Most organizations take the proper steps to protect themselves from threats in the physical world, but what about threats that come via technology? October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and with increasing attacks featuring growing complexity on the rise, cybersecurity for companies is more important now than ever. 

In August, Microsoft alerted organizations using their software (Outlook, Office, etc.) to a phishing scam, which saw cyber attackers trick people into believing spoof emails were from genuine contacts, like their coworkers. This is just one example of how hackers and scammers can easily access a company’s database, said Elliot Frutkin of Alvarez Technology Group during a recent webinar — and all it takes is just one click.

“You need to be careful what you’re clicking on, but the bottom line is someone is going to click on one of those things,” Frutkin said. 

CloudOak founder and CEO Petrus Human provides a platform for companies to develop incident response plans, ensuring they’re prepared for if and when a cyber attack does occur. It’s important for businesses to ensure they protect themselves, he said, with a plan which allows stakeholders to continue communicating in the event of an attack as well as remediate after the fact.

“A lot of people think it’s as simple as running an antivirus scan and everything is fixed, but there’s a lot more to make sure that you go through a certain process…If you’re under stress, finding a process is very difficult so having a plan helps you take the right steps at the right time,” Human said. 

The threat against cybersecurity is on the rise; an August study by CCTV Camera World on the state of cybercrime in America showed that a record $4.2 billion was lost to cybercriminals in 2020 — up from $3.5 billion the year prior. 

In California, residents lost the sixth-highest amount in the nation in 2020 due to cyberattacks with an average of $8,936 per victim. The study also shows that cybersecurity for businesses and organizations is of the utmost importance. The most financially damaging cyberattacks are through business email compromise ($96,373 per victim), corporate data breach ($46,373) and investment scams ($38,287).

Cyberattacks against security cameras are also on the rise, leading to lawsuits against Amazon’s Ring doorbells as well as the breach of 150,000 security cameras inside organizations like Tesla, schools and hospitals earlier this year. 

Mike O’Brien of CloudOak said that having a plan can help mitigate some of the consequences of a cyberattack or stop them altogether. Additionally, working with a team of experts can help organizations make sure they report the correct data to state officials after a cyberattack, if need be.

“As we know, cyberattacks don’t happen when we want them to happen, they happen in the most inopportune times. You want something that allows you to, regardless of where you are, take immediate action as a business,” O’Brien said. “When you’re looking at things like cybersecurity and you’re a business trying to protect yourself, it’s always in your best interest to work with experts because how do you know to protect yourself and what processes do you put in place if you’ve never gone through it yourself?”

As cyberattacks increase in frequency, local organizations are taking steps to help businesses prepare for them and prevent them. Tech Connect, a collaboration between the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, Sierra Valley Small Business Development Center and Bay Valley Tech, hosted a webinar in August which discussed cybersecurity and how to protect internet-connected systems’ hardware software and data from cyberthreats. 

Tech Connect will host another cybersecurity webinar at 2 p.m. Oct. 21, where attendees will be able to hear from Mid Valley IT account executive David Kamins on phishing and preventable measures for data breaches. The event is open to all and to register, visit http://business.modchamber.org/events/details/tech-connect-10-21-2021-8828