We live in a time when technology is enhancing lives and businesses in ways previously unimaginable.
We can ask smart devices for weather forecasts, benefit from augmented reality eCommerce, and trade cryptocurrencies from our mobile devices at home.
As the world becomes increasingly digital, the need for cybersecurity is greater than ever.
With ransomware attacks, scams, data breaches, phishing, and more, the internet can be a dangerous place for those who fail to prepare. Indeed, a GOV.UK survey found that 46 percent of businesses fell victim to cyberattacks in 2020.
For today’s companies, failing to safeguard your enterprise with appropriate cybersecurity could have catastrophic consequences.
The global cost of fixing cybersecurity issues rose to an all-time high of USD 4.2 million in 2021.
But with so many different types of cybercrime and so many giving the wrong advice, it can be hard to distinguish fact from fiction. So, here are the top 10 cybersecurity myths you need to avoid.
1. We’ve Got Good Security Tools, So We’re Safe
Too many businesses feel that investing in high-end security tools is enough to make their networks invincible and impregnable to cybercriminals.
The problem is, your security tools and solutions are only 100 percent effective if they’re properly configured, monitored, updated, maintained, and correctly integrated with your overall security operations.
You need to go beyond anti-virus and anti-malware software to protect your whole IT infrastructure from cyberattacks.
For large-scale businesses, a competent security strategy must cover everything from incident response plans to insider threat detection and employee training.
2. We’re Safe Because We Regularly Perform Penetration Tests
Many businesses assume they can prevent cybersecurity risks because they regularly conduct penetration tests.
In truth, penetration tests are inefficient unless your business can manage and fix any vulnerabilities and loopholes found during the test.
Furthermore, you need to consider the scope of your penetration testing. Does it cover the whole network?
Does it allow exact replication of common cyber threats? A penetration test that doesn’t delve deep enough won’t be enough to show weaknesses in your security.
You also need to consider whether your solutions focus on fixing the root cause or the resulting breach. Not finding the root cause will only gloss over the issue temporarily.
3. Complying With Industry Regulations Is Enough to Keep My Business Safe
Staying compliant with industry data regulations is essential for conducting business, building trust, and avoiding legal issues.
But usually, regulations only cover the basic minimum of security practices. In other words, industry compliance doesn’t necessarily make you secure.
Only you can decide whether current regulations are enough to keep your business safe and whether the scope covers all your critical systems and data.
For example, your business may be PCI (payment card industry) compliant. This will ensure credit card data is secure but doesn’t cover other sensitive data.
Double-check whether your compliance with regulations is enough for your business or whether you need further security measures in place.
4. A Third-Party Security Provider Will Secure Everything
Even though your cybersecurity firm takes responsibility when it comes to implementing and reviewing security to keep your company safe, you must be aware of the risks.
Regardless of the reputation or level of security offered by your chosen provider, you have a legal and ethical responsibility to protect critical assets.
Ensure your chosen security provider keeps you up-to-date with their security role, responsibilities, capabilities, and breaches.
If they cannot provide reassurance that their service caters to your needs, switch providers or get in touch to see if there’s a better solution.
5. We Only Need to Secure Internet-Facing Applications
Yes, the most common threats to business infrastructure come from internet-facing applications.
This is especially so in today’s world, where the internet rules all. But even if your systems are on premises vs cloud based, internet-facing applications shouldn’t be your only focus.
A recent study by Cybersecurity Insiders found that 68 percent of businesses feel moderately to extremely vulnerable to insider attacks.
Employee negligence, malicious behavior, and ignorance can make insider threats a higher security risk than outside threats from internet-facing applications.
There are plenty of ways insiders can compromise your whole IT system. For example, an employee could insert an infected flash drive into one of your computers.
Hence, businesses need to ensure adequate controls are in place to prevent insider threats and not just internet-facing ones.
6. We Never Have and Never Will Face a Cyberattack
This is wishful thinking. Cyber threats continue to grow in complexity and sophistication, and businesses must stay ahead of the game or risk having outdated and inadequate security.
Since COVID-19 and the resultant move to remote work and network-based collaboration, cybercrime has increased by 300 percent.
While ‘perfect’ security might be impossible, your strategic security posture needs to be set up to react quickly and successfully to increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks.
You should also implement extra measures to protect yourself, like using a virtual phone number to hide your location and encrypting important files on your devices.
7. We Have Strong Passwords to Protect Us From a Data Breach
So, you have a super-long and complicated password that only you could ever know. It’s pretty secure, right? Wrong!
No matter the length or complexity of your password or whether you use any special characters, hackers can still get it.
The only thing that truly makes a difference is two-factor authentication.
Two-factor authentication requires the user to produce two pieces of evidence to identify them.
For example, this could be a pin, a fingerprint, or even interactive voice response applications that detect your voice.
Be sure to train staff on workplace password policies to ensure security across all departments.
On top of this, ensure you’re carrying out regular data monitoring to see if there’s been a breach of your passwords.
8. Cyber Criminals Don’t Go After Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
So, you’re a small business. You’ve just registered a free io domain and things are looking good. There is no chance cybercriminals will go after you, right?
Unfortunately, many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) think cybercriminals are more likely to go after larger enterprises. This thinking brings a false sense of security.
A recent study by Accenture found 43 percent of cyberattacks are aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. That’s almost half!
The issue is, many startups and small businesses lack advanced security systems and skilled support staff.
This makes cybercriminals more likely to target them instead of bigger businesses.
Whether it’s ransomware, phishing, malware, or anything else, cyberattacks can devastate small businesses that don’t have the resources to fix and survive an attack.
9. We’ll Know Straight Away If Our Systems Are Compromised
These days, cyberattacks are better hidden. It could be months or even years until you find out you’ve been breached and your computers are infected. Take Marriott Hotels.
They were victims of a cyberattack in 2014 that stole customers’ names, contact information, and passport details. It took four years for them to notice they’d been compromised and cost them £18.4m in fines.
In 2021, malware and other security threats are even harder to detect. As cybercriminals become savvier, so must your defenses, so make sure to keep an eye out for anything suspicious.
Remember, no news from your security software isn’t always good news. Hidden compromises could be lurking.
10. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is Secure
We get it – bring your own device policies have their benefits. Employees feel productive and competent when using them, and money is saved on software licenses and business-owned devices.
For example, an automatic call distributor can re-route calls to your staff’s own mobile phones or laptops. But is bringing your own device a secure option?
Allowing a bring your own device policy opens your business up to a potential threat each time an employee connects a device.
To minimize the risk, make sure any phones, tablets, laptops, wearables, and IoT devices go through rigorous security protocols just like your on-site devices.
In other words, treat external devices as though they’re the responsibility of the business.
Only then can you be assured that you don’t have hundreds of potential threats connected to your network.
Cybersecurity myths are a genuine threat to businesses in today’s digital climate. Believing them blinds companies to real threats and makes cybercriminals’ jobs easier.
The first step in developing a robust security strategy is to understand these cybersecurity myths are illusions that cause more damage than good.
And, with artificial intelligence security systems making your security smarter and automated, it’s easier than ever to get set up with the correct protocols.
Hopefully, this list of the top 10 cybersecurity myths you need to avoid will set you on the path to achieving a secure and mature business.
Bonus read – check out the eight best online resources to learn more about data privacy and security!
Author: Grace Lau – Director of Growth Content, Dialpad
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform and cloud PBX system for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn.