Skip to content
8 min read

How to Prepare for a Cyber Attack for Your Company

How to Prepare for a Cyber Attack for Your Company

As cybercriminals become increasingly sophisticated in their methods, it's crucial for individuals and companies to be proactive in preparing for potential cyber threats. From cyber incidents and ransomware attacks to phishing scams and malware infections, the landscape of cyber threats is vast and ever-evolving. Do you know how to prepare for a cyber attack to mitigate the effects--and the cost? In this article, we'll explore essential steps and strategies to help individuals and organizations prepare effectively for a cyber attack, empowering them to mitigate risks, enhance cybersecurity defenses, and safeguard against potential threats to their digital assets and privacy.

Cyber Attack Facts and Figures
In 2021, the annual global cost of cybercrime amounted to $6 trillion. That equates to:

  • $500 billion every month
  • $115.4 billion every week
  • $16.4 billion every day
  • $684 million every hour
  • $11.4 million every minute
  • $190,000 every second

But these figures have only continued to climb since then. In fact, by 2025, it’s anticipated that the annual global cost of cyber crime will reach $10.5 trillion.

So how does your organization stay prepared to avoid the steep costs and damaging fallout from a cyber attack? Here is what you need to know about the kinds of data breaches that occur, and how you can work to prevent them.

The Different Kinds of Cyber Crime You Need to Know About

How to Prepare for a Cyber Attack for Your Company- Cyber CrimeCyber criminals are constantly looking to take advantage of vulnerabilities within your network and your technology infrastructure. This means that you always have to be playing defense—and that you have to defend every possible entry point within your entire technology infrastructure. 

What’s frustrating about this is that even if you’re playing pretty good defense across almost every touchpoint, bad actors only need to find one vulnerability or weak spot to gain entry into your network and access your most sensitive data. Even large enterprises with massive IT teams fall prey to these actions because it can feel like an impossible task to eliminate every potential point in the system.  

But it’s not just the large organizations that can become the victim of an attack. Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are becoming increasingly enticing subjects to the actions of cyber criminals, and any connected device, web page, or account can open the door for bad actors. 

Here are the major types of attacks and cyber incidents you might encounter:

Malware and Ransomware

Malware, short for malicious software, is some kind of hostile file or program that’s designed to exploit your organization's system, gaining unauthorized and remote access to collect confidential information or execute damaging tasks.

There are several kinds of malware out there (like rootkits, trojan horses, and spyware), but the most common form of malware that companies are facing today is ransomware, which hijacks and encrypts sensitive company data, enabling bad actors to hold this data ransom until organizations or individuals pay a hefty fee for its return. They may even threaten to sell or expose this data to up the ante.

Hacked Accounts and Password Attacks

One of the most common strategies cyber criminals use is to find a way into user accounts, most often through the use of stolen (or guessed) passwords. Then, they have full access to everything that a particular user has control over, allowing them to open the door to further vulnerabilities and steal data for financial gain.

Password attacks can be:

  • Brute force attacks, which may mean trying commonly used passwords or using previously compromised passwords from other data breaches or leaks. There are even some automated tools available to run thousands of possible password combinations every minute until they find the right one.

  • Social engineering, which takes the form of a deceptive message or email posing as a credible source, asking a user to verify their login credentials or to provide information that may help answer security questions or obtain account access.

  • Keylogging, which is a kind of malware that tracks and sends keystrokes to record things like passwords and PIN codes.

  • Purchase or theft of a password database, which means that bad actors purchase, sell, or steal user login credentials obtained from a compromised network database.

Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are another all-too-common type of attack in which cyber attackers pose as a well-known or reputable organization, sending messages or emails to their intended victims, often asking them for valuable information like:

  • Passwords or account details
  • Credit card information and financial account details
  • Personally identifiable information like birth dates, social security numbers, and more

But phishing attacks can also be a portal for malware. With one click of a link or one download of a malicious file, a phishing message can introduce all kinds of viruses into an entire network. While many associate phishing attacks with emails, they can also happen via text messages or even over the phone. 

Other Types of Attacks

  • SQL attacks, or subject query line attacks, target and modify network requests to access information stored in a database.

  • Cross-site scripting, in which attackers add malicious script to the content on an existing website.

  • Man-in-the-middle attacks that intercept data between two parties like an end user and a network or application.

  • Botnet attacks, that deploy thousands of bots to send malware, spam, or phishing emails, or otherwise attack a network, application, or site.

How Can Companies Prevent Cyber Attacks?

Cybersecurity is all about ensuring your organization’s network and data are protected from both internal and external threats—essentially, it’s your strategy to prepare for a cyber attack. It means taking a holistic approach to securing your data, from the technologies you use to the policies and protocols you employ to the practices and services you use to protect your devices, networks, programs, and data from malicious intent.

But even the best cybersecurity strategies can fall victim to the actions of cyber criminals. And when that happens, the best thing you can do is have protections already in place to limit the effects.

When asking how to prepare for a cyber attack, it can be hard to know where to even start. What do you do when your business is hacked? It helps to put a few pieces in play before an attack ever occurs to mitigate the damage. Here’s what we suggest in terms of preparing for an attack. 

  1. Draft a Written Information Security Program for your staff, including education on things like password hygiene, email safety, detecting phishing emails or harmful software, internet usage, remote access protocols, not using personal devices for work purposes and vice versa, and your social media policies. 

  2. Create a disaster recovery plan that includes considerations for daily data backups that are stored securely offsite, as well as conduct an analysis of the most important pieces you need for business continuity. You will also want to consider who you need to contact internally, as well as any external parties (law enforcement, affected clients, government or industry responders, third-party vendors) so that you can act quickly after an attack happens.

  3. Decide what data must be encrypted, both in transit and/or at rest to ensure that even if it falls into the wrong hands, nothing can be done with it. 

  4. Obtain cyber insurance coverage to isolate your organization from incident recovery costs, expenses for notifying affected parties, regulatory fees and fines, investigatory services, and legal fees, as well as other expenses that might arise after cyber attacks like breaches, extortion, network attacks, state-sponsored or terrorist attacks.

  5. Set up Identity and Access Management (IAM) to control, monitor, and manage access to the different parts of your networks and systems, and establish what each user can do with their specific access. IAM is all about adjusting the level of access for different users like employees, clients, administrators, and third-party vendors based on the needs of their role so that if bad actors gain access to a particular account (or if an ill-intentioned employee goes rogue), they don’t have keys to the entire “castle,” or network.

The #1 Tip to Prepare Your Company for a Cyber Attack

How to Prepare for a Cyber Attack for Your Company-Top Tip…Is to have the experts on your side. 

Having experienced IT professionals on call to take care of disaster recovery, threat response, and other emergencies can have a huge impact on how your company responds after a cyber attack. 

At Christo IT, our managed IT services include monitoring, detecting, and addressing threats on your behalf to ensure that when an attack happens, it’s handled swiftly to limit the damage and ensure you have the tools, protections, and systems in place to recover. That includes:

Essentially, before, during, and after a cyber attack, we’re with you every step of the way. And while we leverage our years of expertise to prevent cyber attacks from happening, when they do, we’re right there with you to get you back on your feet. We’ll think of everything so you don’t have to. 

When it comes to the question of how to prepare for a cyber attack, our best answer is to connect with our team of expert engineers today!

Connect with us