Most New Zealanders have been lucky enough to avoid a successful cyber-attack, and the consequences that come with them. Although, as we’ve become more reliant on digital systems and cloud-based services, we’ve become easy targets in the eyes of cyber criminals. Now, cyber-attacks are a common threat for every New Zealand business.

The recent, but necessary shift to a more online-based infrastructure has made New Zealand businesses more vulnerable to security breaches. Essentially, as our reliance on digital systems increases so does the risk of a cyber-attack, if we’re not sufficiently protected. So, it’s vitally important that we take a look at our security systems, and how effective they are at defending us.

So, what exactly is a cyber-attack?

Cyber-attacks are organised attempts to disrupt or take control of an operating system, or to steal sensitive information and data. Information and operating systems may be held for ransom in an attack, or they may be destroyed completely. These attacks can appear in the form of small-scale email-phishing scams, or as advanced malware and ransomware attacks – both of which can be extremely damaging, even fatal, for any business. A cyber security strategy is essential for preventing these attacks and the harm they can cause through large financial losses, privacy breaches, and reputational damage.

The recent cyber-attacks on NZX meant that its services were disrupted on multiple occasions, and for hours at a time. While no private information was compromised during these events, it meant that NZX’s online services were inaccessible for extended periods over multiple days. Questions were also raised about NZX’s ability to securely hold sensitive data; impacting client and customer confidence in the organisation. Although NZX is a large New Zealand corporation, the same risks apply to small and medium New Zealand businesses that don’t have the necessary level of protection.

How can your business minimise the risk of cyber-attack?

Antivirus software and a decent firewall will now do little to protect you from the advanced threats present in today’s digital environment. There’s also no longer a silver bullet solution for cyber security – even the most expensive measures may not provide you with the best protection. It’s important to invest in security solutions that are tailored and scaled to your business, otherwise protection may be ineffective to the ever-evolving scope of cyber threats. So, how can you achieve this?

Having an educated workforce can be just as effective as any other security measure you may invest in. Cyber-attacks can manifest in many different forms that are difficult for an untrained eye to recognise, rendering security measures useless if employees aren’t able to use them correctly. Employing a cyber security strategy that’s tailored to you, and investing in the education of your workforce are the most effective defences that can help you avoid harmful consequences like financial loss, privacy breaches, and reputational damage.

So, we now know that writing-off a cyber-attack as an unlikely threat is no longer a luxury we can afford. It’s clear that these attacks are becoming more common, while the risks of insufficient protection continue to grow.

In response to the ever-increasing threat of a successful cyber-attack, we’re offering New Zealand businesses a free audit of their current cyber security strategy. We’ll assess your current measures, and provide a report detailing our strengthening recommendations.

To book a free audit for your business, give us a call anytime on 0800 872 328, or to learn more about us and our services you can check out our about page here.

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