Common Sense and Cybersecurity

Earlier this month, Colonial Pipeline’s operations came to a halt after a ransomware attack orchestrated by DarkSide, an Eastern European cybercriminal organization. It took several days after the May 7 attack for the company to begin restarting parts of their systems as well as the mainlines. The effects were widespread and felt by most of us – gas prices at the pump fluctuated almost immediately.

As a society, we are becoming increasingly desensitized to news like this. Cyberattacks happen so often, it seems, that it’s hardly news. So why is it that so many businesses still don’t take cybersecurity seriously? There’s a shroud of mystery surrounding cyber – the media portrays hackers as hooded criminals lurking in a dark room. And while cybercrime methods change constantly, there are measures companies and individuals can take to protect their data. Those steps aren’t mysterious; they’re not hidden. Maybe they’re so simple – so rooted in common sense – that it’s easy to overlook them, and dismiss their importance.

 “The problem with common sense is that it is not so common.”

Maybe it’s easy to dismiss simple ways to implement cybersecurity because “well, everyone knows to do that.” The truth is maybe not everyone knows. Maybe “common sense” isn’t as common as we would like to think. For example – do you lock your doors when you’re not home? Chances are you do. It’s one of the most basic things to prevent entry and protect what’s inside. One of the easiest ways to protect your business data is to password protect your computer systems. This most rudimentary of security measures, which costs nothing to implement is still not being used by many businesses.

Along the lines of common sense, let’s revisit the events following the Colonial breach. Gas prices increased, media coverage heightened awareness of a potential (temporary) shortage. Some people took to the pumps to fill up before it got worse. Others took more drastic measures, filling up plastic bags with gasoline. Common sense would tell (most of) us it’s a bad idea to fill a plastic bag with gasoline, but the truth is not everyone has the same thought process and the same information. So much so that the US Consumer Product Safety Commission announced on social media that it was, in fact, a bad idea to fill plastic bags with gasoline.

This is an extreme case, most of us probably understand why it’s not a good idea to fill a bag with gasoline. But many businesses are doing the cybersecurity-equivalent of this, likely without realizing it. For example, if your company has data on computers that aren’t password-protected, or even protected by passwords such as “password1234” – that’s a potentially disastrous situation.

Cybersecurity: start with common sense

Cybersecurity for your business doesn’t have to be complicated, unattainable, and cost-prohibitive. It would be irresponsible for us to reduce cybersecurity to just password-protecting your computers – but the truth is that you can start with simple steps like that. The password illustration is easy to understand but is by no means the gold standard as far as security measures go. Using common sense – perhaps the best of the senses – can help jumpstart your cyber approach. Your business technology is unique; your cybersecurity strategy should be unique, too. We can start where you are – whether that is as simple as password-protecting your systems or as complicated as monitoring network traffic for anomalies. Every business that uses technology in some way is vulnerable to cyberattacks, from pipelines to pop-up boutiques. Don’t wait until something disruptive brings your operations to a halt. Let’s start today.

Contact our team to talk about cybersecurity solutions for your business, from the tried-and-true to the cutting edge. Click here to a call or here to send us a note today!

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