Revel Blog

Best Practices for Protecting Your Brand Against Cyber Threats

Coral Drake | October 24, 2023 |

Best Practices for Protecting Your Brand Against Cyber Threats

Technology interconnection is necessary to streamline operations, engage with customers, and drive growth for modern brands. However, this digital transformation comes with the ever-present threat of cyberattacks. Protecting your brand against cyber threats is a pivotal part of doing business today. 

The Unseen Consequences of Cyberattacks on Brands

While most companies are aware of the immediate financial implications of a breach, the long-term damage to a brand's reputation can be even more devastating.

According to a recent article by Harvard Business Review, the aftermath of a cyber breach goes beyond immediate financial losses. Here are some potential damages a cyberattack can inflict on brands of any size:

  • Throwing a wrench into operations: Cyberattacks often lead to significant operational disruption. Systems go offline, critical data is lost, and day-to-day work comes to a standstill. Not only does this kind of disruption hurt revenue, especially if the business relies heavily on online transactions or services, but it also damages a company’s reputation with customers. 
  • Regulatory compliance issues: There are stringent regulatory requirements for data protection in many sectors. A breach resulting in non-compliance can lead to hefty penalties, legal actions, and further financial strain.
  • Reputation damage: As mentioned in the first bullet point, this is perhaps the most lasting impact of a cyberattack: the damage to a brand's reputation. In an era where trust is paramount, a breach can erode years of goodwill and customer loyalty. Protecting your brand against cyber threats is not just about securing data; it's about preserving the trust and loyalty of your customers.

Threats to Brand Cybersecurity

As technology evolves, so do the tactics cybercriminals employ to hack into businesses. It's crucial for brands to understand the various avenues through which they might be targeted. 

Ransomware: The Digital Hostage Crisis

Ransomware attacks have rapidly ascended the ranks to become one of the most formidable brand cybersecurity threats faced by brands today. Cybercriminals deploy malicious software to encrypt a brand's vital data, rendering it inaccessible. 

The attackers then demand a ransom, typically in cryptocurrency, in exchange for the decryption key.

Ransomware doesn't just target large corporations; brands of all sizes are vulnerable. Small to medium-sized businesses often lack the robust cyber defense infrastructure of larger corporations, making them attractive targets. 

Whether they decide to pay the ransom or invest in cyber threat mitigation efforts, brands stand to lose a lot of money. 

However, the long-term repercussions can be even more damaging. Extended downtime, loss of customer trust, and potential legal implications can tarnish a brand's reputation for years. That’s why many brands choose to pay the ransom as quickly as possible and hope the media coverage fades quickly while they invest more in cyber threat mitigation.

Phishing: Exploiting Human Trust

At the heart of every organization are its employees. Unfortunately, staff is also often the weakest link in a brand cyber security chain. 

Phishing attacks, including their more targeted counterpart, spear phishing, prey on human vulnerability and the failure of brands to teach their employees about digital security. 

Phishing campaigns are meticulously crafted by cybercriminals to appear legitimate, often impersonating trusted entities like banks, service providers, or even colleagues. When employees fall for these deceptive messages, they might inadvertently provide sensitive information, download malware, or grant unauthorized access. 

These attacks exploit the casual trust employees place in digital communications. For brands, a successful phishing attack can lead to data breaches, financial losses, and a compromised internal network. These hackers can be very clever, collecting information for months before detection. 

IoT Vulnerabilities: The Risks of Connectivity

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the interconnected nature of modern devices, from smart thermostats to connected security cameras. Connectivity like this is convenient, especially in customer-oriented businesses. However, connectivity brings with it a host of vulnerabilities.

All too often, IoT devices lack robust digital security features, making them prime targets for cybercriminals. Once compromised, these devices can serve as entry points into a brand's broader network. 

For brands with multiple IoT devices across various locations the risk is magnified. Cybercriminals exploit the often-overlooked security measures of these devices, leading to unauthorized data access and potential system-wide breaches. 

Brands that don’t control what devices their employees attach to the system are at special risk. 

Cloud Security Risks

The shift to cloud computing has revolutionized how brands store and access data. However, this convenience comes with its set of security challenges.

Misconfigurations, weak access controls, and poor encryption practices expose sensitive data stored in the cloud. Brands often overlook the shared responsibility model of cloud security, assuming that cloud providers handle all security aspects. 

Simple actions like keeping software and app versions up to date, along with following best practices for password protection and login controls, help significantly reduce cloud vulnerabilities. 

Cybercriminals exploit these misconceptions, leading to data breaches and unauthorized access, highlighting the need for cyber risk management in cloud environments.

Supply Chain Attacks: Exploiting Trusted Relationships

Supply chain attacks target a brand’s network of vendors, suppliers, and service providers. By compromising one entity in the chain, attackers can gain access to others.

Once inside, attackers can move laterally, accessing sensitive data, distributing malware, or laying dormant for future attacks. 

Brands with extensive supply chains face the challenge of ensuring not only their brand cybersecurity but also the security of their partners.

Zero-day Vulnerabilities: Racing Against the Clock

Zero-day vulnerabilities refer to previously unknown security flaws in software. These vulnerabilities are called "zero-day" because developers have zero days to fix them once they're discovered.

Cybercriminals find and use software gaps before patches can be made, gaining unauthorized access or deploying malware.

Protecting Your Brand from Cyberattacks: A Comprehensive Guide

As brands increasingly rely on digital solutions to connect with their audience, the threat landscape continues to expand, making protecting your brand against cyber threats an essential, if challenging, aspect of business operations.

Every step taken to protect your brand from hackers is an investment in its long-term success and credibility. Here’s what you need to do to make a good investment into cyber risk management. 

Implement Strong Password Policies

  • Use unique passwords for every account. This not only aids in protecting your brand against cyber threats but also reduces the risk of multiple breaches if one password is compromised.
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA) demands an additional layer of verification beyond just a password. MFA ensures that even if a password is compromised, the account remains secure.
  • Password managers streamline access while enhancing digital security. They generate and store complex passwords securely, ensuring brands are protected from potential hackers.

Employee Cybersecurity Training: The Human Firewall

Employees represent the first line of defense against cyber threats. Their ability to recognize and respond to threats make the difference between a minor incident (and a clue where digital security needs improvement) and a major breach.

Training sessions should equip employees to identify common threats like phishing emails, malware prompts, or ransomware attack indicators. This not only aids in protecting your brand against cyber threats but also fosters a culture of cyber risk management.

Backup Data Regularly: Your Digital Safety Net

Data is one of the most valuable assets for any brand. Regular backups ensure that in the event of a cyberattack, hardware failure, or human error, data recovery is possible.

Implement Robust Security Measures: Comprehensive Cyber Threat Mitigation

Deploy antivirus and anti-malware across all systems and keep them updated. They act as gatekeepers, identifying and neutralizing threats before they can cause harm.

For brands handling financial transactions or personal customer data, encryption is non-negotiable. It's a cornerstone of digital security, ensuring data remains indecipherable even if compromised.

Regardless of your security system, round-the-clock monitoring is essential. It ensures immediate detection and response to any security anomalies, be it on network traffic, endpoints, or cloud services.

Develop an Incident Response Plan: Preparedness in Brand Cybersecurity

No matter how robust a brand's cybersecurity measures are, the possibility of a breach always exists. An incident response (IR) plan ensures that when a breach occurs, the brand can respond swiftly and effectively.