Photo courtesy AMCS

How the waste and recycling industry can protect its business digitally

AMCS Platform is a service by AMCS that offers security to waste and recycling businesses of any size from cyber threats like ransomware attacks or phishing schemes.

October 1, 2021

This year, waste haulers and recyclers are seeing a marked upturn in the volume, sophistication and impact of cyberattacks. Coupled with this is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, making employees work from home, requiring remote access to corporate networks.

As a result, virtual private networks (VPNs) and the remote desktop protocol have exploded in use during the pandemic. Cybercriminals have taken advantage of this, exploiting poor password security and VPN vulnerabilities to access corporate networks, steal data and plant ransomware.

While these cyberattacks may not make national headlines, they are a real and growing threat as evidenced by the 150 percent growth in ransomware attacks in the past 12 months, according to the 2020 Microsoft Digital Defense Report.

Most of the attacks involve email phishing to steal user credentials and ransomware.

No companies are immune as these attacks are increasingly sophisticated and automated at scale and designed to attack companies of all sizes. Smaller companies are particularly vulnerable, especially those with on-site business applications and may not be able to afford the necessary defenses, formal business continuity plans and recovery procedures. For these companies, the likelihood of an attack is not only higher, but the chances of making an early and full recovery also are more challenging.

Depending on the severity of the cyberattack, a range of negative consequences are possible and associated costs are likely.

According to research by IBM, the average cost of a data breach in 2021 was $4.25 million. However, there are more potential risks.

Severe and lengthy business disruption

These types of costs and the severity and duration of the business disruption after a cyberattack should not be underestimated.  Many companies have little in the way of formal business resilience or continuity strategies and discover that their data backup and recovery procedures are inadequate and unable to support a rapid recovery to business as usual.

In extreme cases, the disruption may last weeks or even months as they organizations to rebuild their business systems and data. While that’s happening, businesses try to operate without automation and key customer data. This causes critical business functions, like routing, customer care, invoicing and cashflow, to suffer.

Reputational damage

A serious data breach with loss of customer data or an extended time to fully recover will lead to serious reputational loss with customers, suppliers, investors and other stakeholders, like local government and regulators.

This can lead to a direct financial loss as a brand is damaged and customers take their business elsewhere.

Theft of customer data

Cyberattacks increasingly have used a ransomware component, where the perpetrator requests payment for the return of customer data or to issue a secure key to recover the IT systems that are impacted. This theft could lead to key customer data being offered for sale on the dark web to unscrupulous competitors.

Companies are strongly advised not to entertain these extortion demands.

Financial losses

The average cost of a data breach cost in 2021 was $4.25 million, as noted earlier

A range of costs are possible in the following areas:

  • increased costs arising from adverse operational impact (loss of automation of key business services, loss of critical customer data, driver overtime or the return to paper-based operations, etc.);
  • costs of restoration of the IT operations, including investment in more secure IT infrastructure;
  • cost of lost business from damage to a business’ reputation and brand;
  • other costs (increases in insurance premium, costs of finance or regulatory fines); and,
  • in some geographies, there is also the prospect of fines from a data regulator if it is established that the waste company failed to comply with data protection legislation, and this could threaten a small business with insolvency.

What can you do to boost your cyber-resilience?

The AMCS Platform is designed to maximize cyber resilience, which is the ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from cyberattacks. This same cyber resilience also is essential to respond to other threats, such as manmade and natural disasters like floods, fire and climate change.

AMCS delivers SaaS- (software as a service-) based solutions on Microsoft Azure to leverage the security benefits of this platform and the unrivaled cyber security expertise of Microsoft.

While operating in the cloud cannot fully protect a company from threats, it does reduce risks. Companies using this service will benefit from global cyber specialist provided by Microsoft and are assured of a proven business continuity plan to rapidly recover operations in the event of a serious attack.

Microsoft has 4,000 security experts and spends $1 billion on security annually. Microsoft Azure is home to 400,000 customers, including 90 percent of the Fortune 100.

Microsoft Azure infrastructure allows the replication of your data across multiple data centers, and access to your data and services can be restored rapidly following a crisis, minimizing the impact on your business.

High levels of cyber resilience are now available to all companies that use the AMCS Platform on Microsoft Azure.

For more information on what AMCS can do for you, click here.