By Tom Stapleton
Over the past few years, we’ve seen stories about various cyber security issues make the headlines. There was the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal, a range of celebrity “Cloud” hackings, various airline breaches, and even talks of election tampering. All of these are high-profile cases affecting big name brands, but cyber security breaches happen every day to businesses big and small. But just how much precaution do you need to take with your business?
Technology has become more advanced, and as a result the threat of cyber security breaches is higher than ever. As many companies choose to undergo digital transformation and take their practices online, there’s much more at stake in the face of these attacks. Whether it is a sole proprietorship or an international organisation, businesses of any size can greatly benefit from investing in cyber security measures.
Common Cyber Security Threats
Cyber security is what its name suggests: the practice of protecting data, networks, and systems from digital threats and attacks. These threats come in many shapes and forms, from something as small as a stolen password to as large as a breach of the personal private data of millions of customers.
The most common types of attacks come as malware, which is malicious software intended to disrupt or disable a network. 90% of malware is delivered by email attachment. One of the top cyber security threats organisations face are phishing scams. Advanced examples of this type of scheme are made to replicate the electronic communications of trusted contacts. You may end up sharing sensitive information because you believe you are doing so with someone you trust and frequently communicate with. Ransomware attacks are some of the quickest and most prominent threats organisations face, with an attack striking every 14 seconds. These attacks are digital hostage situations, intended to hold servers and data hostage until a ransom fee is paid.
What’s at stake?
The average cost of a malware attack is upwards of £1.8 million, and it usually takes nearly 50 days to discover and resolve these issues. That’s a lot of wasted time and resources. Organisations with large amounts of customer and client data should invest in cyber security to protect this private and personal information. Not only is this wise for business, but its also the law thanks to new GDPR regulations. Organisations who do not comply with these new data protection laws face hefty fines. Solid cyber security measures do not just protect your customers’ data, but also safeguard the sensitive information exchanged along the supply chain, from your vendors down to your employees. Cyber attacks can happen at any level of any organisation.
What steps can you take towards cyber security?
When it comes to investing in cyber security, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry. If you are investing the time, effort, and resources into digital transformation, then implementing proper cyber security measures is a necessary step for safeguarding that investment and ensuring the transformation process runs smoothly. This involves implementing security software and processes, but also having the right people on your team to ensure everything remains secure.
Some organisations choose to enlist the services of third-party security firms to build and maintain their cyber security infrastructure. Others choose to hire a full-time security specialist to their staff, or build their own in-house security team. This option allows the organisation to centralise their efforts, and react immediately should any threats arise. Some organisations may need to take greater measures than others due to the massive amounts of sensitive data they acquire daily. The investment costs of cyber security will therefore vary by organisation. However, some experts have suggested that cyber security investments for SMEs should be a minimum of 3% of a company’s total expenditure.
In short, when it comes to investing in cyber security, its better to do too much than not enough in order to safeguard your organisation’s sensitive data. The potential consequences of damaging your internal systems, jeopardising your customers and clients trust, and incurring GDPR fines far outweigh the cost of investing in solid security measures. The cost of safety will vary depending on the needs of the organisation, but in every case it is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
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