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What is Cybersecurity?

Protect your business against the ever-increasing threat of cyberattacks.

May 22, 2023

Cybersecurity is how companies protect themselves against the ever-increasing threat of cyberattacks. If you’re a business with a bank account, cybercriminals will attack your systems, networks, and devices. It doesn’t matter your industry or whether you’re a big or small business—unfortunately, you are a target.

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is a somewhat intimidating term, and it can conjure up lots of different images. But in a nutshell, cybersecurity just means practices to keep your computers—including the data you send and store in computers—safe.

The history of cybersecurity can be traced back to the earliest days of computing when computers were first connected to external networks. By the 1970s, the first computer viruses and worms were created, and the need for cybersecurity emerged.

Initially, cybersecurity was slow to develop. But as computers became more widespread in the 1980s, so did the proliferation of viruses, worms, and other cyberattacks. Major cyberattacks early in the decade caused widespread damage and showed a painful need for better cybersecurity awareness and critical infrastructure.

Since then, cyberattacks have increased significantly in sheer scale and their perniciousness. These cyber security breaches can include malware, ransomware, IoT attacks, deepfakes, and phishing.

Frequently making news headlines, these advanced, persistent threats have become the norm with criminals targeting military, government, bank, and utility operations.

As cybersecurity measures improve, cybercriminals are growing more sophisticated – smarter, more patient, more creative, and with more resources at their disposal. In this cat-and-mouse game, it’s crucial for businesses to stay one step ahead.

The Prevalence and Cost of Cybercrime

The reality is that cybercrime pays. By some estimates, cybercriminals in the United States face only a .05% chance of being detected and prosecuted. The prospect of minimal consequences helps hackers feel confident.1 In 2021, there was a ransomware attack once every 11 seconds, a frequency expected to increase to once every two seconds by 2031.2

When organizations suffer cyberattacks, the damage is immense. Not only can they lose revenue and information, but they must spend money to handle the fallout and restore business operations. Overall, the cost of cybercrime is projected to reach $10.5 trillion worldwide by 2025, more than the GDP of almost every country.3

What Are Different Types of Cyberattacks?

Cyberattacks are malicious attempts to steal, corrupt, or destroy information or information systems. Here are five common types and techniques.

Malware

Malware is a general term that describes the act of intentionally infecting a computer with a virus. Once installed on a device, malware can spread to other devices and spy on those users.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that involves holding a computer system hostage until a ransom is paid. Ransomware works when the hacker gains access to a target system and encrypts files with a special key, sometimes deleting backup copies of the files in the process.

Phishing

In a phishing attack, a hacker tries to bait a user into an action, like clicking a malicious link or visiting a website infected with a virus. While phishing attacks typically occur via email, they can happen over phone calls and text messages, and target everyone from end-users to senior leaders who have direct access to financial information.

IoT-Based Attacks

Internet-of-Things (IoT) are machines connected to the internet. They’re critical for business automation, but they are uniquely susceptible to cyberattacks. For example, recent studies show that many medical devices are vulnerable because they operate on outdated legacy software that can no longer be patched.4

AI-Powered Attacks

Artificial intelligence (AI) can help organizations automate services and analyze data. It can also help hackers launch more cyberattacks to greater effect. For instance, voice deepfakes—when AI mimics a person’s voice to impersonate them—can be used to trick unsuspecting employees into wiring money or disclosing passwords.

Common Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

Here are three of the most common cybersecurity vulnerabilities that businesses and individuals should be aware of. 

  1. Weak passwords or stolen credentials. This is common when customers use weak passwords or reuse passwords, or if their passwords are stolen in a data breach. Using a password manager, keeping unique passwords that you regularly update, and 2-factor security measures (an additional layer of security on top of a password) can help keep data safe.  
  2. System vulnerabilities. System misconfigurations can leave it vulnerable to cyber threats. Examples include outdated software practices, not requiring strong passwords, not requiring password updates, or not properly encrypting sensitive data. 
  3. Outdated software. This is more common with on-premise software that requires software companies to deploy on-site support to make updates or release patches (temporary fixes) for security vulnerabilities. Using SaaS or cloud-based software can mitigate these issues, as the SaaS provider can deploy any releases and updates directly through the cloud (web). 

