Cybersecurity has become an essential consideration for both large and small organizations because their systems and networks store valuable information. Businesses in every sector have found themselves facing the repercussions of a cyberattack, including lawsuits, reputational damage, and the cost of repairing any damage incurred by a data breach.
If your organization does not have a cohesive cybersecurity strategy, your company will not have adequate protection from cybercriminals. In 2021, 64% of companies across the globe experienced a cyberattack. Industries such as finance, education, and healthcare are particularly targeted due to the valuable data that their systems store.
As almost every industry makes the shift to remote, digital processes, computer security has become a vital component of ensuring that your organization remains successful. If you’re not familiar with computer security, the information below will help you implement a secure data protection strategy.
What Is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is the process of protecting and recovering computer networks, systems, devices, and programs from cyberattacks. However, the increased utilization of smartphones and other connected devices creates security vulnerabilities that did not exist in past decades.
In recent years, cybercrime has become increasingly prevalent, and organizations of all sizes must implement systems to protect their sensitive information. This can be a major task — as technology becomes more sophisticated, cybercriminals are also resorting to more advanced methods, such as social engineering or using artificial intelligence to breach data security controls.
Many organizations are eliminating traditional manual-based processes that require paperwork and storing the vast majority of their information on technological devices. While this is beneficial for efficiency and communication, these shifts can increase the risk of a cyberattack, particularly when sensitive data is not adequately protected or destroyed. So as organizations become increasingly dependent on digital technologies and processes, cybersecurity is more important than ever.
Which Industries Are Most Vulnerable to Cyberattacks?
Hospitals and other organizations within the healthcare industry are particularly vulnerable to a cyberattack because they store a massive amount of sensitive patient data. In 2021, 45 million individuals were affected by a healthcare attack.
When hackers attempt to gain access to this confidential data and sell it, they can find creative ways to invade systems. For example, smart medical devices such as x-rays, defibrillators, insulin pumps, and more can be easy entry points for hackers. Cybercriminals use these devices as back doors into computer systems.
Furthermore, healthcare staff often need to access sensitive information remotely, which further increases the risk that data will fall victim to an attack.
Steep ransomware payments and an increased workload due to the pandemic place great strain on the healthcare industry. Cyberattacks may also inhibit revenue generation, particularly when cybercriminals compromise the organization’s ability to charge patients if financial systems are inaccessible.
As such, healthcare businesses must take great care to institute cybersecurity, which may include measures such as traditional firewalls, self-protecting data, or safe data destruction with ITAD services.
According to the IBM Cost of Data Breach Report 2021, the average cost of a data breach in the financial sector is $5.72 million. Financial institutions are an attractive target for attackers simply because they have access to large amounts of financial data and other information that cyberattackers can sell.
Since the pandemic, financial institutions have experienced an increase in digital transactions, further elevating the risk of data breaches. Data breaches within the financial sector have already increased dramatically, and experts predict that current trends will worsen.
Right now, malicious techniques such as phishing and ransomware attacks are on the rise. Furthermore, financial institutions are at great risk of criminals stealing their data from outdated or unwanted electronic devices, demanding that these IT assets be disposed of safely and securely.
The education and research industry is a primary target for cybercriminals. As with many other industries, the education sector shifted to using online processes almost exclusively in the past year. In many cases, this involves private networks being accessed by faculty and students’ personal devices, which may have insufficient security measures in place.
These increasing vulnerabilities put schools in a precarious position, as cybercriminals are able to access their systems and steal personally identifiable information (PII) — which may include financial details, Social Security numbers, names, and addresses.
When cybercriminals access the PII of students and faculty, it can lead to costly lawsuits. Furthermore, ransomware attacks are a major threat to educational institutions with limited budgets.
How Organizations Can Protect Themselves Against Cybercrime
Secure Network Devices
Computer security begins with installing security software. When choosing security software, ensure that the software includes anti-spyware, anti-spam, and antivirus software. Installing a firewall that protects your organization’s internal networks is also beneficial. After installing security software, program the system to update automatically. Each software update reduces the likelihood of experiencing a cyberattack because these updates fix any security flaws within the system.
Establish Secure Policies and Procedures
Early on, establish cybersecurity policies so that staff understands how to use their IT equipment responsibly. Your organization’s IT policy should include guidelines about where staff can use data, computers and devices, emails, and the internet. You should also implement data sharing policies and training programs that educate staff about choosing the correct passwords, identifying a cyberthreat, and how they should report a cyberthreat if it happens to occur.
Work with an ITAD Provider
IT asset disposition, also known as ITAD, is the process of safely disposing of unwanted IT equipment and hardware. Since organizations need to regularly update their computers and other IT equipment, they often find themselves left with outdated electronics. When this equipment reaches its end of life, companies need to dispose of it properly to uphold environmental regulations and data security. Certified ITAD providers ensure that all sensitive information is thoroughly wiped from all electronic assets so that your sensitive data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
Keep Your Data Secure with FAMCe
Regardless of your industry, protecting your organization’s data is crucial to your survival as a business. The effects of a data breach can be devastating. Reputational damage may be irreparable, the loss of customer and employee data will affect your organization for years to come, and the financial losses incurred are steep. This is why organizations must take every precaution possible to avoid a data breach. Luckily, the ITAD providers at FAMCe are here to support your efforts.
If you’re ready to take care of e-waste at your business, First America Metal Corp. (FAMCe) can help. FAMCe has over 30 years of experience assisting organizations with the secure destruction and recycling of their outdated electronics, providing data security solutions for various devices. Our high level of expertise and exceptional customer service have built our reputation as the leading company for your ITAD needs.
Want to recycle your old devices with confidence? Contact FAMCe today for e-waste disposal that’s ethical and secure.