Cyberattacks are a growing threat in New Zealand. But people seem to be slow on the uptake of preventative measures. If your business doesn’t have a robust cyber resilience plan in place, then you need to read this:
The new world of cyber security for business
Here are some facts about cyber attacks in New Zealand:
- They cost consumers $250 million a year.
- There are over 108 ransomware attacks per day in New Zealand.
- 4 in 5 of us are concerned that we will be the victim of online crime.
- But only 40 per cent of us know what to do if we do experience a cyber attack.
Your business is affected too; particularly if you are a small-to-medium enterprise or self-employed. About 60 per cent of these online attacks are targeted at your segment of the business world—doubly so if you are involved in retail or financial services.
As BRAVEday Principal Kane Butler explains:
“The typical attitude of ‘it won’t happen to us’ seems to be very prevalent when it comes to cyber but the statistics on the number of attacks say otherwise.”
What are the business damages of a cyberattack?
You might think that a cyberattack on your business would be a small nuisance, but the reality is quite different. On average, a breach costs about $19,000—but this can grow right up to $150,000 in some cases.
Customer records, passwords, financial information and credit card details: these are all valuable to a cybercriminal—and it is extremely expensive to fix things once they have been accessed.
“The typical attitude of ‘it won’t happen to us’ seems to be very prevalent when it comes to cyber."
There are some obvious costs: improving your cybersecurity, going through a technical investigation, paying for an lawyer and other litigation fees. But you must also factor in the lesser-known impacts. These include:
- Brand name damage
- Lost customer relationships
- Lost contracts
- Operation disruption
- Increased insurance premiums
As if the direct costs weren’t bad enough, you then have to deal with the inevitable business downtime as you fix this breach. Every day lost due to this is lost revenue—and considering how important cash flow is for a small business, this could be a death knell for your entire operation.
How to protect yourself
If you want to take your cybersecurity seriously, there are a number of different strategies you can use to improve your chances of avoiding or mitigating the damage of a cyberattack. These are just three to start with:
Form a plan now
You can’t wait until you have already been breached to implement a cyber attack resilience plan. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses do exactly that: only 45 per cent of New Zealand enterprises have a response plan in place.
The earlier you form a plan, the easier it is to recover or prevent a potential attack. At the bare minimum, ensure you have a solid, up-to-date online security system in place. An anti-virus, a spam filter, a firewall and secure passwords for your business wifi would be a good start. You can get more information on the next steps from Connect Smart.
The earlier you form a plan, the easier it is to recover or prevent a potential attack.
Keep in mind, however, that cyberattacks are constantly evolving. A plan formed ten, five or even two years ago will not still be relevant. Stay up-to-date on current threats, or work with a consultant that can do it for you.
Train your employees
You’re informed about the dangers of cyber attacks, but are your employees?
The vast majority of cyber attacks are caused by human error; opening a phishing email, downloading the wrong executable file, falling for a duplicated site—all common sources of breaches. Even accessing public wifi with a business phone could be enough to work around your carefully-constructed prevention measures.
Mistakes are easily made, and even a slight lapse in protocol could cost your business tens of thousands of dollars. Train your employees in prevention, recognition and recovery from cyberattack, and your chances of needing to claim on your business insurance will drop dramatically.
As discussed earlier, the online crime world is constantly evolving. Right now, email scams, hacking attempts and ransomware are the most likely attacks on your business. But next year, they might not be.
The online crime world is constantly evolving.
If you keep your security measures up to date, you’ll reduce your chances of a breach, but not eliminate them entirely. You need to be prepared for if you are targeted and successfully compromised by a cybercriminal.
- Online and offline backups of critical data should be a bare minimum.
- Specialised cyber security insurance packages can cover the financial costs of recovery and ensure business continuity.
- Having a third-party or in-house security consultant can ensure your infrastructure remains intact.
- Assessment policies and procedures keep the problem from occurring again.
Cyber attacks are a common occurrence in New Zealand, but many businesses aren’t prepared for the full damage they can inflict. Thousands of dollars of damage, weeks or months of business interruption, significant damage to brand reputation: these are just a few of the outcomes of not being adequately prepared for the new frontier of cyber crime.
But there are solutions. Pro-active planning and training, as well as solid recovery tools in case of a breach can all turn a cyber attack from a business-ending disaster into just another operational risk. Manage your risk in the new world; be prepared for cyber attacks.
To learn more, check out our free ebook below.