According to recent data released by Check Point Software, the global landscape of cyberattacks experienced a sharp surge of 38% in 2022 compared to the previous year. Of note, North America bore the brunt of a 52% spike in these attacks, with Canada witnessing a 20% upswing.
The study attributes these alarming cyberattack statistics to the operations of nimble and compact hacker and ransomware groups that honed in on the vulnerabilities of collaborative tools frequently employed in remote work setups.
On a global scale, the top three prime sectors targeted in 2022 were:
- Education/research with an average of 2,314 weekly attacks per organization, a 43% increase from the previous year.
- Government/military with an average of 1,661 weekly attacks, a 46% increase from the previous year.
- Health care with an average of 1,463 weekly attacks, a 74% increase from the previous year.
What Makes an Organization Vulnerable to Cyberattacks?
Several factors can make a company vulnerable to cyberattacks. Cybercriminals often exploit weaknesses in an organization’s security infrastructure, human behaviours, and operational practices. Here are some key vulnerabilities:
- Outdated Software & Systems – Running outdated software, operating systems, or applications can leave vulnerabilities unpatched, as attackers are aware of known security flaws that can be exploited.
- Weak Passwords – Poor password practices, such as using weak passwords or reusing passwords across accounts, make it easier for attackers to gain unauthorized access.
- Lack of Employee Training – Insufficient cybersecurity awareness and training can lead employees to fall for phishing scams, click on malicious links, or unknowingly download malware.
- Insufficient Security Measures – Inadequate firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and antivirus software leave gaps in an organization’s defence mechanisms.
- Remote Work – The rise of remote work can introduce security risks if not properly managed, leading to unsecured devices accessing company networks and data.
- Third-party Risks – Partnering with third-party vendors who have weak security measures can expose an organization’s network to potential breaches.
- Lack of Data Encryption – Unencrypted sensitive data is an easy target for attackers who gain access to it.
- Phishing and Social Engineering – Cybercriminals use clever tactics to trick employees into revealing sensitive information or downloading malware.
- Inadequate Incident Response Plan – Without a well-defined plan for handling security incidents, companies can struggle to contain and mitigate attacks effectively.
- Insider Threats – Malicious or negligent actions by employees or contractors can lead to data breaches.
- Failure to Regularly Update and Patch – Neglecting to apply security updates and patches in a timely manner can leave vulnerabilities open to exploitation.
- Poor Network Segmentation – Not segmenting networks properly can allow attackers to move laterally across an organization’s systems once they gain initial access.
- Lack of Monitoring and Logging – Failing to monitor network traffic and maintain comprehensive logs makes it difficult to detect and respond to suspicious activities.
- Over-reliance on Compliance – Focusing solely on meeting regulatory requirements might not fully address all security vulnerabilities.
- Lack of Cybersecurity Culture – When cybersecurity isn’t a priority within an organization’s culture, employees might not take necessary precautions seriously.
- A Complex IT Infrastructure – A complex and interconnected IT environment can create blind spots that attackers can exploit.
Additionally, the report from Checkpoint Software raises a cautionary flag regarding the potential rise in cyberattack activities with the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT. These tools could potentially empower hackers to generate malicious code and emails at an accelerated and automated pace.
How to Protect Your Organization From Increasing Cyberattack Risks
With cyber threats evolving rapidly, implementing a robust cybersecurity strategy is essential to protect sensitive data, maintain operational continuity, and preserve your reputation. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to defend your organization against cyberattacks, including the role of Managed IT Services.
1. Educate Your Workforce
Invest in cybersecurity training for all employees. Teach them about phishing, social engineering, and best practices for password management. An educated workforce is your first line of defence.
2. Hire Managed IT Services
One of the most effective ways to protect your organization is by leveraging Managed IT Services. These services provide continuous monitoring, threat detection, and rapid incident response. Managed IT Service providers stay up to date with the latest threats and security measures, ensuring your organization’s systems are always protected.
Benefits of Managed IT Services:
- 24/7 Monitoring – Managed IT Services providers monitor your network round-the-clock, detecting and addressing threats before they escalate.
- Proactive Threat Detection – They employ advanced tools to identify and mitigate potential threats, often before you’re even aware of them.
- Regular Updates and Patching – Managed IT Services ensure that your systems are always up to date with the latest security patches, minimizing vulnerabilities.
- Data Backup and Recovery – Managed IT Services include robust backup solutions, ensuring data recovery in the event of a breach.
- Expertise and Consultation – You gain access to a team of experienced cybersecurity professionals who can provide guidance on best practices and security strategies.
3. Implement Strong Access Controls
Enforce strict access controls to limit employees’ access to only the data and systems they require for their roles. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security.
4. Regularly Update and Patch
Keep all software, operating systems, and applications up to date. Cybercriminals often exploit known vulnerabilities in outdated software.
5. Use Robust Antivirus and Firewalls
Deploy up-to-date antivirus software and firewalls to detect and block malicious activities. Regularly update these tools to stay ahead of new threats.
6. Data Encryption
Implement end-to-end encryption for sensitive data to ensure that even if it’s intercepted, it remains unreadable to unauthorized individuals.
7. Backup Data Regularly
Frequently backup critical data and systems to secure locations. In case of a cyberattack, you’ll have the ability to restore operations without paying a ransom.
8. Develop an Incident Response Plan
Prepare a well-defined plan that outlines steps to take in the event of a cyberattack. Assign roles and responsibilities to ensure a swift and effective response.
Hiring a Professional IT Services
Hiring professional IT services to manage your data security and prevent cyberattacks offers a proactive and comprehensive approach to safeguarding your organization’s digital assets. At Ironclad Tek, our skilled professionals possess the expertise to implement robust security measures, conduct thorough risk assessments, and stay updated on the latest cyber threats.
By entrusting the responsibility of data security to professional IT services, you can focus on core business operations while enjoying peace of mind that your systems are being actively monitored, vulnerabilities are being addressed, and potential threats are being detected and mitigated.
Our ability to deploy advanced technologies, provide round-the-clock monitoring, and execute rapid incident response ensures that your organization remains resilient against the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.