Top 10 common cyber security misconceptions
Learn the truth behind the leading cyber security myths
With the cost to recover from a cyber attack averaging $1.85 million, a robust cyber security system is critical for any business to operate and succeed. 
While there has been an increased focus on enhanced security precautions in recent years, there are still many misconceptions surrounding cyber security best practices for businesses and their employees.
It’s important for business leaders and their teams to be aware of these misconceptions and understand the realities because they can cause costly mistakes.
Continue reading to learn about the most common cyber security myths and the truth behind them.
#1: Hackers don’t target small and medium-sized businesses.
A lot of small business owners think that they will not be the target for a cyber attack because of the size of their business. With 43% of all data breaches involving small and medium-sized businesses, that is not the case. 
While small businesses may not be explicitly targeted, they are often the victim of what are known as spray-and-prey attacks, where hackers attack anything they can gain access to. Small businesses often have less advanced cyber security protocols, and hackers know this which allows them to tap into vulnerabilities and conduct the attack.
#2: If my business hasn’t experienced a cyber attack yet, we must be safe.
Many businesses think that because they’ve never experienced a data breach before, their security protocol is strong. This can be a very costly misconception.
The threat of cyber attacks is continuously growing—it’s estimated that ransomware’s global cost will reach $20 billion by the end of 2021, up from $11.5 billion in 2019.  With the increase in threats, businesses should always be working to improve their cyber security measures.
#3: Penetration tests are enough.
Penetration tests are a great way to increase your business’s cyber security protocols because they offer insight into your business’s system vulnerabilities.
However, if your business is not periodically re-evaluating, re-prioritizing, and re-testing your cyber security measures based on the results, penetration testing holds little to no value.
What businesses should know about penetration testing
#4: Cyber threats only come from external hackers.
While it is true that 70% of cyber attacks do come from an external source, you should still remain cautious of the threat posed by an internal actor hacking your business’s system. 
Whether the threat is due to employee negligence, ignorance, or malicious behavior, internal threats can be equally as damaging and require the same amount of precautions.
#5: Phishing and other scams are easy to spot.
If you know what to look for, certain phishing or scam attempts are common and easy to identify.
However, scams are becoming more realistic and unique, making them more challenging to spot. For example, attackers might pose as a credible source and then force your employees to download malware onto your business’s systems.
Ensure that your employees are well-trained in cyber security best practices and know whenever to open any unknown attachments or links.
Spam emails 101: 5 ways to spot a suspicious email
#6: My business has perfect cyber security.
A perfect cyber security system is impossible to achieve. Technology is always evolving, and so are cyber attacks, so it’s important to ensure that you’re updating your business’s protocols based on the current state of cyber security best practices.
Your goal should not be to have the perfect cyber security measures, but rather a strategic and robust system that allows you to react and recover quickly should you suffer an attack.
#7: Antivirus software is a sufficient measure.
Antivirus software is used to prevent, detect, and remove malware. Due to the growth in sophisticated cyber attacks, this software is no longer enough to keep your business’s data safe.
Antivirus software is important to keep your business’s data safe, but this is just one of the many components to an adequate cyber security system.
#8: We will easily be able to detect a cyber attack.
Many businesses think that cyber attacks are obvious and that should they suffer an attack, they will notice immediately. In reality, it could take months, or even years, to know you’ve experienced a data breach.
For example, Marriott International, the American multinational hotel company, suffered a cyber attack in 2014, but did not realize it until 2018, costing them over $23 million. 
It’s important that you monitor your business’s network regularly and look out for any abnormalities.
Ransomware attacks are on the rise—how does this affect businesses?
#9: Our passwords are strong.
Strong passwords are just the beginning of keeping your business’s data safe.
In addition to strong passwords, your business should be using enhanced security measures, such as password manager tools, multi-factor authentication, and data activity monitoring.
Your top 5 password security questions, answered
#10: Complying with regulations is enough to keep my business safe.
Following industry data regulations is essential to building trust with your clients and avoiding legal consequences. For example, if you own and operate a healthcare organization, you need to follow HIPAA compliance guidelines.
However, most compliance standards just offer minimum security measures. It’s important that in addition to following regulations, your business employs enhanced and robust cyber security systems.
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1: Sophos | Ransomware Recovery Cost Reaches Nearly $2 Million, More Than Doubling in a Year, Sophos Survey Shows
2: Verizon | 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report
3: Cybercrime Magazine | Global Ransomware Damage Costs Predicted To Reach $20 Billion (USD) By 2021
4: HotelTech Report | Marriott Data Breach FAQ: What Really Happened?