The business world today relies heavily on technology and is more digitally interconnected than ever before. However, as our digital connectivity expands, so does the risk of security breaches and exposure to malicious cyberattacks. Business leaders must not only know how to improve cyber security but should also understand that mitigating cyber threats is not only the IT department’s job—it’s everyone’s responsibility.
The Technology Landscape
Technology-driven innovations empower, enable, and influence how we communicate, work, and create business and public service opportunities. At the same time, they highlight the significant digital challenges of doing business across the cyber landscape.
The most common cyberattacks involve denial-of-service attacks (DDOS), ransomware, and phishing. DDOS attacks bring down a website or server by flooding it with traffic that overwhelms the system, resulting in a service disruption. Ransomware is malware that encrypts files and permanently blocks access unless a ransom is paid to the cybercriminals. Phishing attacks use social engineering via email or social media to trick users into revealing sensitive information such as passwords or credit card numbers.
Reasons Why You Need a Cybersecurity Strategy
Companies must realize that cybersecurity is a vital part of their business strategy and essential to doing business for several reasons.
Protect Sensitive Personal Information
Companies need to protect sensitive personal information, not only to comply with existing laws but also for ethical reasons. Personal information, such as social security numbers, credit card data, and medical records, must be kept private. Failing to protect this information can violate an individual’s privacy, which can result in fraud and identity theft.
Determine if your business has a legitimate reason for collecting sensitive personal information. If not, don’t do it. Don’t keep any information on your servers longer than necessary. Customers reasonably expect that their information will be kept secure, and a data breach can have severe consequences for your company, including loss of trust and damage to brand reputation.
From a legal standpoint, many countries have laws that require companies to take specific steps to protect personal information. Failure to do so can result in significant fines and legal ramifications. For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union imposes steep penalties for companies that fail to protect personal data.
Safeguard Your Business
A solid cybersecurity solution is necessary to keep your systems safe. A potential cyberattack can affect the entire work environment, such as if your employees’ computers become infected by malicious malware. This would disrupt your workforce’s productivity and result in significant losses if you need to replace IT equipment or fall victim to ransomware.
Cybersecurity measures allow your business, employees, clients, and partners to confidently engage in financial transactions and share information digitally with little risk. The absence of digital protection is one of the main reasons why many small businesses fail today. Many investors and clients also avoid dealing with companies deemed to be a security risk.
Depending on your industry or country, your organization may need to comply with several security-related regulations. Many compliance regulations, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), require companies to implement specific cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive information. Implementing effective cybersecurity policies and procedures can help companies demonstrate to regulators, customers, and other stakeholders that they are taking compliance seriously and are committed to protecting sensitive information.
Avoid Costly Downtime
The cost of downtime caused by cyberattacks depends on factors such as the duration of the downtime, the company size and type, and its impact on operations. In some cases, the cost of downtime can be very high. It can include direct costs, such as lost revenue and productivity, and indirect costs, such as damage to the company’s reputation and loss of customer trust.
Currently, the average cost of downtime for small businesses is about $150,000 per hour. This can quickly add up, especially for large organizations or those with extended periods of downtime. For example, a study by the Ponemon Institute found that the average data breach for a large organization exceeds $3.5 million.
Transition to the Cloud
Moving to the cloud has many benefits, such as reducing operating costs, increasing agility, and improving the reliability of your data infrastructure. However, it comes with security risks, too–a robust cybersecurity strategy protects cloud applications from outside threats and prepares the company to respond in the event of an attack.
Provide a Competitive Advantage
Developing robust and effective internal controls to protect your company against cyberattacks demonstrates market leadership, effective branding, and product and service differentiation.
To be ahead of the curve, more and more companies are turning to artificial intelligence, IoT, and robotics to streamline operations and improve business performance. While these devices can improve productivity and increase revenues, the cybersecurity risk of each must be carefully assessed before acquisition and deployment. Ensure that these technologies are well vetted before being bought online and incorporated into your business processes and ecosystem,
Companies have too much at stake not to have a cybersecurity strategy. Not addressing critical areas or properly training key personnel to recognize potential vulnerabilities will cause problems in the long run. Cybercriminals follow the path of least resistance, targeting organizations that don’t take security seriously.
If you are looking for freelance cybersecurity assistance to evaluate or beef up your cybersecurity, check out the wide array of available cybersecurity freelancers on Guru and gain access to top talent from around the world.