Data security risks to watch out for in 2020

Cyberattacks are expected to keep on rising as hackers find new ways to infiltrate and steal important corporate data. That's why small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) must prioritize keeping their data safe from hackers. Here are data security risks you should watch out for in 2020.

  1. Employee negligence – Not all data breaches are the result of sophisticated hackers. In fact, according to the Shred-it security tracker survey, a shocking number of data breaches are due to employees who are negligent in handling sensitive company data. This can be something as simple as an employee leaving a computer unlocked when they take a break. Without proper vigilance, communication, and on-going training, these bad habits can sometimes lead to costly security breaches that can disrupt your company's daily operations.

  2. Employee data theft – Employees stealing important company data is unfortunately a fairly common situation. A recent, good example is the data breach at Canada's largest credit union Desjardins. An unauthorized employee stole the data of 2.7 million home users, and 173,000 business contacts from the company's database. In some cases, employees are bribed to steal and leak company data, in fact a Deep Secure report found that 45% of employees are willing to steal and sell company data to outsiders for easy money. One particular incident occurred in August 2019, when a group of AT&T employees were caught unlocking smartphones and installing malware onto them in exchange for money. Multi-layer sign in, including two factor authentication can help prevent this from happening. Without proper diligence, employees can potentially switch from being one of your company's greatest assets, to a large liability.

  3. Phishing scams – Phishing attacks have always been the preferred method for most hackers, because all it takes is one person to open one email. This past year (2019) saw a massive 250% rise in phishing attacks, and it's expected to continue into 2020 as new technology makes these attacks more sophisticated and harder to manage. Without proper vigilance, communication, and on-going training about how to identify potential phishing emails, these email scams can lead to security breaches that can disrupt your company's daily operations and cost you money!

  4. Ransomware attacks – Ransomware attacks also grew in 2019, seeing a 195% increase in frequency from Q4 2018 to Q1 2019, and this trend will likely continue in 2020. Unlike previous attacks, hackers are now focusing their attention on local municipalities and SMBs, as the latter are easier targets and more likely to pay the ransom compared to larger enterprises.

  5. Poor password practice – A Google study discovered that around 1.5% of all login data used on the internet are prone to credential stuffing attacks — a cyberattack that automatically uses stolen account credentials to gain fraudulent access to other services. Unfortunately, many users often reuse their passwords across multiple platforms, making it easy for hackers to access your company's vital data even with a high level of network security.

  6. Hackers trying to make a name for themselves – Some hack not for money but for fame. For example, the hacker behind the Capital One data breach in July 2019 — where 100 million records were compromised — was just looking to brag about it in different online communities.

  7. Unrestricted data access – Typically, SMBs don’t document their processes and/or grow so quickly that access to or accountability for IT suffers. Commonly, this causes these small businesses to make the mistake of giving employees unrestricted access to all their data. Some company sensitive data should be on a need-to-know basis, meaning access and rights to view or update need to be restricted to prevent or minimize any chances of it being misused or stolen.

  8. Not taking cybersecurity seriously – Unfortunately, a lot of SMB owners believe that they will never be a target of cyberattacks and will not work to increase their company's network security until it's too late. With attacks on local municipalities and SMBs on the rise, you should — more than ever — make sure your organization is equipped to handle a cyberattack.

  9. Don’t let any of these data security risks endanger your company. If you partner with a trusted managed IT service provider (MSP) like Arnet Technologies, we will help you build, develop, implement, and support a cybersecurity strategy that will keep your data safe from internal and external threats. Get in touch with us today for your free consultation.

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