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Top 4 Cyber Risks and Predictions for 2021

In 2021, businesses large and small face increasing odds for potential losses due to cyber risks. On the upside, your company operates using critical data management and information systems that streamline processes, increase productivity, and lower the costs of doing business. The downside is as your continued reliance on your organization’s communications and data management systems grows, your exposure to significant losses from cyber risks also increases.

Unfortunately, too many business owners fail to understand cyber risks go well beyond sensational data breaches and ransomware attacks. Cyber risks present real and present threats to any business as they are, not just events that happen to large companies with massive databases. That said, the shocking reality is every business has exposure to potentially crippling losses due to cyber risks. 

Cyber Security Requires Vigilance All-Around

Cyber risks come from both internal and external events. The trigger is not always deliberate and intentional, as with ransomware or a hacking attack designed to access and compromise sensitive information. Cyber risks can also occur as unintentional acts due to user error. Cybercriminals, employees, vendors, and others with network access also present severe loss threats to a company’s technological infrastructure and reputation. 

Cyber Risks to Protect Against in 2021

The pandemic hastened the trend of hiring remote workers and converting current employees to work at home. Unfortunately, the speed in adapting to a remote workforce caught many companies off guard, leaving them ill-prepared to manage and support a network of remote employees. Cyber bandits seized the opportunity to exploit weaknesses by launching ransomware, phishing, and social engineering attacks against a target’s weakest links and security systems gaps. These types of attacks will continue to grow in the coming months.

BYOD/BYOT/BYOP/BYOPC Create Soft Targets

According to Wikipedia, Bring your own device (BYOD) —also called bring your own technology (BYOT), bring your own phone (BYOP), and bring your own personal computer (BYOPC)—refers to being allowed to use one’s personally owned device, rather than being required to use an officially provided device.

An example of BYOD as a soft target happens when a company allows its employees, partners, and affiliated participants to use their own devices, software, and technology for work-related activities. Overriding the convenience and cost savings is that most companies with such practices do not provide or enforce malware protections on devices out of their control. The lack of preparation and failure to make ready for allowing unprotected devices into the network and workplace creates new openings for cybercriminals to exploit.

VPNs Are Among the Weakest Links

As more companies turn to use Virtual Private Networks (VPN) for security measures in 2021, they also inadvertently create new problems for employees, weaknesses in their security infrastructure, and opportunities for cybercriminals to manipulate. Inherent issues with VPNs include system lag or latency, which impedes productivity and lowers morale. VPNs often make it too simple for employees, vendors, and others to access critical internal resources. An unpatched or outdated VPN is an open invitation for bad actors to use for ransomware attacks.

Business Process Compromises (BPC) Are Silent but Costly Attacks

BPC attacks are sophisticated and designed to fly under the radar of most companies. A BPC requires thorough knowledge of a company’s internal systems and processes. By accessing and slightly altering programs or machines, money is siphoned with such discretion; it is hard to detect any out-of-ordinary processes. In the most effective BPC attacks, the system or process operates as usual while silently draining the business’s money. Typical areas that BPCs target includes invoicing, purchasing, payments, account management, and manufacturing operations. 

Internet of Things (IoT) Vulnerabilities in 2021

The continued growth of IoT along with the rollout of 5G technology make for promising development for consumers and businesses. Weaknesses ripe for exploitation come with advancements most would find unbelievable until recently. Smartphones, smart homes, and buildings, driven by increasingly powerful artificial intelligence applications, make life easier and more convenient for their human users. Beyond and partly due to their convenience, IoT devices and programs make tempting targets for ransomware attacks along with data protection and privacy concerns.

Now Is the Best Time to Add or Update Your Cyber Insurance

Typically, cyber policies are written to provide coverage for the following:

  • Forensic investigation to determine the cause of the breach/cyber attack
  • Notification expenses to alert affected customers that their personal information was compromised
  • Credit monitoring services for affected customers
  • Public relations for crisis management
  • Legal services to help you meet state and federal regulations
  • Lawsuits related to customer or employee privacy and security
  • Regulatory fines from state and federal agencies (for example, HIPAA violations for medical offices)

Our highly experienced staff at Dickstein Associates Agency will use their expertise to work closely with you. The goal is to design coverages to meet your specific business and industry needs and provide them to you at competitive rates. 

About Dickstein Associates Agency

Dickstein Associates Agency has distinguished itself as a leading provider of personal and business insurance in the tri-state area for over 55 years. We pride ourselves on being advocates for our clients and providing them with quality and affordable coverages. As an independent insurance agency, we partner with various carriers, allowing for flexible and unbiased coverage for each client’s unique circumstances. For more information on how you can leverage all of your insurance to work best for you, and how we can secure the best insurance in the marketplace based on your specific needs, contact us today at (800) 862-6662.

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