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Common and emerging cyber threats: How to prepare your business’ IT security in 2024

Business resilience has always been equal parts challenging and essential, and that’s never been truer than it is now. The IT landscape never stops moving, and while that brings a whole host of opportunities for businesses, it also brings a wide array of threats. 

From new technologies to trends, software updates, and cyber risks – there is a lot to keep on your radar to ensure your IT security is equipped for what lies ahead. Risk management, IT evolution, security patching and cyber awareness will all play a critical role in your business’s survival in the coming years. 

So, what are some of the common and emerging threats that your business should be aware of, and how can the right business IT support help you navigate them? 

The rise of AI 

 Everyone is talking about the opportunities and potential of Generative AI. It is being hailed as a business game-changer – which in many ways, it will be. However, when it comes to business cyber security, it poses just as many threats as it does opportunities. 

On the one hand, AI can be leveraged to better predict, flag, identify and respond to security incidents and attack vectors. In fact, 82% of IT decision-makers plan to invest in AI-driven cyber security in the next two years. It will help to automate threat detection, strengthen access control and reduce human error. 

That said, it also opens businesses up to new threats. It won’t just be IT leaders that leverage AI, but cyber criminals too – using the technology to increase the accessibility, scale and maliciousness of cyber attacks.  

From 2022-2023, 85% of security professionals that witnessed an increase in cyber attacks attributed the rise to bad actors using Generative AI – and with the rate at which AI is progressing, this number is only likely to increase. 

So, what are some of the main concerns around the use of AI and the threats it poses? 

Ultimately, in the coming years businesses will need to prepare for the threats that AI will bring, and stay ahead of the curve by deploying AI-powered cyber security to better protect the sensitive data they hold.

The right business IT support will be key to navigating these challenges and opportunities, and ensuring you are equipped for future AI developments, both good and bad. 

Zero trust architecture 

Zero trust architecture has rapidly become a cyber security essential for modern businesses – especially in a remote and hybrid working world. Founded on the principle of “never trust, always verify”, the approach means that no user or device is automatically trusted, regardless of whether it comes from inside or outside the organisation. 

Why should it be on your radar? 

In 2023, nearly 1 in 2 organisations experienced a VPN-related attack, and 92% were considering, planning, or in the midst of a zero trust implementation. It’s clear that, now more than ever, businesses are realising that traditional, perimeter-based security is no longer sufficient to protect against increasingly sophisticated cyber threats.  

With the right business IT support, you can transition your business to zero trust architecture to ensure you have the appropriate defence systems in place. 

Ransomware evolution 

Ransomware attacks are one of the most common forms of cyber crime that businesses face, with 66% of businesses experiencing an attack in 2023. But much like other forms of cyber attacks, ransomware is evolving. 

Double extortion ransomware is on the rise, with attackers now not only accessing and exfiltrating sensitive information, but then selling the stolen data or publishing it online unless the business agrees to pay the ransom. 

Attackers can gain access to this data through phishing emails, malware, stolen credentials, or even by exploiting security vulnerabilities, and they are considerably more likely to target highly regulated verticals such as healthcare, financial services and the public sector. 

So what can you do to protect your organisation? 

As we explored above, a zero trust security policy can help to ensure access is only granted based on user identity and context, helping to filter out threat actors at the first line of defence. On a wider, organisational level, having a response plan, improving cyber awareness and keeping software up to date can all help to reduce the risk of a ransomware attack. 

Unsure where to start? Your best bet is to ask an expert. With the help of professional business IT support, you can access the insight, guidance and software needed to quickly and effectively respond to threats, before they cause any damage. 

Addressing customer expectations with Cyber Essentials

It’s not just business owners and IT leaders that are aware of the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape. So are your customers. As a result, it’s not surprising that customers are still wary about sharing sensitive data with businesses. In fact, in 2022, 69% of UK customers expressed concerns around online privacy, and 23% were unwilling to share personal data with businesses, even if it meant it would enhance services. 

While younger generations are more open-minded when it comes to sharing data with businesses, there is still understandably a feeling of caution and uncertainty for many. As a result, if businesses hope to attract and retain customers moving forward, and access the information they need to improve customer experiences, they will need to showcase their commitment to cyber security and data protection. 

How? There are a number of certifications and accreditations businesses can achieve to demonstrate that their systems are secure, up-to-date, and equipped to handle emerging cyber threats.  

Cyber Essentials or Cyber Essentials Plus is a great place to start. To achieve the certification, businesses have to undergo an external or self-assessment, auditing their current IT security systems (see our IT Health Check service), identifying vulnerabilities and patching problem areas to protect against the most common cyber threats. It not only improves internal cyber awareness and security defences, but also demonstrates to existing and potential customers that their data is safe within your organisation and protected against potential breaches. 

Protect against emerging threats with the right business IT partner 

The IT landscape is constantly evolving, and there are always new threats, as well as opportunities, on the horizon. The strongest businesses will be those that plan ahead, and ensure they have the right business IT support to guide them through. 

At Arc Systems, we offer industry-leading IT support, managed cyber security, backup and disaster recovery, Cloud business solutions and IT infrastructure services to help your business navigate current and future IT challenges. 

Managed cyber security offers peace of mind

Protecting your digital assets with managed cyber security ensures uninterrupted operations and safeguards against potential threats. Find out how Arc can can support your business with a managed cyber security solution.