Recent high profile security breaches have demonstrated both the significant reputational and financial impact of cyber security attacks.
A PITHY SAYING EMERGED SEVERAL YEARS AGO, “THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF BUSINESSES, THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN HACKED, AND THOSE THAT WILL BE”.
From what we have seen recently, this observation couldn’t be more evident. All businesses are at risk, no matter how big or sophisticated.
The Australian agricultural sector is driven by small family run business. These businesses are often unsophisticated and often feel that they do not have the means to put in place expensive, technical cyber-security measures. However, due to their unsophisticated nature they are vulnerable and are becoming popular targets for an increasing number of small attacks aimed at misdirecting funds or netting small ransoms.
The human-based vulnerabilities that are often exploited are less expensive to address and once addressed, can save a business from disruption and financial loss. Importantly, insurance companies are becoming more diligent in their assessment of customers which means if a business is not covering the basics, then a financial loss may not be covered by the cyber-security policy you have in place.
AT A MINIMUM SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS OWNERS SHOULD BE ENSURING THAT THEY ARE FOLLOWING BEST PRACTICE IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS:
- Don’t fall for email scams – if an email seems unusual, ignore it, and do not click. This is especially the case when regular contacts request odd payments or email to tell you their bank details have changed. Always speak with someone you trust.
- Strong, unique passwords – Hackers take login credentials from breached websites and use them to try and access other systems. If business or personal email addresses have been used for multiple accounts with the same password, this puts the business at a significant risk. Best practice may involve the use of a password management suite.
- Multi-factor authentication – This practice requires another method in addition to a password to access your systems. This is a must, especially for primary email accounts and financial systems.
- Backups – regular backups of your systems should be kept physically separate from your network. Unfortunately, it’s common to see a ransomware incident where the attack not only holds the network to ransom but the backups as well, rendering the backup useless.
- Updates – Keep your software up to date. Your software providers are supporting you by covering security flaws in their products. Allow them to help you stay protected.
- Anti-malware, personal firewall/security software – ensure all personal devices have these security systems installed and updated.
If you are not doing the above, you may be exposing your farming business to significant risk and are unlikely to be meeting the minimum requirements of your cyber-security insurance. Without the insurance company in your corner the security breach will hurt much more.
For more information
To learn more about protecting your farming business security reach out to your local RSM adviser today.