Published: February 6, 2019
Every company, every household and every institution should take cybersecurity seriously. As the world becomes more connected, cyberattacks are getting more sophisticated. Fortunately, cybersecurity is also getting more sophisticated, and though the threat of an attack remains very real, organizations have the security tools they need to keep their data safe.
Cybercrime may be committed out of sight, but it’s all around us. According to McAfee, the global cost of cybercrime in 2017 was about $600 billion. We’re all used to seeing statistics with large numbers attached, but $600 billion is almost one percent of the entire planet’s GDP. That’s far more than enough to disrupt many of the world’s economies. And that’s just the start because the numbers are climbing exponentially. In 2021, the cost of cybercrime is estimated to reach $6 trillion.
The Ponemon Institute, a research center focused solely on data protection, states that 54 percent of all businesses experienced at least one successful cyberattack in 2018. Many of those attacks only cause frustration and some wasted time, but even a short-lived exploit can leave a business in ruins. Consider, for instance, that 60 percent of all small and medium companies that suffer a cyberattack go out of business within six months of the attack. That’s a staggering number of business casualties from one source. Cybersecurity is something that organizations can no longer put off.
This is especially true when one considers the many vectors of attack that cybercriminals have at their disposal. Some of the recent headline-grabbing instances of cybercrime were launched through a seemingly innocuous route, such as the 2013 Target breach that cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars. During that attack, the company’s payment information was accessed through a third-party HVAC vendor – an angle that most businesses would never see coming.
Fortunately, organizations are quickly catching on to the importance of cybersecurity. Though major data breaches will continue to increase, proper cybersecurity is reducing the likelihood of those events. Even better, modern cybersecurity measures are available to businesses and organizations of all sizes, so companies can choose not to be vulnerable to attack.
What does that approach look like? It should include these elements:
All people, technology and processes must be incorporated into the cybersecurity plan, and this plan trusted to the executives to oversee. This framework must account for the company’s data, too, and this is where it can get tricky. With an increasing number of devices connected to enterprise networks, there’s often no easy way to account for every piece of data.
This issue is amplified when the cybersecurity plan’s larger scope must be executed, which should include the company’s third-party vendors and account for all possible vulnerabilities. That’s a daunting task, but one that organizations have to start with to ensure the plan is properly implemented.
Cybersecurity should be a top priority for organizations in every sector and business in every industry. It’s attainable for every business, and the potential damage left behind by a cyberattack can be extreme. As one neglected vulnerability can be enough to result in catastrophe, smart, comprehensive cybersecurity planning is needed more in 2019 than ever before.