Research by the Federation of Small Businesses has found that SMEs are hit by 10,000 cyber attacks every day, with the number of firms hit by cyberattacks reaching over a million.
With an increasing number of technologies and sophisticated ploys adopted by cybercriminals, companies have to be extra vigilant in identifying attempted cyber attacks.
You can stop your business from becoming one of the millions of firms losing precious revenue to cyber-crime by making sure your staff is trained to prevent cyber-crime.
Whatever you do, total avoidance of cyber attacks is very difficult. However, what you can do is to make sure your staff knows how to identify and respond to cyberattacks, so the damage is mitigated.
Signs of Cyber Attack that your Staff needs to know
Cyber-criminals attempt to stay in your IT system for as long as possible. The more time they are there, the more data they can obtain, and therefore the more damage they can do. A crucial aspect of mitigating the damage of a cyber attack is spotting it early so that your response strategy can get to work.
A cyber-criminal may change the password to one of your staff members’ accounts. If they have, the employee will not be able to access their account with the usual password.
Your employees should know to immediately raise their suspicions at this point. A cyber-criminal will likely change the password resetting procedure on accounts they can access. Your staff needs to know how to immediately operate your response strategy if this occurs.
If your staff has a company account, they should constantly keep an eye on their balance and their statement. Cyber-criminals who have access to a company account have an incredibly easy way of extracting money from your business.
Your staff must keep an eye out for their balance decreasing unexpectedly, or payments appearing on the account statement that they have not made.
Luckily, this is relatively easy to fix and revenue loss will be minimal if spotted early. Most banks will be able to lock cyber-criminals out as soon as your member of staff makes them aware.
Many cyber-criminals now choose to control your data by encrypting it within your systems, while also copying it onto their own systems.
Around a third of businesses whose data is stolen but not encrypted pay the hackers’ ransom demands. But encryption means that only the cyber-criminal can access your data, making it much more likely for you to pay the ransom fee.
If your staff can spot files they cannot access with an unusual name or format, then they can catch the cyber-criminal red-handed. It must be noted that the dangers of your files becoming encrypted are almost entirely mitigated if you maintain proper backups.
Cyber-criminals working at getting into your systems will be very taxing on them. The rise in inactivity can cause a noticeable slowing of your networks.
A slowing of your network will especially be the case in a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. In a DDoS attack, a cyber-criminal will break into your systems by flooding them with extra traffic.
You have probably heard of the heavy DDoS attacks, which use illegitimate traffic on a vast scale with a devastating effect.
An attack in 2013, alleged to have been carried out by the web hoster Cyber Bunker was credited with slowing internet speeds worldwide. When attacking your business, a cyber-criminal is more likely to opt for a ‘low and slow approach.
Slow-rate DDoS attacks use a lower level of legitimate traffic and are much harder to detect. You should make sure your staff lets you and your IT team aware immediately if they think the network is running slower than normal.
You could also teach them to interpret real-time usage reports from the devices they use so they can see if your network is having to do an unusually high amount of work.
Training Staff to Prevent and Respond to Cyber Attack
Once your staff spots a cyberattack, they need to know how to respond to it. An effective response is all about having the best possible plan in place before the attack happens.
Your staff needs to know exactly who to contact if they find a cyber attack. They need to contact IT support services and teams to deal with the attack. But they also need to inform all your customers and the authorities of the attack as soon as possible.
Getting the right IT support to protect your systems during and after an attack takes time. Your staff should be trained to conduct the first response to a cyber attack.
They need to be prepared to shut down the current systems and launch their backups as quickly as possible. Using backups will protect your data and prevent the attack from spreading further.
However, the easiest way to mitigate the impact of cyber attacks on your business is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Cybersecurity experts claim that 90% of data breaches are due to human error.
The most important message to get across to your staff is constant vigilance. Cyber-criminals will often send your staff emails and links or ask for sensitive information.
If you can make sure staff is careful, then the scams, viruses, and phishing attempts done through email will not be successful. It is a great idea to encourage your staff to check via a simple phone call if the person sending the email is who they claim to be.
A Cyber Safe Future for Your Business
With the millions of cyber attacks that happen worldwide every year, there is a necessity for firms to implement a rapid response to limit the impact of cyberattacks.
But for a rapid response to be possible, the cyber attack will need to be spotted as soon as possible. And it is most likely to be spotted by the staff who work on your systems every day.
Alternatively, partner with an outsourced IT support team like MicroPro. They have advanced technologies and experience in managing cyber threats and can also train your staff in cybercrime detection.