The Importance of Cybersecurity for your Business
If you want to understand how the importance of cybersecurity has increased over the past decade, you only have to look at the numbers.
Cyberattacks are up 11% since 2018 and 67% since 2014, as cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities in increasingly digitised workspaces. This increase in attacks creates a huge cost for businesses – as of 2019, the average cost of a data breach was $3.92 million.
When you add the potential for reputational damage, regulatory fines and even legal trouble into the mix, the importance of cybersecurity becomes abundantly clear.
If you’re found to be negligent in this area, you could face significant financial losses alongside whatever damage hackers have already wreaked.
In short, there’s a lot riding on keeping your cybersecurity as tight as possible. Below, we outline why cybersecurity is so important for your business – from protecting customer data to keeping trade secrets safe – and highlight some actions you can take to reduce risk to your business.
The Importance of Cybersecurity for Avoiding Data Breaches
There is a plethora of ways cybercriminals could get their hands on sensitive information – from social engineering attacks like phishing and fake website fronts, to more technical approaches like SQL injections and eavesdropping attacks, which intercept data transmitted over unstable Wi-Fi networks.
These approaches either steal data outright (identity theft through stealing customers’ personal information in an eavesdropping attack, for example), or gain access to your information systems using malware to:
- Block access to key systems or databases and demand payment for their return (also known as a ransomware attack)
- Covertly transmit information from your networks to a third party (spyware)
- Shut down parts of your network and make your systems unusable
- Install other malicious software on your network computers
There are certain strategies you can deploy to mitigate the impact of such attacks if they were to strike – if you have remote backups of your data, for example, you might not have to pay the amount demanded by ransomware attackers.
Even so, having remote backups doesn’t change the fact that hackers have accessed sensitive information. It still counts as a data breach and, depending on the industry you operate in, you could find yourself on the wrong side of regulatory fines, or even legal action – not to mention the reputational damage and potential loss of business from customers who feel betrayed that you’ve not kept their personal data safe.
To give a recent example, US healthcare services providers LabCorp are currently implicated in a multi-million dollar lawsuit for failing to oversee both their own and their suppliers’ cybersecurity procedures, which led to over 10.2 million LabCorp patient records being leaked.
The importance of cybersecurity in avoiding large-scale leaks like these and the financial damage that comes with them, can’t be overstated. Keeping ahead of threats, training your employees to recognise entry-level hack attempts and taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity (as opposed to a reactive, too-little-too-late one) will go a long way in helping you avoid them.
The Importance of Cybersecurity in Protecting Trade Secrets
What makes your business special?
One of the answers you’d likely give to this question is the standout product or service you’re selling. Chances are, you’d rather malicious actors didn’t get their hands on your intellectual property and sell it to the highest bidder on a murky online marketplace.
Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report found that, whilst the majority of data breaches were financially motivated, a significant 25% were motivated by espionage.
Good cybersecurity practices are vital in guarding the very core of your business against those who might want to steal your trade secrets. If you don’t protect the aspects of your business that make you unique, you’ll lose any competitive advantages your company has.
Of course, if you work in an industry that’s highly sensitive – aerospace or defence, for example – industrial espionage could have far more dire consequences than a loss of business. If hackers steal your designs for a new aeroplane engine, who knows where they could end up, and what safety threat to the general public they pose?
Good cybersecurity practices are essential in keeping your trade secrets safe from both rogue competitors and hackers looking to sell them to the highest bidder on the dark web. Reducing access to sensitive information, offering regular cybersecurity training sessions and keeping an eye out for suspicious digital behaviour patterns among employees all help curb the risk of getting hit by cyber-spying.
How Can I Make My Company’s Sensitive Information More Secure?
Cyber threats are constantly evolving. Companies react to threats by putting measures in place to reduce risk, and cybercriminals find new ways around them.
So, before taking any actions at all, start looking at cybersecurity as an ongoing, proactive commitment that’s as essential for the long-term success of your company as your finance department.
The good news is that, once you get going, there are some easy, low-cost (even free) actions you can take to increase data security and reduce the risk of a data breach significantly.
Did you know that 92% of malware is delivered via email, and that over a third of data breaches involve internal actors in some capacity? Training your staff to recognise phishing attempts and report them to the appropriate line of command can cut your risk here significantly. So, too, can tightening up deletion of ex-employee accounts, encouraging good password health and running training on responsible use of social media whilst at work.
To get more technical, you’ll also need to shore up weaknesses in your systems’ backends. It’s also worth considering expert consultancy and specialist ‘white hat’ hacker services for up-to-the-minute knowledge about the latest threats that you may lack in-house.
Finally, investing in robust cybersecurity software that helps prevent malicious actors gaining access to your systems, and picks up and eliminates potential threats will pay off. To start, you can install a firewall and antivirus protection across your network, and also set up strict access controls to reduce the number of entry points hackers have to sensitive data.
To take your security to the next level, you could look for diagnostic programmes, intrusion detection and prevention software, encryption software, plus a whole range of advanced cybersecurity features designed to keep risk to a minimum.
The Importance of Finding the Right Security Systems
Whilst good in-house security practices like access controls, regularly changing passwords and social media training will reduce your liability to cybersecurity attacks, the right software will enhance your data security far beyond basic training can.
And, given that 43% of data breach victims in 2019 were SMEs (Verizon), there’s never been a more pressing time to act.
ProtectBox uses a responsible artificial intelligence to match your business with cybersecurity providers that suit your needs. We use an easy-to-complete questionnaire to establish your needs and match you with packages designed especially for your business.