Sun | Jul 12, 2020

Growth & Jobs | Protect your business against cyberattacks

Published:Tuesday | June 30, 2020 | 12:16 AM
McGann
McGann

Cybersecurity threats have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore, local technology experts are urging businesses operators and organisations to be aware of these threats and to put measures in place to address them.

“Ever since COVID-19, malware attacks have exponentially increased, globally because so many of us are so anxious and jumpy around information on COVID-19. Therefore, we are willing to click on any link that comes in to even sort of give you a false promise that there is some new information, that there is some cure to the virus, and people are clicking left, right, and centre,” said Christopher Reckord, chief executive officer at tTech.

Reckord gave the warning while a panellist on a webinar organised by MC Systems in collaboration with the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association, and The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica designed to assist companies to remain in business.

He said that the threats included phishing, where business emails are being compromised. He underscored the importance of conducting cybersecurity training for members of staff.

Reckord also stated that if organisations have staff members working from home, two-factor authentication is being recommended for accessing corporate systems.

He further explained that the authentication protects the organisation through a code that is sent to the organisation providing information that a person is trying to access his or her asset and asking that person to verify his or her access.

In addition, he said that companies should also back up their data. “If ransomware hits, you no longer have access to your data. Ransomware is simple malicious software that has encrypted your data,” he said, noting that some small and medium-size businesses often do not see the importance of protecting themselves from these cyberattacks.

Addressing the digital transformation of some businesses due to COVID-19, Reckord said that the cybersecurity risks have amplified, particularly for some businesses that are transacting more e-commerce transactions.

DO NOT SEE THE NEED

Sharing some of the myths surrounding cybersecurity, he stated that the casualness of businesses that do not secure their data needs to be addressed as many companies do not see the need to protect their data.

Dr Sean Thorpe, immediate past president of the Jamaica Computer Society and head of the School of Computing at the University of Technology, Jamaica, who was also on the panel, underscored that it would be much cheaper to implement cybersecurity measures. This, he said, could cost the company millions of dollars if there was a cybersecurity hit on the business.

“The cost of security and putting in security measures is cheaper than the impact that it would have to the business failing. If you put in US$35 security solutions, that could save you a million dollars if you do not have it in,” he pointed out.

Colin McGann, assistant general manager, MC Systems, said that it is important for businesses to recognise that information technology systems are the sum total of imperfect parts, which is flawed software running on flawed operating systems and flawed networks which are then exposed to the Internet.

“I don’t believe that many organisations recognise that cyberterrorism is a business; that it is someone’s job to target their organisation and to determine where the flaws are in their IT systems; and that’s all they do on a daily basis. The mindset, therefore, needs to change from thinking that ‘I’m not a target’ because you are. If you lose access to all your data, then you’ve lost the value of your business,” he advised.