Relevance of cyber security for any business

When an entrepreneur lays the founding stone of his business, his focus is usually on factors like strategic planning, funds, sales and marketing. With an overwhelming growth of digitalization, cyber security has gained immense importance. Security threats, if neglected can result in severe implications starting from financial losses to damage of reputation. Thus, for any business, be it big or small, to operate in a risk-free manner, investment in the realm of cyber security is essential. This is due to the fact that business in today’s world is connected through centralized networking data systems, and the fact that data is backed up and stored in cloud.

Critical organizations like Government establishments, banks, financial institutions, insurance companies and e-commerce enterprises store a lot of critical information online, on both clients and businesses, and disclosure of such information can lead to serious repercussions. According to secondary research, 43% of companies are prone to cyber-attacks which confirms the fact that it is absolutely indispensable to secure the infrastructure before running a full-fledged business in order to remain reliable and compliant.

Outsourcing of cyber security

The increasing probability of cyber-crimes and attacks have enabled thought leaders to create businesses offering IT security support. The support can spread across installation of security software and firewalls, generation of secured backups, assurance of cyber-attack mitigation plans and the presence of on-site IT support team for maintenance of software and monitoring. The team also guarantees training of the ground staff to stay informed of the possible cyber-attacks.

Prominent cyber-attacks

Few of the prominent cyber-attacks;

Phishing – stealing of sensitive information.

Ransomware – Extracting ransom through locking the entire system.

Trojans – Undetected codes that can help hackers enter one’s framework.

Viruses – Corrupt files.

Spam ware – It slows down the system through unwanted ads.

Identity Thefts – Hackers steal one’s information and identity to make financial transactions.

Denial of Service – It is the deadliest of all, controlling the system and causing breakdown.

Why invest in cyber security?

  • Protection of sensitive information

The primary objective of cyber security is to protect customer information. Sensitive information of both, customer and business are stored in servers that might not be stringently secured. Incase credit card information of customers are compromised, the company will lose a huge fortune along with its credibility. Hacking of sensitive information like social security numbers, routing numbers, passcodes etc. can lead to identity theft. The need for cyber security is not only of paramount importance for financial institutions, but also for companies with complex operations. Infact, cyber security is applicable to every business operation, be it military, corporation or an enterprise.

  • Self-destructive data transfer process

Tools like Privnote are commonly being used these days to transfer data securely online with self-destructive mode. While initiating a contract with a cyber security company, one should rely upon reference rather than on premonitions. Although the common cyber attacks are viruses, spams and identity thefts, however, a mere security installation is not enough, continuous monitoring and updating is essential for effective functioning of security system. Investments should be made on appropriate technology and training individuals.

  • Need for cyber security awareness

In one of the appalling cyber-attacks, the finger prints of more than 5.6 million people along with those of Government employees were stolen. This costed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security $1 billion to design a security system to protect the stolen data. The Government now takes the initiative to spread awareness,  the month of October, is recognized as the National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), since 2004. 

As we know, a lot of effort goes in deploying firewalls, intrusion detection and active monitoring, however, the best possible solution is to secure the data itself with encryption, masking, advance access controls and additional solutions. Secondary research reveals, by 2021, the financial damage to a nation caused by cyber crime can reach $6 trillion annually.

Cyber security and its prerequisites

Since cyber security has become the priority for all companies, according to Gartner, there are few points that leaders and organizations focus on while adopting cyber security.

  1. With the evolution of cyber security in data class and governance, new security skills in data science and analytics are at constant demand.
  2. With increasing usage of cloud storage by companies, its security has become a top priority. There is an increase in the need for strict security guidelines for companies using both public and private cloud, this will minimize risk factors.
  3. Proactive detection and prevention is the need of the hour that will ensure the required protection. Organizations are shifting focus on detection, response, and remediation.
  4. The increasing demand of security opened a new horizon of opportunities for data security to combine with development operations center.
  5. A security ecosystem needs to be reliable for consistent operation and production environment.

Cyber security in shipping industry

Cyber security has become all the more critical due to the growing importance of identity and access control management. It is essential that the company knows if any outsider has access to its system. Cyber security is an aspect of system integrity followed by other components like ability to measure, software and data integrity. For shipping industry, the CSO Alliance is a group of CSOs who informs the shipping community of any plausible cyber incidents or threats.

Healthcare and cyber security

The healthcare industry has started depending on technology and artificial intelligence more and with that, it has become even more vulnerable to cyber security risks. In 2018, there was a massive cyber-attack in the healthcare industry, involving emails, phishing attacks and misconfiguration of databases. Life Bridge Health was the victim of one such cyber-attack in September 2016. Through the malware attack, hackers could gain access to patient’s details such as: medical histories, insurance, social security data. A report published in Forbes about connected medical device confirmed the vulnerability of healthcare industry. With access to medical devices hackers not only compromise data but also patient’s health. Again, as per Norwich University, the healthcare organizations can protect themselves through systematic monitoring of IT systems, training individuals, encryption of data, hiring skilled professionals and limiting data access.

Banking and cyber security

In the financial sector, Bankers Life fell prey to a cyber-attack in May 2018. The hackers gained access to employee credentials and misplaced social security numbers, credit and debit card numbers of customers.

Priority based on attack

The question here is when does cyber security become priority for a company – it is observed that there is still lack of awareness about the criticality of cyber security. Majority of the companies consider cyber security once attacked. The exponential rate at which cyber threat is growing globally is alarming. Due to increasing dependence on technology and automation to drive productivity, the need to secure the digital environment of a company has become even more important. Cyber-attack incidents range from service interruption, commercial and personal breach to cyber fraud. Thus, organizations should take a risk-based approach that should meet operational requirements. After identifying risks, it should be prioritized followed by regular monitoring and by making security every employee’s responsibility.   

Conclusion

Cyber security has thus become the priority for all companies since it can threaten an organization and compromise sensitive client information making it vulnerable. Even the most sophisticated network systems can become vulnerable to cyber-attack. Thus, companies are opting for security insurance which can ensure pre-emptive and precautionary measures to prevent security attack, recover financial damage and confirm potential claim.