Cyber Monday is upon us once again before the Thanksgiving feast has fully digested. Are you ready for Monday, November 28 this year?
No, we don’t mean ready to make a lot of online purchases. Or, from a retailer perspective, ready to process higher-than-usual data transaction volumes. Those are givens. Rather, are you prepared to protect your data and your business and celebrate a secure Cyber Monday?
A Heads-up for SMBs
SMBs are subject to the same cyber threats as consumers year-round, not just with heightened Cyber Monday activity. They also have more data and valuable information than individuals, so the number of attacks is higher, the attackers are more relentless, and there are more and different types of threats to worry about. Some of these include:
- Data loss and compromise
- Costs related to damages and data recovery
- Business downtime
- Loss of external party trust (customers/partners/suppliers)
- Loss of employee trust
- Loss of business viability
Are You Ready for a Secure Cyber Monday?
If you’re not feeling as secure as you’d like ahead of diving into the Cyber Monday deals or, for SMBs, having your IT stack ready for the spike, then there’s still time to change that equation. Even if you do feel secure, there’s always room for improvement. Always. There is no strategy or solution that is 100% impenetrable. It’s about managing risk in a smart, purposeful way.
Consumer check list:
- Research and acquire antivirus and/or antimalware software
- Research sites that you haven’t used before that are not well-known – it’s a jungle out there!
- Make sure the site you are about to make a purchase on is secured and encrypted (via SSL issued by a reputable certificate authority — represented by a lock icon/“https” prefix in the address bar of your browser)
- Ensure your security software is current
- Save all confirmation messages and receipts
- Strengthen your passwords
- Check your credit card statement regularly and/or set up credit card alerts with your bank
SMBs and other businesses experiencing Cyber Monday:
- Use Cyber Monday as a forcing function to thoroughly assess your customer database and other IT infrastructure security
- Stay current with your security software
- Have procedures in place to deal with a consumer data breaches
- Educate your employees on security best practices and how to avoid attacks like phishing
And last, but certainly not least – protect your data by backing it up and ensuring it’s recoverable in case of a disaster like the situations described above.
BDR – A Critical Security Component
Along with the bottom-line impact of Cyber Monday’s sales to your company’s revenue stream, the data you gather from the day itself and surrounding days brings the most value. That’s why it’s critical to have a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) plan – and solution – in place.
In addition to the cyber attacks that hit many SMBs, the additional site traffic and transaction volume can lead to self-inflicted damage, such as insufficient IT resources failing at the worst possible moment and resulting in downtime. In a recent survey about the costs of downtime, 37% of SMB respondents lost customers and 17% lost revenue. The survey also reported that software failure (53%) and cybersecurity issues (52%) were the most common downtime causes, followed by hardware failure (38%), human error (36%), natural disaster (30%), and/or hardware theft (24%).
Comprehensive data protection powered by BDR is readily available and can even be tailored to specific industries, use cases and IT environments.
Cyber Monday Continues to Grow
For an event that has been around less than 20 years, Cyber Monday’s importance to retail is immense. In 2021, consumers spent over $10.8 billion.
Cyber Monday’s benefits are enticing. For consumers, there are great deals to be had and near-limitless options available via online shopping. For businesses, it’s one of the best opportunities to juice your sales numbers and pick up new customers that you can then turn into repeat customers.
Where there’s chaos, there is opportunity for malevolent actors, as they always do, see events like Cyber Monday to go after consumers and businesses alike with tried-and-true approaches like phishing along with newer and more sophisticated attacks such as ransomware and cloud-jacking. The good news is that there are strategies and solutions available that are proven to keep most attackers at bay, ensure your data is backed up and recoverable in case of disaster, and ultimately help lead to a successful day. It is possible to shop Cyber Monday deals and protect valuable personal information at the same time.
So, now with some Cyber Monday context and advice in hand, the question from the beginning of this post remains: are you ready? Happy – and safe – cyber shopping and holidays!