Cyberattacks are a huge issue for American business owners. In fact, in a recent letter addressed to corporate executives and business leaders, the White House emphasized that bolstering the nation’s resilience against cyberattacks is a main priority for President Joe Biden’s administration. Specifically, as ransomware attacks continue to rise in both cost and frequency throughout the country, the federal government is urging businesses to take this evolving cyber threat seriously.
As a Texas business owner, there are several precautions you can take to heed this advice and prevent cyberattacks from plaguiging your business. Keep reading to learn the exact steps you can take to protect yourself and your business.
Below we’ll outline:
- The Current State of Cyberattacks
- Who is at Risk for Cyber Crimes?
- How to Protect Your Texas Business against Cyberattacks
The Current State of Cyberattacks
Before we can talk about prevention, we need to discuss the current risks. The reality is, cyber threats are on the rise and have been since 2020. The latest research indicated that ransomware attacks have increased by nearly 150% in the past year alone.
The attacks spiked as the fear and chaos of COVID-19, combined with the transition to remote work. These conditions created a perfect storm and provided an abundance of opportunities for cybercriminals.
Now, more than ever, it’s vital to prioritize cyber security.
Who is at Risk for Cyber Crimes?
Advisen data shows Health care, manufacturing and public administration accounted for half of all ransomware attacks in 2020 and the beginning of 2021.
This is a shift from 2019 when public administration and educational services were the dominant industries facing ransomware attacks and 2018 where public administration and healthcare saw the greatest frequency of attacks.
This doesn’t mean that other businesses are out of the woods though. These cyberattacks—which entail a cybercriminal deploying malicious software to compromise a business’s network or sensitive data and demand a large payment be made before restoring this technology or information—have quickly become a growing concern across industry lines and the damage can be devastating.
Business interruption losses arising from these attacks can be quite severe, leading some companies to pay extremely high ransoms in order to make their businesses operational once more. The median cyberattack ransom payment demand totaled $178,000 and the average overall loss from such an attack exceeded $1 million!
How to Protect Your Texas Business against Cyberattacks
In the White House Ransomware Prevention Guide, they recommended that businesses convene with their senior leadership teams to review their ransomware exposures and implement these top cybersecurity measures:
- Utilize the federal government’s best practices. Businesses should be sure to incorporate the best practices outlined in the Biden administration’s Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity. This includes the following practices:
- Implementing multi factor authentication on all workplace technology
- Leveraging endpoint detection and response tools to identify and deter suspicious network activity
- Encrypting sensitive data to make it less accessible to cybercriminals
- Developing a trusted and skilled workplace cybersecurity team
- Conduct frequent data backups. In addition to the federal government’s best practices, businesses should also prioritize securely backing up all sensitive data, images and other important files on a regular basis. Conducting such backups can help businesses remain operational and continue to access crucial data in the event that any workplace technology is compromised in a ransomware attack. Data backups should remain offline (not connected to key business networks) and be routinely tested.
- Maintain updated security software. To help safeguard workplace technology from ransomware threats, businesses should equip their systems and devices with adequate security software—such as antivirus programs, firmware protections and firewalls. Further, this software must be regularly updated to remain effective. That being said, businesses should also consider utilizing centralized patch management systems to keep security software on a consistent update schedule.
- Ensure an effective incident response plan. All businesses should have cyber incident response plans in place. These plans outline proper response protocols and offer steps for minimizing potential damages during cyberattacks. Businesses should make sure to include several ransomware attack scenarios within their response plans and routinely test these scenarios with their cybersecurity teams. Based on test results, businesses should revise their response plans accordingly.
- Review workplace cybersecurity protocols. Apart from testing their response plans, businesses should also regularly assess whether their existing workplace cybersecurity policies, procedures and software are sufficient in protecting against current risks—such as ransomware threats. In particular, businesses should consider using a third-party penetration tester to review their ransomware defense tactics and overall cybersecurity capabilities. Businesses should work with their trusted cybersecurity teams and IT experts to make workplace adjustments as needed (e.g., updating policies or purchasing new security software).
- Keep critical networks separated. In order to keep ransomware attacks from fully disrupting their operations, businesses should attempt to segment their various workplace networks (e.g., sales, production and corporate) from one another rather than having a unified network. Access to each network should be restricted to those who use them to conduct their job tasks. Networks should only allow internet access as needed. That way, businesses can avoid becoming completely compromised by single-network ransomware attacks and continue performing critical functions.
Protect Your Business with Pasadena Insurance Agency
Cyber liability coverage is available for any business, small and large, nonprofit organizations, and retailers. You may be able to save on costs by bundling coverage with another policy to create a comprehensive suite of business liability coverages.
We can help you assess the risks to your Texas business and get you the protection you need in today’s data-reliant world. Contact us today, and we'll help you protect what matters most. Click here to learn more about Cyber Liability Insurance and request a FREE quote.
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