In this mature digital age, almost everything can be done online. From entertaining activities like playing online games to transferring money (almost) instantly and purchasing all kinds of things. A huge amount of data is being transferred every single second to accompany these activities, meaning more data is exposed to data breaches, thefts, and other cybersecurity threats. All kinds of online transactions—both business and personal—involve transferring and processing of data, and there is a massive amount of this data that is not processed and secured properly. Thus, understanding and implementing data security is essential for any business nowadays, and here are 10 important facts you need to know about data security:
1 Small Businesses are the Most Common (and Easiest) Prey for Cybercriminals
One of the most common cybersecurity misconceptions is to think that most cybercriminals are targeting big organizations and multinational companies because, well, obviously, there is more money available to steal. However, most if not all of these giant companies have invested a lot in cybersecurity, so it’s very difficult (and/or expensive) for hackers to breach them. As a result, more cybercriminals nowadays are targeting smaller and newer criminals. Smaller businesses tend to have weak cybersecurity strategies (due to limited budget), and it’s quite often these companies didn’t realize that their data has been breached until it’s already too late.
2 More Mobile Devices = More Risks of Security Breaches
Nowadays, more businesses and employees are relying on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices to do their business activities, mainly because so many business operations nowadays are done outside of the office building. While these mobile devices can provide us with an easier time to accomplish our tasks, a mobile device without the right cybersecurity measures can be (very) vulnerable to data theft and various other threats.
3 Cybercrime Damage Is Real and Significant
Damages caused by cybercrime might not be easily seen compared to, for example, murder or physical theft. However, according to a study by Cybersecurity Ventures in 2016, cybersecurity crimes will cost $6 trillion annually by 2021, double the number in 2015. More companies are doing their businesses exclusively online nowadays, and many experts today agreed that cybercrime is the greatest threat to all companies in the world. The threat is very real.
4 Close to 95% of Data Security Attacks Are Actually Manageable
Here’s the harsh truth: the number one reason enabling cybercrime is human error. A data theft, for example, might be easily avoided if the IT manager didn’t forget to update the latest software or firmware update. In 2017, it was concluded that 93% of cybersecurity breaches could have been avoided with simple steps like flagging spammy email addresses, regularly checking software updates, and especially, training your employees to recognize common cybercrime threats (i.e., phishing).
5 95% of Data Theft Attempts Are Directed to Tech, Retail, and Governments
It might be surprising to learn that more than 95% of the recorded breach attempts are directed on only three niches: technology companies, retail brands, and the government. Why? Quite simply, companies within these sectors generally possess the largest amount of consumer information. These consumer information databases are quite often, personally identifiable, and contain valuable data like email and physical address (that can be sold) and especially credit card numbers.
6 Data Security Awareness Among Employees Are Still Very Low
Many platforms are offering education and intelligence on data security threats that are easily accessible. However, this information is still severely underutilized because many employees and even IT technicians are still unaware of their existence and generally have shallow awareness of data security threats.
7 One Business Fall to Ransomware Every 14 Seconds
According to the 2019 Annual Cybercrime Report by Herjavec Group, every 14 seconds, a business is compromised to ransomware attacks. At the end of 2016, a business fell victim to ransomware “only” every 40 seconds. It is going to be faster and faster in the years to come. This might be extremely scary, and should be an eye-opening fact that investing in data security is very important for any business in 2020.
8 Over 7 Billion Personal Data Have Been Exposed in 2019
Security Magazine reported that between January and September of 2019 alone, 7.9 billion data records had been recorded, three times bigger than the year before. Data hackers are getting smarter than ever, and with every one of us owning more devices than ever (from the latest smartwatches to a smart speaker), more amounts of data are vulnerable to thefts and breaches. Make sure to secure all devices, especially when you just purchase a new one and always use secure usernames and passwords. Always remember that human error is the number one cause of data security breaches.
9 Weak Password = Elevated Data Security Risks
We have briefly discussed the importance of secure passwords and usernames above, but unfortunately, most people’s passwords are less than ideal. There are plenty of apps that can help us create (and remember) ultra-secure passwords, so use them to your advantage. Strings of characters and alphanumeric numbers can be relatively easily decrypted by modern data hackers nowadays with just a simple software. Also, never give your username and password to anyone and especially non-trustworthy sites (which is common in a phishing attack).
10 It’s Actually Easier to Track Down Data Thefts Today
Here is the good news. There are now various ways to track people online, even when we only have partial information. Nuwber, for example, is a SaaS company with a solution that allows us to receive data of an individual simply by entering partial information such as their name only, physical address, email address, phone number, and other pieces of information. There are also various data security agencies offering full-fledged cybersecurity services that are significantly more affordable than, say, half a decade ago. Yes, data security attacks are on the rise, but the ways to fight them are now more accessible and affordable than ever.
Cybercrime is a very significant threat for any companies and personal brands, and according to Warren Buffet back in 2017, is the number one challenge for humankind. As more and more people are now relying on the internet for their daily activities—both personal and professional—,, more criminals are also looking for opportunities to exploit us. In short, investing in data security is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for all businesses that involve the internet in their operations.