5 Cyber Security Threats for SMBs to Watch in 2016

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  • December 30, 2015
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As 2015 winds to a close, pundits and publishers are making predictions about what to expect next year in the realm of cyber security. Editors at ITBusinessEdge had this summary to offer:

“2014 was known as The Year of the Breach. It could be that 2015 will be known as The Year of the Really Big Breaches… If nothing else, the year that is ending was the one when everyone, from executives to the average citizen, became aware of how much damage a cyberattack can cause.”

And the impact of that damage is growing larger and larger year after year. The Ponemon Institute’s2015 Cost of Cyber Crime Study” found that a benchmark sample of U.S. organizations experienced an average cost of cybercrime of $15 million. Now, if you’re assuming Ponemon researchers focused solely on big corporations, think again. The study also reached this conclusion shared by DARKReading’s Erica Chickowski:

“While annualized cost increases as organizational size increases, small organizations incur more than double the per-capita cost than large organization, experiencing $1,571 in costs per seat compared to a larger organization’s $667 per seat.”

How can leaders of small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) help their organizations escape this escalating trend? One way is staying abreast of cyber security threats with particularly dire implications for SMBs. Here are five from a recent ITBusinessEdge article we believe are worth tracking:

  • Ransomware – We’ve covered ransomware as a cyber threat several times on this blog, and the risk isn’t getting any smaller. According to current estimates from the Cyber Threat Alliance, damage by one type of ransomware alone, CryptoWall, is up 1800% since June 2015. Our post “Rebuff Ransomware with 3 Simple Security Steps” gives a succinct set of countermeasures to protect SMBs.
  • Social Engineering – Study after study cites humans as the weakest link in the cyber security chain of defenses. So, experts believe more cyber crooks will begin scanning social media for over-shared information that can be used to craft highly effective spear phishing
  • Cloud Security – More and more SMBs are moving to the cloud. So, more and more SMB leaders need to think about cloud vulnerabilities. A good start would be reading our post “Are Dark Shadows Clouding Your Network Security?
  • Wearable TechWearable devices aren’t as omnipresent as smartphones, but the category is on its way to the same ubiquitous proportions. Tech research giant IDC predicts the wearables market will grow at a 45% annual rate from now until 2019. And as these devices multiply, so will concerns about security and privacy. After all, wearables – especially devices in the health and fitness sector – monitor our every move and send that data through wireless networks – including office Wi-Fi – on a nearly continuous basis. ITBusinessEdge editors call the situation a “perfect storm for personal data breaches.”
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) – Another trend that we’ve covered here a few times, and another tech phenomenon – like wearables – that increases cyber risks by increasing the amount and detail of data flying between networks.

Count on us to keep you apprised of developments in these areas and many more in 2016.

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ITinflections is a blog that covers a wide range of technology-based articles IT in the workplace, focusing on small- to medium-sized businesses.

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