Cyber attacks are expected to cost $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. You read that right – $10.5 trillion.

Cyber attacks are malicious attempts to gain access to your data by cyber hackers whose only intention is to cause damage to your computer system and control the information present in it. A successful cyber attack can be devastating for your business, as it can cause a loss of data, money, and brand reputation.

Are you taking proper precautions to protect your organization from cyber attacks?

Now is the time to start taking initial steps, and one of the best places to begin with is to know what cyber threats are. Ensuring your organization’s data is safer online often requires knowing what can infiltrate your cybersecurity protections.

There are many reasons why 94% of our clients continually renew our services for cybersecurity in Pittsburgh – but one key factor is that IT experts can help organizations understand the common mistakes that can lead to malicious attacks.

Here are the seven most common cybersecurity mistakes your organization should avoid.

cybersecurity alert on computer

1. Denying the Severity of Future Cyber Threats

Many small organizations read about cyber attacks on larger companies, but do not think hackers will be interested in their data due to their size. However, over 43% of data breaches involved small businesses or organizations.

As long as your organization has some form of data or technology, you have a cybersecurity risk. When helping our clients manage their cybersecurity in Pittsburgh, part of our initial recommendations are that every employee goes through rigorous cybersecurity awareness training.

This helps negate denial about how cyber criminals can, and eventually will, attack your organization.

2. Failing to Update Software Regularly

Getting a notification for a software update can make someone roll their eyes and click out of the popup. It’s easy to delay an update, but it’s even easier to forget to update it again. Regular software updates help keep your personal and professional data secure by taking proactive computer security steps, such as:

  • Removing computer bugs
  • Adding more protections for outdated software
  • Improving your end user experience
  • Cleaning out old files and data

As part of our encompassing managed IT services in Pittsburgh, we help you ensure your software is updated. Our end goal is that you only need to use the technology to achieve your goals, and not lose time worrying about whether your device is up to date.

It can be frustrating to pause your busy schedule and update your software, but it can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars by helping you avoid a ransomware attack. Turning on automatic updates can also be an easy step toward mitigating this risk.

3. Not Verifying Suspicious Emails or Attachments

One of the major cybersecurity mistakes is not double checking a suspicious email, especially if it is asking for personal information. Verifying if an email is real is 10x easier than recovering from a cyber attack.

If you do download suspicious attachments that contain malicious files, your antivirus and antimalware software can't always detect it, or detect it in time. These are called malware or phishing attacks. These are when a hacker disguises themselves as a trusted source, such as Microsoft or another big-name company, to trick you.

4. Delaying or Avoiding Employee Cybersecurity Training

It is the responsibility of organizations to ensure their employees are up to date on their routine cybersecurity awareness training. No matter how many employees you have, they are your greatest cybersecurity risk – and your greatest opportunity to mitigate that risk.

Your employees may receive phishing attacks where a bad actor encourages them to click on a harmful link or attachment. With just one click, the hacker gains access to your organization’s data.

Ransomware and other malicious attacks are also common for today’s flourishing businesses. If you educate your employees on common cyber threats, they will know what to do to avoid these scams. The investment will help prevent your business downtime, costly data recovery, and loss of reputation.

If you want experts training your employees, consider hiring an MSP partner like Ceeva. Over 5,000+ end users trust our team, and we’ve been serving Pittsburgh for over thirty years!

5. Recycling Old and Weak Passwords

Weak passwords are easy for hackers to acquire, which is why a key element of reducing your organization’s cybersecurity risks requires strong password requirements. This can include guidelines such as:

  • Avoiding recycled passwords that have been used
  • Enforcing two-factor or multi-factor authentication
  • Using longer passwords with randomized words

By improving you and your employees’ password security, you are one step ahead of hackers who use malicious techniques known as “brute forcing” to generate the most likely passwords you might use.

6. A Lack of a Cybersecurity Policy

One factor in reducing cybersecurity risk is to come up with an internal IT cybersecurity policy. A survey found that despite the risks, only 5% of business owners reported cybersecurity as the biggest risk to their business.

A cybersecurity policy ensures that your employees know what to do to prevent a cyber attack, and what steps to follow if an incident occurs. A cybersecurity policy can also aid in identifying less obvious dangers and outlining employee duties.

This policy can provide guidelines for common mistakes around sharing passwords, using personal devices, and social networking. Without an internal cybersecurity policy in place, you are increasing the risk of a cyber attack – not to mention the cost of recovering from one.

7. Trusting Public Wi-Fi

If your employees trust public Wi-Fi, it could result in the theft of your organization’s data. When using public Wi-Fi connections, you cannot guarantee that it is secure. Popular examples of how hackers use public Wi-Fi includes:

  • Shoulder-surfing
  • Session hijacking
  • Creating phony Wi-Fi connections

Make sure your secure Wi-Fi network is available for use by your team. If it's necessary to offer Wi-Fi to the public, make a special connection outside of your professional network.

Include guidelines in your policy for the use of any free Wi-Fi as well. To remove the possibility of hackers accessing your data, you can insist that they use a secure VPN instead.

Get the Best Cybersecurity Services from Our Pittsburgh Team

No matter what size organization you are, your employees will never be completely safe from cyber threats. In fact, 60% of all targeted cyber attacks last year struck small to medium sized businesses. Being unaware of the risks can lead to common cybersecurity mistakes that create vulnerability.

Proactively implementing cybersecurity best practices don’t need to take up more time in your busy schedule. One first step to start with this is learning the common cybersecurity mistakes to avoid. If you want to learn more about how you can protect your organization, consider partnering with an experienced IT MSP, like Ceeva.

Ceeva is a local service provider of cybersecurity in Pittsburgh, and our team is here to help. We have a variety of managed IT services that can reduce your cybersecurity risk, so you can focus on your important work.

If you want to learn more about cybersecurity for businesses and nonprofit organizations, download a copy of our free eBook below!

Free Cybersecurity Essentials Handbook for Small Organizations