cybersecurity is Everyone’s Responsibility

All businesses, private citizens, and even government organizations are a target for hackers. If you run a small business, you’re a main target. Implementing cybersecurity is critical, whether you’re running a flower shop, an HVAC company, or a restaurant. Cybersecurity for fleet maintenance teams is equally important. It doesn’t matter who you are or what company you work for – cybersecurity is essential and the impact of not being protected can be devastating.

A cyberattack can cause the following problems:

  • Exposed data. This is where confidential data gets exposed, but not necessarily stolen.
  • Stolen data. Hackers steal company and customer data for many purposes, usually to commit identity theft and other crimes. Often, stolen data is sold on the dark web to other cybercriminals.
  • Lost data. A ransomware attack will encrypt the data on your hard drive(s) and the hacker will promise to restore your data if you pay a ransom. Unfortunately, paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee they’ll keep their word. Worse, when ransoms are paid, it incentivizes cybercriminals to continue exploiting people.
  • Financial loss. Whether you’re stuck paying regulatory fees or replacing encrypted hard drives, you can expect financial loss after a cyber attack. You might also lose sales when customers stop trusting you, if the incident was big enough to be widely reported.
  • Tarnished reputation. Once a company falls victim to a cyberattack, customers tend to lose trust. One incident is all it takes to get bad press about your brand, and since word-of-mouth is the most powerful influencer, you could end up with a bad reputation and potentially being boycotted.
  • Being put out of business. If you get hit hard enough, having to close your doors for good is a possibility.

Cybercrime is expensive

Each year, cybercrime costs about $445 billion globally. It’s not hard to see how just one attack can put you out of business. After being hit, most businesses fail to recover and go out of business within six months. Cyber attacks can be destructive, even for large corporations. Between regulatory penalties and internal costs to recover and restore data and sometimes devices, some companies just can’t recover.

If you want to protect your data against theft and loss, and avoid the potential for financial disaster, you need a solid cybersecurity plan created by a professional.

Don’t rely on your third-party apps to protect your business

You probably use third-party apps to run your business for things like task management, accounting, managing your website, inventory tracking, and more. There’s no way to be absolutely certain these companies are going to go the extra mile to protect your data. Even if they claim to keep your information secure, you can’t verify that’s actually true.

There are ways to vet third-party companies to ensure they are compliant with certain data protection regulations, like HIPAA, and it’s a smart move. However, you still can’t rely on them completely. Mistakes happen. In fact, most data breaches are caused by human error, including database misconfigurations, which account for about 35% of all incidents. So, while your third-party applications might be HIPAA-compliant, one human error can expose your data.

Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility

Even though data protection laws require companies to be compliant to run their business, cybersecurity isn’t just a software developer’s responsibility. If you’re not familiar with the shared responsibility model, it’s important to review it until you understand it fully.

It’s impossible for software developers to completely secure an application since some of the work needs to happen on the user’s end, not to mention end users can and do make mistakes that cause data breaches. For example, when you install an application, it’s up to you to implement the right settings to prevent your data from being visible to the world.

You’re also responsible for making sure employees and contractors don’t fall for phishing schemes or do anything that would otherwise compromise the security of your data. For instance, you need a company wide policy prohibiting sharing passwords, sending credit card information through email, and you also need to tie logins to a registered device with multi-factor authentication enabled as a requirement.

Nobody is immune to cybercrime

Having a strong security posture is vital, but it won’t always protect you from every threat. Sometimes threats aren’t hackers trying to steal your data, but simple mistakes and oversights.

Be prepared to deal with data theft and loss at any given time, no matter how well protected you think you are. Even the best systems can fail because of one human error.

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