By Jacob Wilson on Dec 3, 2019 8:15:00 AM
As the world wide web continues to grow and evolve, and as more and more websites start to appear in the online world, the threat of cyber attacks, scams, and data leaks rises as a result. The more consumers venture into the online realm and the more they start to give their personal information to online businesses, the higher the chances that someone out there will try to get a hold of sensitive customer data in order to sell it.
The reasons behind a scam or a cyber attack can be numerous. What matters is that you need to prioritize your cybersecurity strategy in order to safeguard your company’s reputation in the competitive market.
As 2019 slowly draws to a close, it’s time to take a look at the biggest cyber threats that companies will have to prepare for in 2020. Here’s what you need to know.
Phishing attacks and social engineering
In 2020, phishing scams and social engineering attacks will continue to dominate the world of cybersecurity, meaning that forward-looking brands need to upgrade existing security measures and develop new ones to battle the threat.
Simply put, the measures that worked in previous years might not continue to yield the same results in 2020 and beyond, because not only are scammers refining their tactics, they're also investing in advanced tools that may trick current algorithms. Needless to say, this can pose a grave threat to your employees as well as your customers.
The first and best solution to prevent phishing attacks is to invest heavily in employee training and education on relevant cybersecurity measures and data management. Make sure to take a personalized approach, and check if every employee understands how to store and handle data.
You can also integrate AI-driven solutions that will monitor emails and communication for links, keywords, and specific terms that are indicative of a phishing attack, in order to warn you and your employees ahead of time.
Exploring firewall weaknesses
Hackers and online scammers are constantly probing company firewalls for weaknesses and possible entryways, which is why you have to always stay one step ahead.
Come 2020, updating your firewall on a regular basis will become more important than ever before because hackers will have already found ways to exploit outdated databases and infiltrate infrastructures running on these old firewalls. However, updating your firewall and integrating new software solutions might not be enough to prevent cyber attacks.
It’s important that you consider upgrading to a hardware firewall system in order to improve the monitoring and filtering of both inbound and outbound traffic and position a physical barrier between the public web and your internal company structure. A hardware firewall will grant you complete control and allow you to decide exactly which type of traffic can and cannot reach your server, and give you the ability to configure a set of rules that can be applied to all traffic.
Unrecognized and sudden data leaks
Data leaks are every business leader’s worst nightmare, especially the ones that happen suddenly, or without any warning. Most of the time, data leaks can be avoided, but you have to take a more proactive approach to data protection and monitoring if you are to prevent such a scenario.
To avoid data leaks in 2020 and the years to come, especially as scammers and hackers become more proficient in their trade, you need to integrate a holistic internet behavior management solution.
Companies have already started implementing such solutions as a secure web gateway system in industries that have high volatility and a high risk of cyber attacks in order to effectively monitor web traffic, minimize distractions in the workplace, block non-work-related websites, and protect the company’s data stores from leaks.
This type of countermeasure becomes essential as cyber attacks become more nuanced and refined, and as hackers continue to invest resources into more sophisticated tools.
IoT-based cyber attacks
We live in a world of seamless connectivity, and it’s interesting to note that companies around the world are increasingly embracing the Internet of Things revolution and creating completely connected work environments.
Sure, a smart office that can be controlled via a smartphone app or a smart hub is a great idea for improving productivity and employee satisfaction. But it also opens numerous opportunities for advanced cyber attacks to take place.
In the years to come, proficient hackers will continue to exploit those small security loopholes found in some smart devices, allowing themselves full access to business networks once hijacked. This means that you need to make sure you have a full list of all connected devices, that you manage the access privileges of all devices, and that you update all of these devices regularly.
Attacking old accounts
When an employee leaves your company, your first order of business should be to delete their account from your system. If you choose to transfer their account to a new employee, then you have to create a new password in order to prevent people from entering your system from outside the company.
Old accounts and passwords get regularly exploited by disgruntled employees or scammers, so be sure to use a password management tool and to check all of your active accounts and activity on a daily basis.
Investing in cybersecurity measures has become more important than ever before, and for a number of important reasons. While some of your existing solutions may stand the test of time, keep in mind that you should integrate advanced solutions in order to stop nefarious online activity dead in its tracks.
Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.