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Cybersecurity challenges and best practices

Stay proactive when it comes to IT security.

Cybersecurity measures in Québec are among some of the best in Canada. The province is lucky to have many skilled IT professionals trained and working there each year. There are several revered cybersecurity programs offered in the province, such as at Polytechnique Montréal where bright and promising future cybersecurity leaders are trained. These experts then lend valuable insight to businesses about the best security measures to implement, with their knowledge directly applicable to the business landscape in Québec.


As a country, Canada is ranked number four in the list of global destinations for foreign investment in the cybersecurity sector, with many big name security organizations choosing Québec as their main hub (Invest Quebec). The province’s position as a global leader in cybersecurity can serve as a double-edged sword, however, as cybercriminals feel the need to prove themselves by breaking through the security walls in place.  


Canadian businesses are high on the list of targets for cybercriminals. Each year, the number of attacks rises, and the digital world becomes all the more treacherous to navigate. Digital technology is deeply rooted in our daily lives, and this is also true for businesses. We rely on computers, smart phones, tablets, and cloud technology to keep our teams connected. The internet-of-things (IoT) is growing exponentially, with an estimated 25 billion connected devices in 2020 (Public Safety, Government of Canada). With each device that you connect to the internet, you open the door a little wider for cybercriminals to slip in unnoticed.


The thought of experiencing a cyberattack is upsetting for business leaders and their teams. Private business information can be stolen and sold, data can be deleted, and months or years of hard work can be lost. Remaining resilient in the face of such adversities is hard, but there are lots of promising protections in place. From laws to consulting experts, there’s a lot that Québec businesses can do to fight back and keep their data safe. 


Current Security Concerns for Québec Businesses

Cybersecurity incidents for teams located in Québec are similar to those around the world, though unique in the way that they are handled. The attacks themselves are like the ones all businesses face: ransomware, denial-of-service attacks, password attacks etc. One particularly concerning issue is the rise of minor incidents resulting from the popularity of AI chatbots like ChatGPT.


Numerous “wannabe hackers” and those with lower-skill levels are now using chatbot programs to create basic attack code. Chatbots also have the potential to make it “faster and easier for experienced hackers and scammers to carry out cybercrimes” (CBC). While the companies responsible for these chatbots are looking to implement stronger measures to keep the program from sharing such information, it isn’t entirely eradicated. By using clever wording, people are still proving that ChatGPT can be tricked into sharing harmful information. This presents a serious risk to all businesses, as now even less skilled hackers might try their hand at stealing information.


So, how can business leaders protect their teams from such attacks? The best approach is to educate your team, know what security measures you currently have in place, and research the additional cybersecurity options available to you. This includes understanding the policies that are specific to Québec. 


Cybersecurity Laws in Québec

To further protect the private information of individuals, Québec introduced new laws. The first of these was Bill 64, which was later changed to Law 25 as new regulations were added. The law includes several important security rules that businesses in Québec must adhere to. Organizations are now required to:


  • Informing individuals when their personal information has been compromised, the incident that caused it, and its circumstances.
  • Provide verbal or written notice to the Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec (CAI) should they suspect an incident has put an individual at risk or if a serious threat has occurred.
  • Create and maintain a “register of confidentiality incidents” for at least five years following the incident.


Businesses who fail to meet these requirements could face penalties such as fines up to $25 million (Les Affaires). The law is not meant to act as a threat to businesses, but rather to bring peace-of-mind to all citizens of Québec. They can now rest assured that their private information isn’t being mistreated, and that should anything occur, they will be consistently updated. 


These laws are just one layer of defense, as they ensure teams will remain hyper-vigilant and aware about any unusual activity. Teams across Québec are now seeking to strengthen their cybersecurity by offering better training to their teams and preparing for potential incidents.


Training Your Team to Spot Potential Threats

There are many available resources in Québec that your organization can use to better prepare your team. This can be in the form of managed security services, cyber risk insurance, and creating a data disaster recovery plan. All of these might require some level of outsourced assistance, but one area that your team can work together internally to keep data protected is through training.


Did you know that most cybersecurity incidents are the result of human error? In fact, by 2025 it’s expected that over half of the significant cyber incidents will be a result of human failure (Gartner, 2023). To avoid such breaches from occurring, business leaders can set up additional training for their teams. It should start with understanding all the potential threats that your organization could face and include the best steps to take if suspicious activity is detected.


Be sure that your team also creates a strong data backup plan, to keep private information safe and ready to be re-introduced to your computers should an attack happen. This includes backing up all your Microsoft Office 365 data, which is all too often overlooked during the data backup process. 


Connect With Cybersecurity Experts in Québec

The only sure-fire way to protect your private data is to have multiple layers of protection in place. This means pairing internal sources, like a private IT team, with external ones. At XMA, we seek to educate businesses across Québec and employ a proactive rather than reactive cybersecurity response. We can help your team:


  • Create a data disaster recovery plan.
  • Establish a stronger line of defense with our managed security services options.
  • Learn to effectively identify and handle potential threats.
  • Stay up to date about the latest security incidents and how best to respond to them.
  • Meet Québec’s provincial cybersecurity requirements.
  • Securely back-up and store data.


Having experts on your side gives you the leg up on cybercriminals. Every day, our IT experts witness and effectively manage cybersecurity incidents. The XMA team employs some of the best IT security software and can be trusted to defend our clients’ private data. Whether your team is looking for additional security support or is seeking to learn more about cybersecurity, you can count on XMA.


We frequently run educational webinars and functions where business leaders, their team members, and experts can interact and learn more about the changing cybersecurity landscape in Québec. XMA firmly believes that it’s only by providing exceptionally researched and expert advice that we can eliminate cybercrime and protect businesses across the nation. 


Reach out to learn more about our cybersecurity services and how they can protect your business.

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