Protecting your information in a hyperconnected world
These days, businesses are frequently faced with security incidents and breaches of information. According to Statistics Canada, 18% of Canadian businesses were impacted by cybersecurity incidents in 2021 and over the course of that year $9.7 billion was spent to prevent or detect such incidents. Throughout the country, cybersecurity threats are a rapidly evolving and constant reality for business owners.
Despite this fact, a significant part of our business activities happen online and it is almost impossible to imagine conducting business without the support of online tools. So, is it still possible to protect your business from increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks?
The recurrence of cyberattacks
It goes without saying that in 2023, technology is one of society’s driving forces. In fact, more and more businesses have been digitizing their processes on both a strategic and operational level, which is the result of businesses turning toward remote work over the past three years. This brings to light a troubling question — does a hyperconnected society inevitably face more cyber threats? As evidenced by the growing number of attempts at fraud and cyberattacks, the answer is clear.
According to a survey conducted by Léger and commissioned by the technology firm NOVIPRO, a quarter of Canadian businesses claim to have fallen victim to a computer attack in 2021.
As an employer, it is your responsibility to manage a considerable amount of sensitive information related to your company, clients and employees, making you a potential target for cyber criminals with various motives.
It is important to know that the different levels of government take the issue of cybersecurity very seriously and implement measures adapted to our current reality and online behaviours. In Québec, Law 25 grants new rights to individuals regarding how their personal information is used. By imposing new obligations on businesses and prescribing risk management measures in relation to solutions that involve the processing of personal information, disclosure to third parties and outsourcing, Law 25 aims to protect and hold both parties accountable for the protection of personal information.
This recent legislation means that as an employer or employee, you can now take certain actions that will limit risks and cybercrimes associated with your use of technology.
Measures you can implement as a business
While it can be both troubling and stressful to grow your business when you have no control over potential cyberattacks, know that you have more power than you think. You and your employees should adopt and implement security measure at all times.
As a starting point, you should make sure that your infrastructure is up to date. Because of the speed at which technology changes, hackers are constantly adapting their methods of finding vulnerabilities. Stay abreast of the latest developments, especially in terms of solutions designed to manage vulnerabilities, and don’t hesitate to learn more about the best available security measures. For example, your systems and infrastructure should allow you to continuously monitor activity on your servers and alert you to suspicious activity.
The Canadian Centre for Cybersecurity, the federal authority on cybersecurity, regularly publishes tips and guidelines on how to protect your systems.
It is also strongly recommended that you regularly review your own security policies to ensure that they meet current needs. These policies are of the utmost importance, because in addition to regulating the use of technological and online tools for data protection purposes, they serve as a guide for your company in the event of an issue. Since the recent rise of teleworking, these policies are even more important because of the additional risk of cyberattacks to which businesses are exposed.
In response, many companies have decided to offer continuous trainings to their employees on an annual basis, so they are able to remain vigilant throughout the year.
It is likely that you work with various business partners and use technology to manage your sensitive information as part of the agreements with these parties. This may be the case for your payroll processing. IT management allows for greater traceability and confidentiality of information, but does not prevent cyberattacks. So how can a service provider ensure that your information is properly protected?
Choose partners with confidence
Digitizing your payroll is a safe choice. In addition to entrusting your payroll to professionals in the field, you also eliminate the use of paper documents that can be lost or even delivered to the wrong address when distributing payroll documents to your employees during tax season, for example.
When it comes to information security, negligence can lead to serious consequences such as government sanctions and could negatively affect your corporate image. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your service provider implements specific security measures, complies with government-imposed legislation and respects the highest industry standards in information security.
It is also worth noting that the location of your servers could affect how your information is processed since the collection and use of personal data is permitted in some countries. With that in mind, it is generally preferable to partner with a service provider that does not require your information to cross borders.
If your company is based in Canada, it may be beneficial to conduct your business with a service provider with infrastructures that are hosted in Canada which has strict data protection regulations, ensuring a higher level of security.
As previously mentioned, in Québec, Law 25 now requires all businesses to comply with certain guidelines with regard to the management of the personal and sensitive information that they possess, including with respect to the transfer of such data outside of Québec. So don’t hesitate to ask your business partners what they are doing to comply.
Protecting your information in a hyperconnected world
In a world where cyber criminals are constantly working to find new ways of obtaining your information, it is important to stay on top of the latest practices and use effective tools.
Since security is everyone’s business, there are certain behaviours and reflexes that both employers and employees can adopt. Use known tools, keep security policies up to date, and don’t hesitate to opt for continuous learning to stay sharp; these guidelines can be particularly useful in blocking email phishing attempts.
If you have various business partners, consider their level of cybersecurity expertise, check what information security measures they have in place and make sure that they are respecting the law.