What Are Some Different Types of Cybersecurity?

Strong cybersecurity involves protecting multiple domains with well-rounded defenses. Some of these include:

Application Security

Application security refers to defensive measures that keep your software applications fully operating, whether they're in the cloud or on-premises.

Cloud Security

Cloud computing makes your business more secure because it encrypts data at rest (data storage), in motion (as data travels to and from and within the cloud), and in use (during data processing), which increases data privacy and helps optimize regulatory compliance.

Data Security

Data security is a series of measures to preserve data confidentiality, integrity, and availability. It uses techniques like data encryption, data redaction, and user access controls.

Database and Infrastructure Security

Database and infrastructure security protects your systems and assets from cyber threats, whether they're physical hardware or software applications.

Identity and Access Management

Identity and access management (IAM) is a framework for ensuring that critical business information is digitally accessible only by privileged users in the organization.

IoT Cybersecurity

IoT security defends remote entry points and focuses on enhancing network security, installing firewalls and intrusion detection/prevention systems, and continuously patching systems with the latest updates.

Network Security

Network security keeps criminals from accessing your network, whether you're connected through a wire (like a desktop computer) or Wi-Fi (a mobile device like a laptop or tablet).

What Are the Newest Cybersecurity Trends?

To get ahead in the global digital economy, businesses must deploy advanced technology like cloud computing and AI, integrating cybersecurity into their solutions. To do this effectively, it helps to know the latest cybersecurity trends.

Cybersecurity in the Cloud

As companies continue migrating to the cloud for dynamic and flexible capabilities, they must embed cutting-edge cybersecurity from the beginning. The cloud helps you automate processes, scale production, and grow your business, but only if your data is completely secure.

Cybersecurity with Connected Devices

The cloud helps enable the robots, cobots, sensors, and AI capabilities that can drive business value and future-proof your company. But more technology means more devices, data, and connections, all of which must be secured by professionals.

Cybersecurity and Supply Chains

Today’s supply chain is a complex web of thousands of data points. A modern supply chain management system helps you increase visibility and traceability without increasing third-party risks or compromising your cybersecurity.

The Cybersecurity Labor Shortage

Despite cybersecurity’s importance, there is a shortage of 2.72 million cybersecurity professionals worldwide.5 For some businesses, it makes sense to build a highly experienced team of certified cybersecurity professionals. But if that’s tough, it can be easier—and ultimately more secure—to let your ERP (enterprise resource planning) provider handle your cybersecurity needs.

How to Manage Security Risk in a Globally Connected World

For the world’s essential businesses, cybersecurity is not an option—it's a requirement. Yet far too often, cyberattacks bring the companies that keep the world moving to a halt.

Cybersecurity in Manufacturing

In 2021, manufacturing was the most targeted industry for cyberattacks, with 47% of attacks due to vulnerabilities in unpatched software.7 Many manufacturers have thousands of suppliers, so a breach at one company can affect everyone in its supply chain.

Cybersecurity in Distribution

For distributors, warehouse and inventory management is critical to operations. The complexity of these areas demands cutting-edge solutions that require cybersecurity built in from the ground-up.

Cybersecurity in Retail

With point-of-sale (POS) systems handling their customers’ personally identifiable information (PII), retailers are ideal targets for cyberattacks. Recently, the industry saw a 264% surge in ransomware attacks on eCommerce and online retail businesses, forcing some businesses to temporarily close.7

What Are the Pillars of Cybersecurity?

When considering the best cybersecurity approach for your business, focus on the three pillars of cybersecurity: People, process, and technology.

People

According to recent research, 82% of breaches involve a human element.8 From senior leaders to end-users, your entire workforce must be involved in protecting the organization. All employees must be educated about the attack vectors and cyber trends, and trained to stop them.

