March 03, 2022

What is Cyber Security and why is it important?

Cyber security is the application of technologies, processes and regulations to protect systems, networks, devices, data and ultimately your business from cyber-attacks. In short, cyber security’s core function is to prevent unauthorised access to the vast amounts of confidential information we store, on everything from smartphones and laptops, to servers and cloud networks.

Cyber security is important because smartphones, computers and the internet are a fundamental part of modern life. From online banking and customer data, to email addresses and social media, it's more critical than ever to prevent cyber criminals from hacking our accounts, data and devices.

Thousands of online systems are compromised daily – most commonly in an attempt to steal money or confidential information.

It’s never been more important to protect your business from the threat of a data breach since the legal introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Companies who overlook their data protection responsibilities now face the possibility of huge fines, as well as reputational damage.

Did you know the average cost of a data breach was USD 4.24M? [1]

It’s important to identify and know how to confidently handle any physical threats, both in the office and with remote workforces.

Safeguarding the sensitive information of your customers, clients and staff ensures your business doesn’t fall victim to the crippling fines – and reputational damage – handed out by the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC).


Cyber Security Best Practices

These 8 steps to cyber security includes a comprehensive rundown of the best practices your business should adhere to. By following these simple steps, you are well on your way to minimising the risk of your company’s confidential data being compromised.

1. Set up a risk management regime
2. Install or improve network security
3. Use strong passwords
4. Avoid public wi-fi
5. Stay safe on social media
6. Improve user education and awareness
7. Use hard drive & media destruction services
8. Protect smartphones & other devices

Cyber Security Threats & How to Combat Them

Cyber criminals are constantly on the look out for new ways to steal your confidential data. However, there are key cyber security threats you must be able to identify, to protect your customers, clients and company.

1. Phishing

The most common tactic used by cyber criminals is phishing. By using social sites or email, scammers will convince users to click on misleading links or provide confidential information. If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. So, check the senders email address and don’t trust anything that looks even slightly suspicious.

2. Malware

If a victim of phishing does end up initiating a download, there is a good chance the program received is harmful. Malware comes in many forms, tasked with anything from spying on systems to manipulating code. Antivirus and antimalware software are essential to protecting your devices from malicious malware.

3. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

A distributed denial-of-service attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted server or network by overwhelming the target with a flood of internet traffic. To combat DDoS attacks, you need an action plan, as well as DDoS prevention and mitigation solutions and software.

4. Brute Force or Password Attacks

Password attacks involve hackers attempting to gain access to a network by using a program to find a working password. Therefore, it’s vitally important to use strong, unique passwords on all of your systems and devices. 

Threats to Remote Workforces

Since the start of the global pandemic, there has been a sharp rise in Covid-19-related phishing and fraud scams. Remote work due to COVID-19 increased the average cost, which was USD 1.07 million higher in breaches where remote work was a factor in causing the breach, compared to those where remote work was not a factor. [1]

Physical Data Threats & How to Combat Them

Since the introduction of the EU’s GDPR, there are signs many companies are complying with the legislation. However, a common mistake for businesses is to overlook the threat of physical data.

Desks overflowing with documents, boxes piling up in storage and filing cabinets that haven’t been organised in years don’t only make your office look untidy, they also represent a very real risk to your business.
Does your business:
1. Use locked filing cabinets for financial data and other sensitive material?
2. Have secure, off-site storage for documents that you are legally required to retain?
3. Prohibit the use of unsecure recycling bins at employees’ workstations?
4. Have secure shredding containers for safely disposing of documents?
5. Securely destroy old hard drives once they are no longer needed?
6. Have a secure remote working policy in place?

If you answered no to any of these questions, your business is at risk of a data breach. Shred-it has a range of secure shredding services, such as secure paper disposal and hard drive destruction, to meet your needs to safely dispose of confidential information and avoid the risk of a fine and reputational damage.

The Cost of a Data Breach

Data breach costs rose from USD 3.86 million to USD 4.24 million in 2021, the highest average total cost in 17 years. [1]Regardless of your industry, the impact of a data breach can fare far worse than fines.  

Protect Your Business with Shred-it

Shred-it protects what matters and what matters to us is the security of your business. By following cyber security best practices, combined with our specialty shredding services, you can give your company every chance to avoid a cyber-attack, the resulting fines and reputational damage. In addition, Shred-it’s shredding services can assist in reducing the risk of a data breach when working from home.

To learn more about how we can protect the confidential information of your customers and clients, contact us for a no obligation quote. Our team can provide efficient, expert recommendations on how to reduce the risk of a data breach and to help keep your business compliant with the GDPR.

[1] Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021

Disclaimer: This article is provided for your convenience and does not constitute legal advice. Readers should not take, or refrain from taking, actions based upon the content of this article. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes. Please seek professional legal advice.