Is it Time to Double Down on Your Cyber Security?
You’re on your way to an important meeting in an unfamiliar city when your smartphone dies. Your GPS no longer works, so you’re left to navigate by dead reckoning. You cannot access your contact list so calling your office for help isn’t an option.
This fictional but not unimaginable event reminds us just how deaf, dumb, and blind we are likely to be when the technology on which we depend lets us down.
From the exalted (online banking, stock trading) to the mundane (booking theater tickets, remotely turning on the air-conditioning), technology envelops us. In fact, technology has infiltrated our lives and business more than many of us realize, making having a cyber security protocol in place essential for protecting ourselves.
The Cost of Cyber-Crime
Did you know that cyber-crime costs the world economy $400 billion, yet only 37% of US organizations are equipped to survive an attack? It’s small wonder that cyber-security — the science of protecting our digital systems from attack — has become a matter of such grave importance.
The Current State of Affairs
In this article, we will assess current levels of cyber-attacks, arguing that this is very much an issue for everyone in the digital community, not just corporate entities like Amazon or the US Government. We’ll also offer tips on how we can reinforce your current levels of cyber-security.
The list of criminal activity relating to cyber-crime grows longer by the day, and it affects us all along a continuum ranging from relatively petty issues such as malware, telephone scams, and phishing attacks, to the theft of bank account details and loss of money estimated in the hundreds of thousands, orchestrated by state actors across the planet.
As the quantity of cyber-attacks ramps up, expanding in scope and increasing in severity, the scale of the damage has risen alarmingly. Here are just two examples:
A cyber-attack on the Sony Corporation resulted in a multi-million dollar loss and untold damage to the media giant’s reputation.
UK telecommunications giant, Talk Talk, lost £50 million is cyber-attacks that slashed 20% off their share value and caused them to lose 10,000 customers.
What’s To Be Done About Cyber-Threats?
One thing’s for sure, money alone won’t be enough. The battle against cyber-crime must be fought on several fronts.
Business already identifies and manages commercial risk. Yet we urgently need to engage with equal diligence in the identification and management of threats to our cyber-security. All the more so because, paradoxically, increasing technological sophistication has made it easier for cyber-criminals to steal our data. The recent trend for the mass migration of data from dedicated servers to third-party cloud services, for instance, has made our data more, not less, vulnerable, since, post-migration, cyber-criminals need only access our data through a single point.
Four Deliverable Solutions
1. Scope Your Risks
Identify both the origin of cyber-threats as well as what they target. This will help you prioritize required remedial work. Cyber-criminals may be on the lookout for data that benefit them financially, but they might equally want to hack information that confirms their beliefs, supplies evidence that vindicates their actions, or portrays a third party in a bad light. Internationally, state actors may seek to steal intellectual property or data of commercial value to business entities in their own countries.
2. Appoint a Cyber-Security Manager
You’ll want someone who has the intellectual capacity to identify key actions. Someone who possesses the communication skills to make the case for security options to their executive colleagues and who has the authority to ensure that actions which have been agreed are executed in a timely and effective way.
3. Raise Staff’s Awareness of Cyber-Threats
By their action (or inaction), employees often inadvertently leave companies vulnerable to cyber-attack. Increase your company’s resilience to attacks based on the vulnerabilities of employees by introducing a programme to raise employee awareness of cyber-security risks specific to your business. Share your security plans and explain why they should be mandatory for any commercial enterprise.
4. Prepare to Play the Long Game
Never underestimate the ingenuity of cyber-criminals. To date, automobiles, home alarm systems, medical pacemakers, and airplane systems have all been hacked, not to mention power grids, dams, and mobile banking apps.
In practice, calculating and responding to cyber-risk is a perpetual activity, with new threats emerging daily. Cyber-criminals constantly probe computer systems for vulnerabilities with as much diligence as the cyber-defense community seeks to prevent them doing so. So, set up your cyber-defense procedures in a way that facilitates regular and thorough reviews.
Understand the Role of Technology in Our Modern Lives
Technology is changing the way we live, how we behave and how we interact with the world around us. In this article we have explored our thirst for, and dependence upon, secure and always-on technology and concluded that the downside of our reliance on technology is that it leaves us vulnerable to the possibly catastrophic loss of business critical data. Given that new threats to our technological security will continue to emerge, there has never been a more appropriate time to double down on our cyber-defenses.
We invite you to explore our website to learn more about network security, and contact our experts directly if you have questions. We are always available to help!