Cyber Crime is rising in both scale and complexity. It costs businesses and individuals in the UK billions of pounds a year and it is not alarmist to say it puts lives at risk given the impact WannaCry ransomware had on the NHS in 2017. The National Crime Agency is reporting a shift in tactics, as increasingly organisations are being targeted as individuals become more alert to phishing attacks.
So what does this mean for us in wholesale…? The nature of our sector means it is prone to attack because it turns over lots of money! Wholesalers are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attack because they operate in such a fast-moving environment. Furthermore, wholesalers are utterly reliant on systems and technology to operate and the technology; particularly back office, tills and ERP systems which are rarely brand new but do sit on a network. All of this makes the industry attractive to ransomware hackers seeking out vulnerabilities in any system.
There is no question that wholesalers are at threat from ransomware and cyber theft. As we have seen in other sectors, any cyber-attack will cause massive disruption and huge costs, either through millions of pounds of lost revenue from forced closure until systems are restored or by paying the ransomware operator because it is the least bad option, since not paying will lead to system outage, rebuilding IT infrastructure and potential fines for data leaks.
Of course, there are steps that can be taken to dramatically reduce the risk your business is exposed to. Building secure firewalls may sound incredibly boring but they are immensely important. If hackers can’t get access, they can’t do anything dangerous. Wholesalers need to ensure they have a closed loop with no-one accessing their business systems or servers from outside their protected network and that anyone who can penetrate the network is doing it via a “hand-shake” or, if you like, system to system recognition.
Covid has brought many changes to working practices but from a data security perspective there has been a huge one – the increased likelihood of staff home-working and making a remote connection to business servers. It’s this merging of private and public networks that have further enabled gaps to be exposed where hackers are just waiting to sneak in. Any data connection into your organisation could expose you – if one of your suppliers suffers a malware attack, they can pass it on to you if your business lacks robust connection protocols.
Keeping systems up to date and maintaining date protection and defender software is essential but so is making your staff aware that they should be vigilant about the sites they visit and emails they open. Cyber security is arguably one area that is worth calling in some experienced external support to ensure the risk of an attack is minimised.
That’s why we at TWC take data security very seriously. We use a cloud-based platform, embedded with the latest security protocols. There are no software installs and no third party access into your network. We treat our clients’ data as their most valuable asset in every way, so you can be assured that we offer 100% data security whilst making it accessible to the right people. Talk to us about our SmartView solution which turns data into decisions.