In the past year, cybersecurity breaches made major headlines in Australia with an average of one cybercrime being reported every 10 minutes between July 2019 and June 2020, according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

Check Point Software Technologies, a leader in cybersecurity solutions globally also observed a 24% increase in cyberattacks in Australia. From the Jan21-Feb21 period, each organisation in Australia faced an average of more than 1,500 cyberattacks monthly compared to the previous four months.

Businesses of all sizes were impacted, and small businesses were no exception. Check Point Research data shows Australian SMBs experience an average of 50 cyber incidents each month, with 63% having accessed a malicious website in the last 90 days.

Retailers can also be an attractive target for cybercriminals. From stealing clients’ confidential data to blocking access to your platforms and software for weeks; distributing malware to your mailing list to hacking into your bank account: cybercriminals are always looking for opportunities to take advantage of a weak link. 

Companies who don’t take cybersecurity seriously are at risk of significant impacts to their bottom line and can sometimes even be locked out of their business.

Why are Australian retailers and businesses at risk?

Businesses often overlook cybersecurity because they think it won’t ever happen to them, until it does. But why and how does this happen? It’s the all too familiar scenario: as a retailer, you could have outsourced your security to an ‘all-rounder IT provider’ that isn’t fully capable of effectively protecting you against the ever-evolving cyber threats. Or you could be a small business owner, juggling many hats within the operations and don’t have the time.

Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated at compromising supply chains, so retailers need to avoid complacency. The reality is, everyone is at risk so it’s important to apply the mindset of prevention rather than remediation. If you’re doing what everyone else is doing, it simply is not good enough.

Can you afford to lose access to all your systems and information for an entire week? Perhaps it’s time to reflect on the risk and take action.

Here’s an essential toolkit to help you increase your security levels:

Change your mindset

The longer it takes you to identify and deal with a cyber-attack the more it will cost your business, which is why it’s crucial to prevent threats in the first place.

Apply Zero Trust approach

This simply means you protect your data, devices and network with the highest level of security using principle of least privilege. Ensure access to data and resource are only available to staff based on their role to perform routine, legitimate activities.

Consolidate your security

There are no silver bullets when it comes to cybersecurity. You need to protect all your systems, including POS systems, endpoints, tablets, mobile devices, networks, cloud environments and emails. Each of these require unique security, so it helps to consolidate your security to keep costs down and complexity at a minimum. For example, Check Point Infinity provides a holistic approach to help secure your home, devices, privacy and organisational data protecting your business and IT infrastructure against the most sophisticated cyberattacks across cloud, mobile and all networks and endpoints.

Use multifactor authentication

Where possible mandate multifactor authentication. If you have to use passwords, use complex passwords or passphrases and get into the habit of changing passwords regularly.

Update your software

Regularly updating and patching your systems and running only supported hardware and software will reduce the ability of cyber criminals to compromise your systems.

Educate staff about cyber risks

It is critical that every staff member is aware and understands that cyber is everyone’s responsibility.

Have an incident response

Knowing who to contact in the event a cyberattack is successful is also crucial so, it is useful to keep their contact details on hand. Check Point provides Incident Response for businesses who need help in understanding a cyberattack via the following hotline.

Cybersecurity isn’t inaccessible and Check Point offers high levels of threat intelligence to all organisations from larger companies to small retailers. Speaking to a cybersecurity expert can help you find the most effective and efficient solutions to prevent cyberattacks and protect your bottom line.

Ashwin Ram is cyber security evangelist at Check Point Software Technologies.