Even though most data breaches and online attacks are entirely avoidable, several businesses keep falling victim to hackers.

This disregard for IT security is even more shocking when you consider how much it costs to clean up and recover from cybercrime – a recent report by Accenture put the average cost per organisation at $13 million.

In order to ensure you don’t fall short with your cybersecurity, here’s 5 security mistakes to avoid at all costs.

1. Slow to patch

Leaving your network open to needless attacks by using out-of-date software and unpatched operating systems is the number one mistake to avoid.

It’s natural to be concerned that a system update or patch could disrupt your IT system, but carrying on regardless could prove even more damaging. After all, hackers will attempt to reverse engineer vulnerabilities only days after a patch has been released.

2. Solely relying on antivirus software

It goes without saying that antivirus software is an essential component to any IT system. However, you should be doing more than simply relying on security at the network’s perimeter.

Cybercriminals only need one successful phishing email, which typically bypasses antivirus software, to access your valuable data or sensitive information. In this instance, consider a mail system that doesn’t accept executable files.

3. Losing track of important data

Data is quickly becoming the single most valuable asset among many organisations. Therefore, it should be a security priority from the get-go.

Take the time to understand where your data is and the risks associated with it. Keep a close eye on enterprise end points and use solutions that continuously monitor for anomalous behaviour.

4. Lack of cybercrime awareness

Cybercriminals look to penetrate IT systems in every sector of the economy, so don’t be fooled into thinking your moderately-sized business is safe. Make sure your entire workforce is aware of the IT dangers that exist through training sessions and educational seminars.

Stay on top of the latest threats and reduce your risk to an acceptable level. Also, communicate cybersecurity issues company-wide, which should include threats but also successes and thwarted attacks.

5. Not accepting the inevitable

Despite your best intentions, there is a strong likelihood that you will be subject to some sort of cybercrime. As a result, you should have a response and recovery plan ready to go.

Even if you’re only offline for a few days, you could witness a drop in both revenue and reputation, as customers won’t think highly of a business that doesn’t prioritise IT security.

DSI offer a range of cybersecurity assessments that offer an independent, balanced and sensible advice on the security risks relevant to you and your organisation.