COVID and Data Breaches: What You Need to Know to Stay Protected

The coronavirus pandemic began its rampage across the globe in 2020, causing mass disruption of supply chains, business processes, and economies while prompting consumers and business owners alike to change their behaviors — potentially forever.

And behind the scenes of this disorder, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the turmoil to uncover new targets and pick off low-hanging fruit — namely, companies too busy trying to stay solvent to worry about cybersecurity.

The link between COVID and data breaches is significant. Global news has seen a proliferation of data breach-related stories, with some even concluding that coronavirus has unleashed a “cyber pandemic” of attacks.

Before we discuss what you can do to stay protected, let’s take a closer look at hacker activity related to COVID.

The Link Between COVID and Data Breaches

The disruption perpetuated by COVID has created a much larger attack surface for cybercriminals.

As businesses shift their attention to dealing with new business processes, such as moving toward a remote work environment and the development of practices that emphasize consumer safety, such as curbside pickup, they reduce their focus on cybersecurity.

Clever hackers are taking advantage of this blind spot, by deploying tried-and-true methods to delve into your sensitive business data, such as:

  • Taking advantage of increased workloads that have caused employees to make more errors in sharing and protecting data
  • The move to a remote workplace where employees are working from their own homes allows for easier hacking of stolen credentials
  • Ransomware is being deployed at a higher rate to take advantage of weaker security protocols
  • Phishing emails, particularly those playing on emotions, have spiked, contributing to over 67% of breaches

These and other tactics take aim squarely at the root of most cybersecurity issues — lack of oversight and lack of employee education regarding appropriate data protection.

What You Can Do to Stay Protected from Cyber Attacks

Cyberattacks are not going away any time soon. In fact, they are predicted to continue to rise as we move through 2021.

To keep your business safer, consider one or more of the following tips:

  • Educate your employees on proper security hygiene and ensure they understand the many ways hackers may attempt to access data.
  • Close security gaps by planning a response to a cyberattack and practicing implementation.
  • Strengthen your security perimeter by using proven monitoring and detection protocols.
  • Limit access to your data using remote access control policies and deploying security measures such as two-factor authentication, limiting remote desktop access, monitoring connections from remote network nodes, and whitelisting IP addresses.
  • Protect endpoints such as mobile phones, desktop and laptop computers, printers, tablets, and other devices using appropriate security software and monitoring programs.
  • Ensure all hardware and software are up to date with the latest security patches.
  • Secure all externally facing applications using authentication tools

If this seems too overwhelming, or if your business has a small or nonexistent IT department, continue working with a trusted managed services provider to keep your security measures current.

Trust Virginia Business Systems for Your Cybersecurity Needs

As cyberattacks increase, more small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are at risk of a data breach. And yet, so many smaller businesses do not have the internal resources necessary to create and successfully deploy a detailed cybersecurity program.

At Virginia Business Systems (VBS), we have a team of IT professionals standing by to help you keep your business protected from malicious incursions that can pose risks to your data, your compliance level, and your business’ solvency.

Our managed network services and device management programs can bring you the power of state-of-the-art technology coupled with industry-forward knowledge to keep your data safe and secure, while making it easily available to those who need it.

We will expertly assess your current infrastructure to identify both vulnerabilities and needs, then create, implement, and manage a program to keep your equipment up to date with the latest security protocols and your data protected from malicious actors.

Move into 2021 with more security and confidence. Contact an VBS representative now and get started with a cybersecurity plan that can keep your business — and your data — safe.

February 15th 2021