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Why start a business within the cannabis industry? For most entrepreneurs, they do it because of the opportunity.

It’s hard not to be excited by the growth in the cannabis industry:

  • In 2021, 49 percent of US adults had tried marijuana, up from 40 percent in 2015, and 30 percent in 1985.
  • The use of CBD products is also steadily on the rise. Only 14 percent of US adults used CBD products in 2019. A little research shows that this industry is now starting to reach the tipping point of general understanding. Half of those 65 and over are still unaware of what CBD is, and the benefits it offers.

Growth potential is everywhere.

Yet building a business isn’t as easy as hanging an “open” sign on the door. Production issues. Management issues. Security issues. They all need to be dealt with, one by one.

As we move into 2023, what will be the biggest security challenges your cannabis business will face?

Cyberattacks are increasing

According to a report by Check Point Research, the total number of cyberattacks increased by 50 percent over the previous year. In a new industry already riddled with weaknesses, the cannabis industry is seeing its share of attacks, which will only increase as it expands. Being reliant on technology gives cybercriminals an upper hand, especially as AI and machine learning come into play. If you haven’t thoroughly prepared a security strategy yet, now is the time.

Cloud services are highly targeted

With more shifts to remote work and online connections, cloud-based solutions have made every job we take on a little easier. But with rapid movement into unknown services, it can cause a lot of business owners to jump into platforms with little thought of security. That leaves doors wide open for potential attacks. Cloud-based services need to be thought out, and included in an overall security strategy before you jump in with both feet. How do the platforms you choose to use all work together? If you haven’t thought of the security behind the platform before, it might be weaker than you think.

Compliance issues

There are two sides to cannabis businesses: recreational and medicinal. While authorities regulate both, the medicinal side must comply with HIPAA regulations. If you operate as a pharmacy and accept prescriptions, you are required to comply with the standards set forth by HIPAA. An effective compliance program must have components like:

  • Self-audits – to help identify areas in which your HIPAA safeguards are lacking.
  • Remediation – with gaps identified, your organization must create remediation plans to fill the gaps.
  • Policies and procedures – policies and procedures must be created, reviewed, and updated to provide specific guidance for how your dispensary operates.
  • Training – employee training must be documented.
  • Incidence response – should a breach occur, guidelines should be in place for reporting and recovering from the incident.

Are you up for the challenge?

2021 demonstrated that cybercriminals work just as hard as business owners to get what they want. 2022 has only increased demand, with sophistication in attack plans growing right along with it.

Modern cyberthreats aren’t going away. And in a growing industry like cannabis, the vulnerabilities are everywhere.

Now is the time to ask yourself: Are you doing all you can to protect your business against the threat that’s right around the corner?

For IT Strategy, Security and Compliance, or Help Desk Services, reach out to us at Cannabis Technology Partners 360-450-4759.