Are You Prepared for the Cannabis Cybersecurity Risks You Face?

Is your cannabis business really protected against the major cybersecurity threats facing the industry? Find out cannabis cybersecurity risks and develop a plan.

By the end of 2019, the legal cannabis market reaches over $13 billion, representing a 32% increase over the year before. It seems the battle for legalization has been hard-fought and, for the most part, won. Put the industry still has many hurdles to overcome such as finicky payment processors, federal government and zoning as well as illegal producers undercutting sales.

But as the industry grows, it must come to terms with other threats to its existence. Cyberattacks are on the rise across industries. Cannabis businesses are not immune. And they have much to lose.

As a cannabis businesses, here’s what you need to know about these threats and how to safeguard what you’ve worked so hard to build.

What Are Cannabis Cybersecurity Risks?

In many ways, the cannabis industry is like any business. Cannabis businesses collect customer and business data. This information can be stolen, held for ransom or published for the world to see.

But additionally, you have some unique challenges that not every business faces.

You have video surveillance cameras that could be turned against you if unprotected. And many increasingly depend on technologies to regulate growing and storage environments. These technologies are connected through the Internet of Things, making them vulnerable to malicious tampering, which could destroy millions in inventory in a flash. You need to know who’s been where, which requires strict controlled access.

In addition to identity theft, many users of cannabis may prefer to remain anonymous for various reasons. Being found out could put a strain on families or cause some people to lose their jobs, especially if they work for the federal government.

In an Ashley Madison-type data breach, cannabis faces the risk of outing people who are trusting your business to keep their use, medical or otherwise, private. And like Ashley Madison’s data breach back, this broken trust could devastate even a solid business.

Everyone from growers to dispensary owners should take precautions to prevent these attacks and reduce their damage. Cannabis businesses large and small face these risks. 43% of cyberattack victims are small businesses. The cannabis industry must continue to evolve to protect its customers.

How the Cannabis Business Can Protect Itself

The solution is multi-faceted. First, it’s vital that we get informed about our risks and the types of strategies that cybercriminals use to infiltrate our businesses. You need to do a risk analysis to understand the risks and what a breach would cost you. On average, a single breach can cost a business over $200 thousand. That’s not small change even in the cannabis industry.

Next, you need a comprehensive plan to tackle these risks. Each company is different. But a plan should generally include things like:

  • Employee education – In many data breaches, employees get tricked into sharing passwords or other private information
  • Business continuity plan – How will you continue to do business if your systems are compromised?
  • Data backup – Backing up your vital data can nullify a ransom attack.
  • Technology – Technology can both prevent attacks from getting through and monitor for unusual activity.
  • Controlled access – Limiting who goes where and knowing which area people are in
  • Physical security management – security guard management

Risks are constantly morphing. We must adapt. It pays to work with a cannabis cybersecurity expert. Contact Veo Verde Technology to learn how we can help you build an effective cybersecurity plan.

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