The Importance of Cybersecurity for Modern Businesses

Individuals and business rely on the Internet on a day-to-day basis to an increasing degree. Few businesses operate without using the Internet and a vast sector of the economy is based entirely online. This reliance on electronic networks provides a very tempting opportunity for criminals to hack into systems and to steal or extort money from businesses.

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Cybercrime is on the rise

It is not only the incidence of cybercrime events that are rising, but also the severity of each incident. Large businesses are not only losing millions in funds, but often also find their reputation amongst their peers and customers take a very big hit when a cyberattack occurs. Often cyberattacks gain widespread publicity, as the personal details of customers are sometimes exposed during a hacking attempt.

In fact, the increasing interconnectedness of businesses is fueling cybercrime. Whereas in the past criminals could do limited damage when they hacked into a system, a single hack can now lead to information which allows the exploitation of vast numbers of accounts, in part due to the continuing practice by many individuals and businesses of using a single password for multiple online accounts.

Security experts are in demand

As the prevalence of cybercrime has increased, so has the need for experts to deal with the fallout – and the prevention of these crimes. Just as security in the physical world depends on defenses being erected, so does cybersecurity: experts can help businesses to put in place methods and procedures that reduce the risk of being a victim of a cyberattack.

It is very much a full-time job – without constant analysis and monitoring the systems which businesses and government depend is open to harmful penetration. In addition to these monitoring tasks cybersecurity experts also provide consulting advice, explaining to businesses what they need to do to prevent future attacks.

Jobs in cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a wide and complex field and there are a number of different job roles for people working to prevent cybercrime. One example is penetration testers, known to the public as white hat hackers, who are responsible for trying to find vulnerabilities in systems before criminals or black hat hackers do. It involves constantly probing and testing networks to see whether it is possible to gain unauthorized access.

Other positions are on a more managerial level, where staff look at the broader security picture and the trends and possible risks a business faces. Typically armed with a bachelor’s in cybersecurity these individuals have a thorough understanding of businesses and information technology that helps them foresee the areas in which a business can be affected by a cyberattack.

Protecting your business

Common cybercriminals tend to go for the easiest targets, and there are still a lot of businesses which have done very little to protect their data and the data of their customers. Secure data storage is the number one factor businesses should consider, including the secure destruction of any data storage that is scrapped or sold off. If you store any confidential data it is essential that it be encrypted, thought standards are shifting and it is now increasingly expected that any third party, customer data be stored in an encrypted state.

Not only your own facilities need protection. Your business should make sure that the facilities of your suppliers are also safe and secure. Numerous organizations have found their data compromised not by hackers attacking their own systems, but by an attack on one of the suppliers they make heavy use of.

What taking no action means

As with crime in general, businesses often think that if they have never been a victim it is unlikely they will ever be on the receiving end of a cyberattack. Often it is the first damaging attack that spurs businesses into action. The damage involved in an attack can be very serious, and it is unwise to risk it occurring in the first instance.

If you take no action in your business you run the risk of losing the entire business in a single attack as customers can lose all confidence and refuse to do the business with you. Or, your data can be stolen, encrypted and be offered back at a ransom amount which your business cannot afford to pay. The possibility that a single cybercrime event can sink your business should prompt you to take precautions, including assessing risks at management level and recruiting cybercrime experts.