Cybersecurity has become one of the most important aspects of a company’s operations. With the average cost of a data breach being $8 million, the need to protect your business’s information is at an all-time high. Hackers are working round the clock to find vulnerabilities in your system. For example, social engineering, phishing, and malware attacks are growing more sophisticated by the day. In response, more research and innovative approaches are being used to repel attacks.
Some companies are leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect unusual activity, while others are implementing more robust data management policies in-house. A comprehensive data security approach can help your company avoid falling victim to threats. And to help you keep up with current trends, here are the most important cybersecurity facts for this year.
List of Top 10 Cyber Security Facts
1. An average of 5% of company folders are adequately protected
Files and folders are the baseline components of data storage. If your files/folders aren’t protected, hackers will have an easier time gaining access to sensitive company information. Furthermore, the wrong employees and other unauthorized persons may be able to gain access to information that’s restricted or classified.
The 2019 Varonis Global Data Risk Report revealed that only 5% of company folders are adequately protected. This statistic is worrying because out of 785 organizations, there were 54 billion files and 4.3 billion folders. Inadequate protection could mean everything from a lack of strong passwords to non-encrypted files within sensitive folders. Furthermore, many companies have file/folder systems that can be accessed by many people and thus are harder to control.
In light of these statistics, you should strive to develop a security strategy for file and folder systems on company servers. Setting strong passwords, limiting user accounts, using two-factor authentication, and encrypting sensitive information are all strategies that can help you protect company files and folders.
2. Government, retail, and technology comprise 95% of breached records
An overwhelming share (95%) of data hacking attempts are directed towards only 3 sectors- government, retail, and technology. You may be wondering why these 3 industries are “hot targets” for hacking. Government, retailers, and tech companies collect and store the largest amounts of personally identifiable information. This information is attractive to hackers because they can link a person’s name to their address, credit card data, and other sensitive information.
Personally, identifiable data is most valuable to hackers and hardest to protect during daily operations. Therefore, you can expect a continuing trend in hacking attempts within these 3 industries. Growth in the retail business, technology services, and government regulation will increase the risk of breached records in 2019 moving forward. Therefore, protecting such information requires a comprehensive approach. This includes maintaining secure networks, encrypting data, and using strong passwords.
3. 75% of healthcare industry data was affected by malware in 2018
In addition to the 3 sectors mentioned above, the healthcare industry was also heavily affected by data breaches in 2018. The same trend is expected to leak, partly because health data has significant value to hackers. Many forms of health data contain elements of personally identifiable information, including family history, insurance records, social security numbers, and addresses.
Malware attacks are commonly targeted towards healthcare companies because malware can infiltrate your systems and result in significantly compromised data. This is why 75% of healthcare industry data was subjected to malware attacks. If you deal with health-related data on a regular basis, the following steps can help you keep your data secure.
I. Assess risks
A risk assessment refers to the analysis of your data security environment to determine vulnerabilities. Assessment increases your awareness of the network and what needs to be done to keep health data safe. Furthermore, you can prepare for the potential impact of online threats such as malware.
II. Keep employees trained and informed
Your employees are the backbone of your cybersecurity strategy. Indeed, having well-trained and data conscious workers can help you mitigate the risk of breaches. You will find that hackers use naïve employees to initiate malware and phishing attacks on healthcare organizations. This means that sensitizing workers on the importance of data security can significantly reduce risk.
III. Secure your network and applications
The next step is to ensure that any systems/applications you use for health data are secure. Security starts from the development phase and extends into the implementation phase.
This year, the above healthcare practices will be critical in ensuring that patient data is kept secure from breaches.
4. Within 6 months of 2019 alone, 4.1 billion records were breached
Many companies tend to downplay the scope of cybersecurity threats. In 2019 alone, there were 4.1 billion breached records reported in roughly 3800 data breaching cases. This number was a 52% increase from 2018, and it’s expected that cases will increase.
The rise in compromised records is due to hackers using sophisticated tools for accessing sensitive data. But even more concerning is that businesses aren’t devoting enough resources to tackle cybersecurity concerns. For example, many small businesses don’t prioritize data security until they fall victim to an attack. Others don’t include data security as a key business goal, thus keeping employees uninformed about how to protect company data from hacks.
5. A hacking attempt is registered every 39 seconds
Speaking of hacks, a study by the University of Maryland revealed that a hacking attempt is recorded every 39 seconds. These attempts also end up affecting 33% of Americans every year. The prevalence of hacks can be partly attributed to the use of weak passwords and unsecured usernames.
This year, you can expect an increase in hacking attempts- especially as more companies make the transition to the cloud. Cloud-based services will expose data to digital networks that can be intercepted. Luckily, security steps such as data encryption and active monitoring can help detect and repel potential threats.
6. A projected 200 billion interconnected devices will be present in 2021
The internet of things (IoT) has revolutionized how people relate to technology. Interconnected devices can be used to control machines remotely, achieve real-time monitoring, and transmit data instantaneously. However, IoT has also resulted in significant data security concerns. With 200 billion interconnected devices expected to be present by 2021, keeping transmitted data secure will be a top concern moving forward. Homeowners who need to control their appliances, lighting systems and machines via the IoT will need to keep an eye on any data security concerns. Many IoT platforms have little to no data security. For example, Bluetooth technology can be easily compromised by averagely-skilled workers. The growing trend in 2021 will be how to better protect IoT systems from hacks.
7. Securing the data of high net worth individuals will be critical
The risks of internet fraud and cybersecurity breaches are increasing on a daily basis, and this is particularly true for high net worth individuals. Professionals who handle data security tasks face the continuous challenge of securing their clients’ property and minimizing their susceptibility to fraud. This is easier said than done, as the assets of such individuals can be complex. Indeed, high net worth persons are people, mini-businesses, foundations, private companies, and much more. A growing trend you can expect to see in 2021 is how the data of high net worth persons can be protected. Indeed, using traditional file cabinets and confidential letters are insufficient in this new data age.
A large chunk of high net worth management services is done online. To keep your clients’ data safe, you need a private, secure, and compliant platform for asset management. Here are 5 useful tips you can use to keep client data secure from hacking:
- Secure client financial accounts
- Use secure Wi-Fi connections
- Develop a disaster response plan
- Offer a cyber insurance policy against client liability
- Seek the services of expert security firms
8. Over 80% of companies will transition to the cloud by 2021
Cloud computing is an effective strategy for many different companies. The cloud allows you to access infrastructure on demand, outsource complex workflows, and save costs during daily data processing workflows. So popular is the cloud that 83% of companies will have shifted from legacy systems to the cloud by 2021. The use of the cloud presents numerous opportunities and challenges for cybersecurity. Not only can efficient operations be developed, but also cybersecurity tasks such as data encryption will be critical.
9. 43% of all cyber-attacks are directed towards small businesses
While small businesses drive the economy, they’re also the least likely to take their data protection very seriously. This is because these businesses may wish to implement simpler data security processes that don’t eat into tight budgets. However, failing to take cybersecurity seriously is one of the reasons why the average cost of a data breach is $8 million, and why 43% of cyber attacks are on these institutions.
10. Using data to detect and prevent cyberattacks
Another cybersecurity trend you can expect to see in 2021 is the use of data analysis to prevent cyberattacks. By using artificial intelligence, machines can be programmed to detect unusual behavior within a company’s network. Previous hacking attempts can also be used to develop a profile of what normal and abnormal looks like. Complex algorithms are then programmed to sift through this data and predict future outcomes. Data analysis in the cybersecurity space provides opportunities for detecting threats earlier, faster, and more effectively.