Why is Cybersecurity Important for Businesses?
As businesses gear up for post-pandemic recovery, cybersecurity remains on top of the priority list, thanks to the events of 2020 that, besides disrupting the economy, accelerated a rhythm of cyber-attacks. In 2020 alone, corporate cybersecurity received widespread media coverage as businesses, organizations, and government institutions reported high-profile data breaches.
Among the biggest cyber-attacks of 2020 were the carnival corporation data breach, where hackers gained access to confidential information from employees, customers, and crew members of Carnival Corporation, one of the world’s largest cruise ship operators. Other attacks on the list include the September 2020 Telegram hijack and the October 2020 software AG ransomware attack. Similarly, several statistics and surveys point to a worrying future if businesses and IT leaders don’t devise effective strategies to protect their IT infrastructure. That said, below are some of the reasons why cybersecurity is essential for companies.
Why Businesses Should Ramp-up their Cybersecurity Efforts
Several factors compel businesses to stay up to date with the current cybersecurity trends. The risks of losing sensitive data to bad actors go beyond financial losses, including reputational damage and even loss of customer trust. We’ve highlighted these factors in depth below.
- The Costs of Cyber-attacks
Following a successful data breach, a lot can happen to the victim company. First, the company will expose sensitive information such as bank details, emails, health information, etc., to hackers who may use this data for their malicious intents. Second, the company will lose its reputation among internal and external stakeholders, which may hurt consumer trust, and the company may not attract new businesses – both from partners and customers.
Another high cost comes from compliance fines and legal fees as customers or employees move to court to seek justice. Some notable cases on data security compliance have resulted in multi-million and even billion settlements, which are enough to send a struggling company out of business. In case of a data breach affecting the IT infrastructure, the cost of lost downtime can be another issue, especially for companies that handle customer and client transactions.
- The Rise of the “Hacker Communities”
The other critical concern keeping IT experts up at night is the thought of a new breed of hackers such as “script kiddies” or newbie hackers, successfully infiltrating the company’s network infrastructure. Over the years, the hacking world has evolved, and we now have different types of hackers, each group graduating from one lethal class to another. In the internet age, attackers also enjoy high-end resources, some of which are open-source, meaning even the least skilled hackers can successfully leverage sophisticated tools to carry on an attack.
- Acceleration of Digital Transformation Means More Vulnerabilities
As businesses level up to leverage new technologies such as machine learning, IoT, big data, cloud, and artificial intelligence, they increasingly expose their IT infrastructure to digital invaders. IoT and the cloud, for instance, when implemented without a well-thought-out strategy, can cause more harm than good. Companies must now use a security-first approach to implement any new technology that might give easy access to hackers.
Cybersecurity Best Practices
In the highly complex IT landscape, firewalls and antivirus software simply don’t cut it. A rule of thumb to winning the cybersecurity battle is to play both defense and offense. The offensive strategy means staying vigilant about the cybersecurity threats and even tracking down hackers from their “safe havens” instead of waiting for them to attack first. But since most companies can’t launch a successful offensive strategy, they can cover up for this vulnerability by investing heavily in Defense in Depth cybersecurity. Here, a layer of security controls is used throughout the IT system to lower the chances of data breaches.
Below are the other steps that businesses can take to safeguard their IT infrastructure from cyber-attacks:
- Do a cybersecurity audit – identify both technical and compliance loopholes and partner with the right IT and legal professionals to resolve any underlying issues.
- Beef up network security – Invest in the right cybersecurity tools and resources and take the initiative to update all the company software and application regularly. Similarly, implement high-end security controls such as Zero-Rust to ensure the highest level of protection.
- Educate all employees on the importance of cybersecurity – Spreading awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and making security a critical part of the company culture can help employees ensure compliance and live up to their promises.
As cyber threats continue to evolve, businesses need to ramp up their cybersecurity efforts. Keeping up to date with cyber trends and learning from the mistakes of others are some of the quick but effective techniques to surviving the world of constant disruption. However, thriving in the long term requires a holistic approach to cybersecurity – one that’s deeply rooted in corporate culture and evident in business processes. Achieving this requires that companies invest both in the right technologies and IT talent to build a cybersecurity muscle that’s agile enough to withstand any form of digital attack.