As more and more business operations remain remote, cybersecurity has become more important than ever. As a matter of fact, one statistic that has come out of the COVID era for organizations is particularly alarming. Since COVID-19’s impact in 2020, cybercrime attacks including phishing, ransomware, identity theft and fraud have increased 600%. Which begs the question, is your organization as protected as it should be?
A six-fold increase would indicate an incredible amount of cybersecurity attacks within the past year. Of course organizations had been investing into their cybersecurity budgets prior to these attacks, but just how effective had their investments been? Considering, on average, an organization will spend nearly $2.4 million dollars to defend themselves against these attacks, one would hope they’d be well protected. However, some organizations have reported they’ve still been compromised despite these investments. Those that have been compromised report their data became inaccessible for upwards of a week.
Information technology professionals for organizations across the globe seem to be cautious regarding these attacks. Unfortunately, though, what they report is startling. Nearly half of these professionals indicate that their organizations remain vulnerable to these attacks. This vulnerability leads to countless attacks throughout the world. One in four organizations who had invested into their cybersecurity efforts will still be targeted. In fact, nearly nine in ten organizations have indicated that they were the target of some form of ransomware attack in the past year.
While organizations as a whole are at risk, the most common targets of these attacks are an organization’s executives. This is largely in part due to the fact that executives will have the highest-level clearance and thus access to the most sensitive data an organization possess. An entire organization could come crumbling down if any executive isn’t careful when it comes to these attacks. An investment into cybersecurity is important but keeping executives safe is ultimately more important.
So how can organizations go about protecting their executives? First things first, it’s important to evaluate the ways in which an executive’s data might be put in jeopardy. Beginning with different social media profiles, professional networking channels or even old blog pages or posts that may contain sensitive data should be removed. Personal information in particular should remain as private as possible in these instances, as attackers are more likely to target executives they believe to be most vulnerable. This vulnerability is often determined by how much information is available online. Encourage executives to remain low profile on these networks when possible for their safety.
While the removal of sensitive data online is a great first step, there is another great way of protecting executives. It comes in the form of education. These executives should be made aware of what ransomware or phishing attempts might look like. It’s true some of these attacks may seem genuine at first glance, but attention to detail is what will truly protect these executives. They must be able to determine, on their own, what is truly harmless in regards to communications. Executives should avoid opening any e-mails from senders not included in their contact lists. It’s probably within their best interest to avoid e-mails with deceiving text or phrases as well. Always remain cautious when opening links from e-mails and most importantly executives should refrain from sharing any of their confidential information over these messages.
Ensuring the safety of executives is a challenge. For more strategies fit to do so, be sure to check out the infographic accompanying this post. of Cancom Global Security.