The Top 5 Cybersecurity Mistakes Made By Companies

With the constant evolution of advanced technologies and the increasing sophistication of cyber threats, companies are making more cybersecurity mistakes than ever before. According to cybersecurity statistics, cybersecurity costs are expected to rise to $23 trillion by 2027. While human error accounts for most cybersecurity breaches, mistakes often stem from company-wide issues that leave networks and systems vulnerable. To establish, maintain, and execute an effective cyber-risk management plan, cybersecurity requires a holistic business approach and a strong understanding of where mistakes are made.

This article details the top five cybersecurity mistakes companies make, so you can avoid them!

Assuming they’re not a target

Arguably, the biggest mistake companies make regarding cybersecurity is assuming they aren’t a target. From global Wall Street businesses to small local Main Street businesses, companies in virtually every industry are vulnerable to cyberattacks, no matter how big or small.

Often, though, the only stories discussed in the news are attacks on larger companies and headlines regarding the theft of personally identifiable information or credit card data. As such, many small companies and businesses that don’t handle this type of data don’t believe they fit the profile desired by threat actors.
Unfortunately, the harsh reality is very different. Threat actors conduct massive cyberattack campaigns in almost every economic sector to penetrate networks and systems and access sensitive information and assets.

One 2024 cybersecurity statistic report found that cyber attacks in 2023 alone left more than 343 million victims. This indicates that every organisation needs to accept that it must work to identify and prevent cyber attacks.

Neglecting employee training

Neglecting employee training and treating cybersecurity as just an IT issue is a huge mistake. It’s surprisingly easy for an uninformed employee to leave a company exposed to cyberattacks because they don’t recognise the tell-tale signs.

For example, phishing emails are among the most common forms of cyberattacks. If your employees don’t know how to identify a phishing email, they could open a link that exposes your company to untold risks. Sadly, cybersecurity training is often considered a dull box-ticking exercise in many large companies. Meanwhile, many smaller businesses often have no cybersecurity employee training.

According to a cybersecurity threat report, human error is the biggest cyber threat companies face. Up to 95% of cyber breaches are a result of human error. To avoid being a part of this figure, companies should provide their staff with regular cybersecurity training.  This training should cover essential topics such as how to spot phishing emails  and how to report potential cyber-attacks, all the while incorporating company cybersecurity policies.

Relying solely on antivirus software

Antivirus software has been the gold standard in cybersecurity since the late 1980s. Most antivirus software can scan a company’s files for viruses, identify potential cyber threats, and remove malicious software from computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.
Many people use antivirus software because they don’t have to be a cybersecurity expert to use it, and it’s often quite cost-effective. However, threat actors have started to use more advanced technology to target individuals and companies, so companies need to up their game, too!

While antivirus software is still valuable for modern companies, it shouldn’t be the only line of defence. If a company only uses antivirus software, a cybercriminal could release an advanced ransomware attack to bypass protections. Alongside antivirus software, companies can use software such as endpoint detection and response (EDR) and extended detection and response (XDR) to protect their company from attack. These types of software can detect potential threats and offer automated responses to protect businesses from attack.

Not regularly backing up data

Another big cybersecurity mistake companies make is not regularly backing up their data. Keeping regular backups is crucial in the event of a cyberattack. Cyber threats like ransomware can lock down data, rendering it inaccessible until a ransom is paid.
If the targeted company doesn’t have a backup of its data, it could suffer immensely. Data loss could lead to extreme reputational damage and even monetary bankruptcy.

For example, a company might be forced to pay a ransom it doesn’t have the budget to cover. At the same time, essential services will be unavailable to customers, which could cause a reputational fallout and a loss of profits.
Companies can avoid these problems by scheduling regular data backups, preferably off-site or in a cloud-based service with strong encryption. Additionally, companies must test their backup system regularly, like they would a fire drill, to ensure it works.

Ignoring network and software updates

Admittedly, software updates can be dull, time-consuming, and downright frustrating, but they are essential for keeping your company’s network and systems safe and secure. Failing to update your network and systems can increase the risk of a cyber breach. Humans build the networks and software we use and are prone to error. Therefore, software flaws that compromise security are common, and, unfortunately, threat actors have the advanced tools needed to target them.

Luckily, system updates help eliminate errors by protecting against vulnerabilities and closing loopholes. By promptly installing new updates, companies can stay ahead of cybercriminals.  Enabling automatic updates on your devices is a surefire way to install updates quickly. If you don’t update your software, you could be at risk of coordinated cyberattacks that target companies that fail to update their networks and software regularly.

Worryingly, a recent study discovered that only 36% of people always install software updates on their devices.


How DIESEC can help improve your cybersecurity in 2024

DIESEC’s services and systems can help improve and protect your company’s cybersecurity. DIESEC offers several useful tools, programs, and strategies to enhance employee awareness, test company security, and identify potential weaknesses.

This includes IT Forensics, which helps organisations avoid cyberattacks by using various methods to detect, investigate, and prevent cybersecurity or data breaches. Other DIESEC tools that can help improve your cybersecurity in 2024 include Phishing Simulations, Social Engineering, and Red-Teaming exercises.

These services are designed to test company susceptibility to scams, raise awareness of real-world cybersecurity problems, and simulate cyberattacks.