In today's digital landscape, where connectivity and innovation reign supreme, the security of your business's (and customers’) information is of the utmost importance. As technology evolves, so too does cybercrime. Opportunists and organised criminals are always on the lookout for ways to exploit vulnerabilities and gain unauthorised access to your valuable data.

Share this Blog post

Because the first step to prevention is awareness (you need to ‘know your enemy’), this blog will offer a rundown of the main cyber security threats to consider. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be in much better stead to protect your digital fortress! Let’s take a look.


‘Phishing’ refers to a deceptive cyber attack technique where malicious cybercriminals attempt to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information like:

  • Usernames
  • Passwords
  • Credit card details
  • Customer information
  • And any other personal data.

They typically do so via emails and text messages — and can often be quite convincing. These actors will mimic reputable people or organisations to create a false sense of security. For example, we’ve all had phone calls from people pretending to be our mobile data provider or stating they can help us with our recent car accident! 

Of course, there are often tell-tale signs, some more obvious than others. Someone pretending to be calling from your mobile phone provider but refusing to state the name of the company, or even saying the wrong company name, is a clear example of a red flag. But attacks are getting a lot smarter.

You might receive an email from someone that seems like your colleague; they’ve even got a similar email address, or perhaps they’ve created an alibi (“I got locked out of my old email so had to make a new account!”). All it takes is clicking on a malicious link, downloading an infected attachment, or handing over some confidential information.

Look out for:

  • People claiming to know you but you feel unsure
  • People claiming to be from an organisation you haven’t heard of and/or can’t find online
  • The sender’s email address – do you recognise it? Did you give this person permission to contact you?
  • Unexpected requests for information
  • Urgent or enticing language (e.g. “it’s really important that you help me with this right now”)

To protect against phishing attacks, staff members need to be vigilant when interacting with emails, messages, and phone calls. You may even choose to set up email filters or anti-phishing software — but by far the most important method of prevention here is staff training, which brings us onto the next threat.

Insider threats and/or lack of team training

While we often focus on external threats when we talk about cyber security, it's essential not to overlook the potential risks that can arise from within your business. 

Both insider threats and a lack of team training can create significant vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. 

Keep in mind that even with the most advanced security systems in place, your business is only as secure as its weakest link. This is precisely why human error remains one of the primary causes of security breaches

It’s clear, then, that education and awareness are the first lines of defence against cyber attacks. When your employees are well-informed, they’ll feel more confident in actively protecting the business against cyber attacks, and pointing out potential loopholes.

But it’s not just a lack of awareness within your business that could lead to a cyber attack — insider threats may be rarer, but they can cause a huge amount of damage. Disgruntled employees seeking revenge, for example, may have access to crucial data that they can leverage to their advantage.

This is where a robust system of access and privilege control is needed. Every business needs a clear system in place that defines who is and isn’t allowed access to which documents. No entry-level trainee should be able to access financial reports or banking information, as an example.

A blur of people walking in and out of an office building.

Social engineering

Social engineering has the same basic premise as phishing, but can occur in-person, too. Whereas phishing attempts are often sent out in bulk, social engineering involves a more sophisticated web of deception.

When we talk about ‘actors’ relating to cyber threats, we’re usually referring to people that carry out ‘acts’ of cyber crime. But in the case of social engineering, actual acting may be involved.

A social engineer may visit your building (or phone you), pretending to be someone that needs access: a plumber, an electrician, an intern, or even a staff member. They’ll look for any information they could leverage against your business – like personal information, bank details, even USB sticks with customer data on. 

Staff should beware, for example, of USB sticks left lying around the office or found in public transport. Some malware only needs a USB stick to be inserted into an unlocked computer to install itself – often invisibly.

If you have an office or other business premises, this is where physical security and cyber security converge. Best practices include:

  • Not leaving personal information, keys, or USB sticks out in the open
  • Locking laptops and PCs when you aren’t on them
  • Shredding important documents that are no longer needed, and otherwise locking them away
  • Educating staff on who to expect in the building and when
  • Leveraging building security solutions to prevent access in the first place

A staff member is training two others in cybersecurity best practices at a PC.


Ransomware is a type of malware designed to encrypt valuable data on a computer or network, making it inaccessible until a ransom is paid. Sometimes, a cybercriminal will threaten to release a person’s data if a ransom isn’t paid.

The actor will make use of social engineering techniques, phishing, or vulnerabilities in your software to deploy ransomware.

Of course, this can have devastating consequences, from financial losses to reputational damage. It goes without saying that preventative, proactive measures should be taken to stay ahead of this type of cyber threat.

Businesses should ensure that:

Cure instead of prevention

One of the biggest cyber threats to a business is a lack of focus on prevention as a whole. When things are running smoothly, it’s easy to take for granted that it’ll continue that way. 

But with 39% of UK businesses experiencing a cyber attack in 2022, it becomes a lot harder to maintain that mindset. The Government’s Cyber Breaches Survey 2022 also found that the average cost of a cyber attack was £4,200 – increasing to £19,400 for medium and large businesses.

With so much at stake – personal information, money, and business reputation – more and more businesses are realising the importance of preventative measures. Every business, no matter how small or large, would benefit from a strong cybersecurity strategy, and services like:

Working with an experienced, reliable, and fast-acting company like ITRM gives you total peace of mind. We can provide a fully-managed, multi-layered approach to cybersecurity that takes the weight off your shoulders, protecting your business, staff, and customers against breaches and data losses.

Learn more about our IT security services here or contact us to find out how we can help.

Share this Blog post

Related Articles

Navigating AI & Cybersecurity: Challenges and Opportunities

Navigating AI & Cybersecurity: Challenges and Opportunities

In this blog, our team of experts have put their heads together to profile the double-edged sword that is AI in cybersecurity, exploring both the challenges and possibilities it opens up.

1st November 2023
What is AI Technology? (With Examples)

What is AI Technology? (With Examples)

The explosive emergence of ChatGPT sometimes feels like a complete paradigm shift – in a hundred years, perhaps this will also be looked back on as the Gutenberg moment where “suddenly” everything else became possible. But the fact is that this hasn’t been sudden.

28th June 2023
Visit our blog for more articles like these

Your privacy

By clicking “Accept all cookies”, you agree ITRM can store cookies on your device and disclose information in accordance with our Cookie Policy.

Cookie Settings

When you visit any of our websites, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and manage your preferences. Please note, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.