Process

Do you have a plan to address real-time risks, threats, and responses? Is it documented, and do you update it as attacks evolve and regulations expand? Is doing so manageable and cost-efficient? When an attack occurs, strategic, documented processes can make the difference between minimal disruption and catastrophic loss.

Technology

If you’re using outdated legacy software, making user exceptions for multi-factor authentication (MFA), and forgetting to turn on all your firewall settings, you’re increasing the likelihood that a cyberattack penetrates your system and disrupts your business. Cybersecurity is a team sport that starts with cutting-edge technology managed 24/7 by professionals.

Surviving a Ransomware Attack

In 2021, distributor Anderson Process experienced a cyber and ransomware attack that impacted corporate headquarters and all branches. The attack affected its phone systems and shut down 197 pieces of hardware, including all computers and servers.

Most of the company’s data was encrypted, rendering it inaccessible at all locations, including local backup appliances. The attackers also accessed and deleted most of the company’s cloud backups, which were not immutable. They held Anderson Process data for 10 Bitcoin in ransom, or roughly half a million dollars at the time.

Thankfully, they had cybersecurity insurance. But it covered expenses, not downtime. Unable to operate, Anderson Process decided to begin a full migration to cloud ERP. They recovered a copy of their database from the night before the attack and quickly resumed shipping and receiving functionality. In a few weeks when they were newly migrated to the cloud, the company was back to capacity operating on a more secure platform.

Before the cyberattack, Anderson Process planned to migrate to the cloud, but had to manage some organizational resistance, explains Rob Vassallo, Epicor director of sales. Why? It was a combination of the fear of change and a decision to run out the few years they had left on their on-premises servers.

He says that customers either have a plan and vision for a cloud migration, or they need to migrate quickly due to risks like aging servers or disaster recovery protection.

“Epicor can help in either situation,” Vassallo explains. “Migrations happen at the speed our customers need them to. Protect your company and have your employees focus on business-critical work.”

Learn more about Epicor solutions for cybersecurity.

Protect Your Business with Cloud Solutions

Cloud security solutions from Epicor or other enterprise software companies offer numerous features that can protect your organization from cybersecurity threats. Some of these features include: 

  • Data security enhancements including encryption, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems.
  • User authentication: Strong passwords regularly updated, two-factor identification (2FA), and third-party authenticators. 
  • Regulation and compliance: Look for cloud solutions designed to meet a variety of compliance protocols, including SOX, DSS, PCI, and HIPPA. Not only can advanced cloud solutions help keep you compliant, but more sophisticated options can be localized to meet regulations and laws in any city, state, or country around the globe. 

Epicor solutions offer these cloud-based security features and a number of other security services including security consulting (to help you assess your setup and implement the right hardware, software, and best practices), security monitoring, and security incident response. 

The right cloud solutions can keep your business safe from cyber-security threats and deliver other benefits to your business: 

  • Reduced IT costs: By utilizing an SaaS cloud solution, you eliminate the need to purchase, maintain, and update your own on-premise hardware and software. 
  • Increased agility: The right cloud solutions can help your business quickly and easily scale your resources, increasing or decreasing bandwidth as needed. 

If you are looking for a secure and reliable system, Epicor Security Suite is a great option. Epicor delivers a comprehensive set of features and services to protect your business from cyber threats.

Sources

1 “The Global Risks Report 2020.World Economic Forum, 2020

2 “2022 Cybersecurity Almanac: 100 Facts, Figures, Predictions And Statistics.Cybercrime Magazine, January 19, 2022

3 Ibid.

4 “Unpatched and Outdated Medical Devices Provide Cyber Attack Opportunities.FBI, September 12, 2022

5 “Cybersecurity Workforce Demand.NIST, July 6, 2022

6 “IBM Report: Manufacturing Felt Brunt of Cyberattacks in 2021 as Supply Chain Woes Grew.” IBM, February 23, 2022

7 “Cybercriminals target retail with 264% surge in attacks.” Charged, February 17, 2022

8 “2022 Data Breach Investigations Report.” Verizon, 2022