7 Common IT Risks to Business and How to Combat Them

An increasing reliance on technology, and the fact we are all living and working in a progressively digital world, inevitably means that whilst we can enjoy many benefits in terms of operational productivity and business growth, there are more and more threats to deal with. Being on your guard and prepared to deal with the biggest risks is vital. But what are those risks, and how to deal with them?


Every day, new IT related risks and cyber security threats are evolving and putting businesses at risk. A survey conducted by the World Economic Forum revealed that cyber-attacks are top of the worry list for executives in Europe and other developed nations.


The trouble is that cyber criminals don’t just hack emails. They are now capable of bringing entire systems down and holding organisations to ransom. This is precisely why it is so important to be aware of how these criminals can take hold and pose a threat. To know what the IT risks to business are, and to respond with a robust IT risk management strategy.


Let’s take a look at the top IT risks for business.


1.   Social Engineering


Social engineering is a tactic that involves gaining the trust of an individual, ahead of launching some form of cyber-attack.


This could be anything from mass spam phishing, to voice phishing or spear phishing, or whaling, which targets high value targets. Angler phishing is social media based, with attackers imitating a trusted organisation’s customer service department. Conversations are sparked, when are then hijacked and diverted to private messages, where the attacks are advanced.


Search engine phishing places links to fake websites top of the search results, whilst URL phishing uses tactics to mask web links so they look genuine. There’s also in-session phishing that interrupts regular web browsing with the likes of fake login pop-ups.


Baiting attacks take advantage of natural curiosity to coax individuals into giving away sensitive information. Strategies include USB flash drives left in public places, or email attachments offering something for free.


Social engineering is on the rise and, unfortunately, even the most robust cyber security measures are no match. But with a good dose of employee education, and some clearly laid out processes, you can boost the battle.


2.   Third-Party Exposure


Whilst you may have your cyber-security, data protection and IT risk management policies off-pat, there still remains the risk of third party exposure.


If you use third parties for the likes of payment processing or bookings management, and those parties are subject to a data breach or cyber-attack, then you will be responsible for that breach or attack should your customers be affected. This means that you will be legally and financially liable, and legally required to notify your regulators, as well as facing the potential of fines and penalties.


It is therefore vital to take steps to monitor the policies and procedures of third party suppliers, and to do your due diligence on their commitment to cyber and data security.


3.   Failure to Manage Updates


A large proportion of cyber-attacks occur due to outdated software and operating systems.


If you fail to install updates and the latest software patches, then your organisation will become seriously vulnerable to all sorts of security breaches.


Cyber criminals actively seek holes in software security, so be sure to keep on top of all your updates.


4.   Bring Your Own Device Working


The trend for allowing staff to work from their own familiar devices may have increased productivity, flexibility and employee satisfaction. But it has brought with it heightened exposure to cyber security breaches.


With personal devices often falling off the radar of organisation cyber security protocols, and often easier to hack, this can leave them exposed to security breaches, and acting as a route in to company networks.


It is therefore crucial to put a BYOD policy in place, and ensure that all staff are adequately informed and trained to minimise the risks involved.


5.   Remote Working


With so many employees working from home, the risk for cyber-attacks has increased. As staff log in to networks remotely, so there are more opportunities for attackers to find in-roads.


Setting up a virtual private network (VPN) is essential to secure the connections made into your organisation’s systems.


6.   Internet of Things (IoT)


The Internet of Things is a network of connected devices that can send, receive and store data. From voice assistants to smart security, from wireless inventory trackers to connected appliances, the fact that all these devices are capable of producing data, and that they are all connected to the internet, poses a risk in itself.


With hackers increasingly finding ways to compromise IoT connected devices to steal data, it is crucial that steps are taken to protect these devices, such as setting secure passwords.


7.   Outdated Hardware


Software and operating systems are not always responsible for cyber-attacks. As ageing hardware becomes obsolete, it becomes unable to support newer, more secure security measures. This can put company systems and its data at risk.


Monitoring devices and replacing or upgrading hardware on a regular basis is therefore vital.


Cyber security threats are showing any signs of abating. If anything, they are on the rise, and becoming more and more intricate, leading to more devastating consequences. It is therefore imperative for businesses to take active steps to protect their data and networks courtesy of good IT risk management strategies.


Expert cyber security support from PC Docs


At PC Docs we offer a comprehensive package of cyber security solutions, all of which can be tailored to suit your specific levels of IT risk.


From anti-malware and adware protection, to firewall and antivirus systems and other software, our services cover the entire spectrum of IT risks. We also offer tailored guidance on good IT risk management.


To learn how we can help safeguard your organisation against all the latest IT risks, you are welcome to get in touch.

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