The Link Between Cybersecurity & Business: Understanding Economic Drivers & Impact of Cyber-risk
- by Justice Levine
In the digital era, new risks are constantly emerging, even connecting to the Internet runs the risk of a hacker targeting your organization. Technological advances in recent years have led to businesses adopting more convenient methods of carrying out their operations, such as implementing the cloud to store sensitive data. Financial and reputational risks are also high for organizations that don’t have an appropriate cybersecurity plan.
Cybersecurity has long been a necessity for businesses of all sizes to protect their systems and networks containing sensitive and valuable data. This article will examine the link between cybersecurity and business as well as methods you can practice to keep your organization safe from cyber harm.
What Is Cybersecurity and Why Is It Important?
The goal of cybersecurity is to make sure your organization's data is safe from both internal and external malicious actors’ attacks. It can consist of technologies, processes, structures, and practices that work to protect networks, computers, programs, and data from unauthorized access or damage. The aim of a cybersecurity strategy is to ensure confidentiality, data integrity, and availability.
Cybercrime is at an all-time high, as cyberattacks have become more targeted and sophisticated. Over the last year, the average cost of cybercrime for an organization has increased by $1.4 million to $13 million with the average number of data breaches rising by 11% to 145.
Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting the information stored by businesses, with information theft being the most valuable asset. Cloud services support the increase in businesses storing identifiable information which has led to an increase in exposure. However, data theft is not the only possible goal, as some criminals choose to edit or destroy information, with the intention of building distrust in an organization.
A recent study found that in 93% of cases, an external attacker can breach an organization's network perimeter and gain access to local network resources. The attacker’s path from an external network to the target systems starts by breaching the network perimeter, taking on average two days to penetrate the internal network. Cyberattacks can impact any organization of any size, resulting in financial losses, loss of productivity, reputation damage, and business continuity problems.
Cyber Security Risks
Cybersecurity threats are universal and the rapid increase of connected systems and devices makes cybercrime that much more tempting. In the event of a security breach, there are several possible consequences for an organization. This includes revenue loss, reputational damage, regulatory costs, and lost customers. Cyberattacks come in many different forms including:
Phishing or Business Email Compromise
Experts encourage users to hover over hyperlinks to determine whether they'll send you to a suspicious web page. If an email is from your ISP, bank, or credit card company, remember that they will never ask for sensitive information like your password or Social Security number.
Malware or Ransomware
Ransomware is a common variant of malware that when opened, the malicious software steals and encrypts crucial files and holds them "hostage" until the victim pays ransom to have them decrypted.
There are many ways that a computer virus can spread, such as a user opening an attachment in a phishing email, running an executable file, visiting an infected website, or using a USB drive.
Understand the economic drivers and impact of cyber-risk on businesses
The cyber-risk landscape is constantly evolving, making it difficult for businesses to keep up with the latest threats. This can have a serious impact on the bottom line, as cyberattacks can lead to lost revenue, customers, and data. It is important for businesses to understand the economic drivers and impact of cyber-risk in order to make informed decisions about their cybersecurity strategy.
There are four main types of cyber-risks that businesses need to be aware of: data breaches, denial of service attacks, ransomware attacks, and malware infections. Each of these risks can have a different impact on the business, depending on the type of data that is compromised, the size of the attack, and the response time of the organization.
Data breaches are one of the most common and costly cyber-risks that businesses face. A data breach occurs when an unauthorized person gains access to sensitive information, such as customer data or financial records. This can happen through a variety of means, such as hacking into systems, stealing laptops or other devices, or phishing attacks.
Once the data is breached, it can be used to commit fraud or identity theft, sold on the black market, or simply released publicly in order to embarrass the company. Data breaches can have a significant financial impact on businesses, as they can incur costs for investigating and responding to the incident, as well as for providing credit monitoring and identity protection services for affected customers. In addition, data breaches can damage the reputation of a company and lead to lost customers.
Denial of service attacks are another common type of cyber-risk that businesses face. A denial of service attack occurs when an attacker prevents legitimate users from accessing a system or website. This is usually done by flooding the target with so much traffic that it overwhelzing Cybersecurity and Business Risks: An Introduction page 5 overwhelzing Cybersecurity and Business Risks: An Introduction page 6 becomes overloaded and unavailable. Denial of service attacks can be difficult to defend against, as they can come from multiple sources simultaneously.
Ransomware attacks are a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s data and demands a ransom in order to decrypt it. Ransomware attacks can have a serious financial impact on businesses, as they may be required to pay the ransom in order to get their data back. In addition, ransomware attacks can lead to downtime, which can result in lost productivity and revenue.
Malware infections are another type of cyber-risk that businesses face. Malware is a type of software that is designed to damage or disable computer systems. Malware can be used to steal data, destroy files, or hijack systems for malicious purposes. Malware can be spread through email attachments, websites, or infected devices.
There’s a Lot to Be Gained with Effective Email Security
Regardless of the size or the industry that it serves, most businesses rely heavily on email and can reap many benefits by implementing an email security strategy. Investing in email security can help mitigate the digital risk your company faces, as well as play a significant role in your business’s success by improving your brand image, decreasing operational costs, optimizing productivity, and solidifying client loyalty. AT&T Cybersecurity researchers have identified a “relationship between business success and a commitment to strong security”, finding that 91% of companies that lag in cybersecurity miss revenue goals, while 57% of companies that lead in this area exceed revenue goals by over 7%.
Tips for Prevention
In the digital era, it is important to have safety protocols and knowledge in place. Tips and best practices to help keep your company secure include:
- Regularly assess existing risks and update IT systems: Conduct a thorough assessment often.
- Back up your systems in the cloud: Files should be backed up daily in multiple secure locations, such as the cloud or a hybrid data center, to ensure you have continual, uninterrupted access to the data you need if an attack occurs.
- Educate employees with cybersecurity training: Human error is a leading cause of successful attacks, consider implementing a training program to maintain good judgment with sensitive business data.
- Plan a response to an unauthorized intrusion: Taking a defensive stance can minimize the risk to your business and customers, allowing you to focus on other vital aspects of operations.
The Bottom Line
Developing a cybersecurity plan has never been more necessary thanks to ongoing threats that target businesses of all sizes. Small businesses are victimized in particular as most lack proper protocols and data protection. Often, successful businesses will have a comprehensive cybersecurity plan that includes preventing the most sophisticated email security threats. Failing to implement a cyber security strategy can leave your business vulnerable to cyber threats and malicious actors. By adopting best practices and commitment to protecting your data as well as your clients’ information, you can be assured that your organization is resilient. You can achieve this by continually assessing risks, making plans for mitigating them, implementing solutions, and using that information as feedback for your next assessment phase.
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