Phishing schemes, ransomware attacks, privacy breaches, and other cyber threats all aim to pilfer the sensitive data stored on your IT systems. These nightmares threaten your business, financial standing, and your reputation. They also threaten all businesses, large or small, in any industry.

The discipline of protecting business systems and sensitive data against digital assaults is known as cybersecurity. Cybersecurity measures, often known as information technology (IT) security, protect networked systems and applications from attacks inside or outside a business.

A comprehensive cybersecurity plan employs many layers of protection scattered throughout the computers, networks, apps, or data that must be safeguarded. To defend against cyberattacks, an organization’s people, processes, and technology must operate together.

With a practical cybersecurity framework in place and regular internal cybersecurity audits, you can significantly improve your company’s protection against these threats. Cybersecurity can be divided into five categories:

  • Security of critical infrastructure
  • Application security
  • Network security
  • Cloud security
  • Security for the Internet of things (IoT)

To cover all bases, businesses should establish a detailed strategy that incorporates various kinds of cybersecurity and the three components that play a role in a cybersecurity posture: people, processes, and technology.

Why Cybersecurity Matters

The importance of cybersecurity grows as our dependence on technology grows.

The truth is that whether you are a person, a small business, or a major global corporation, you rely on computer systems every day. When we combine this with the development of cloud services, inadequate cloud service security, smartphones, and IoT, we have a plethora of possible security vulnerabilities that did not exist just a few decades ago.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is an excellent example of governments getting involved in fighting cybercrime and protecting their citizens. The GDPR aims to reduce the likelihood and harm of data breaches by requiring all firms operating in the EU to:

  • Anonymize data
  • Require user permission to process personal data
  • Inform people about data breaches
  • Appoint a data protection officer

The tendency toward data protection is not restricted to Europe. While there are no national rules governing data breach disclosure in the United States, data breach laws exist in all 50 states. Among the similarities are:

  • The need to notify people affected as soon as feasible
  • Inform the government as soon as possible
  • Pay some form of penalty

What’s the Cost of a Cybersecurity Breach?

If you are lucky, the cost to the individual consumer is mainly an annoyance. Perhaps a new credit card must be issued to avoid identity theft, requiring updates to payment information on various billing accounts.

The cost to a major retailer or a healthcare provider, however, is measured in the millions. That includes state and federal fines if the business didn’t comply with data privacy laws and disclosure of privacy breaches.

Mavon Insurance compiled a list of some of the biggest payouts, settlements, and fines associated with cybercrime. In 2014, Home Depot paid $200 million to financial institutions and customers, plus state-issued penalties, when its point of sale system was breached. Uber paid $148 million in fines in 2016 when cybercriminals broke into its IT systems and stole data from riders and drivers. The penalty was because Uber didn’t follow reporting laws.

The loss of reputation and goodwill after a cyberattack lasts for a long time. Consumers avoid a retailer that was hacked because it didn’t have adequately updated cybersecurity measures.

According to IBM’s 2020 data breach report, the global average cost of a data breach was $3.86 million. The healthcare sector sat at the highest end, with an average of $7.13 million for each breach.

Let’s not forget that organizations that don’t implement data protection measures to protect customer data, intellectual property, or other sensitive information may lose their competitive edge over time by not being certified by any security compliance frameworks.

Who Needs to Think About Cybersecurity?

A cybersecurity threat may appear abstract and distant to many businesses and individuals. They believe that while others may be harmed, their product will be safe. That, however, is not the case.

The number and complexity of attacks and the costs of each breach continue to rise – not to mention the non-monetary costs of deterioration in your brand’s image. Nothing beats learning from experience, but in this case, learning from the experience of others is far superior to learning from your own.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re an individual, small company, or big enterprise; you’re still at risk of cyberattacks. Cybercrime and scams are on the rise, targeting anyone from banks to social media platforms, as well as big and small privately held companies.

For example, when Covid-19 emptied offices and sent employees to work from home in 2020, cybercriminals ramped up attacks on VPNs and other remote connections, which are especially vulnerable to security breaches.

2018 had more than 6,500 publicly disclosed data breaches. In 2020, according to TechRepublic, that number fell to 3,932 – but the number of exposed individual records grew by 141 percent, to 37 billion. Likely, centralized storage, cloud services, and slowly evolving cloud security contributed.

According to an IBM and Ponemon Institute analysis, the average cost of a data breach increased from $3.86 million to $4.24 million in 2021. When security breaches involve a third party, the financial damage jumps to an average cost of $4.33 million.

Cybersecurity professionals agree that run-of-the-mill antivirus software is no longer sufficient to assure network security, even for small businesses. So it’s time to invest in the best cybersecurity you can afford.

Why Has Cybersecurity Become So Important?

Many developments brought us to this place of increased cybersecurity risk, and that’s why it’s so important to take the matter seriously. New technologies such as machine learning and changes in how we use mobile devices are some of the reasons why common cybersecurity threats loom for companies of all sizes.

Here are some reasons why cyber threats are rampant, and cybercriminals are often successful:

More Sophisticated Cyber Attacks

Spyware, ransomware, and phishing scams have become quite good at breaching data security measures. Social engineering attacks have also become sophisticated. Artificial intelligence to flood servers and IT systems once a hacker is inside can lead to more damage, more quickly, after the malware is installed.

Increase of Hacking Tools

The availability of hacking tools and programs means that even unskilled hackers can successfully breach corporate computer systems. For example, ransomware software packages can now be purchased on the dark web, just like you’d buy a piece of ordinary software online.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

Estimates indicate that there will be 27.1 billion Internet-connected devices worldwide by 2022, and this figure will only grow with the proliferation of IoT. Unfortunately, cybercriminals can exploit IoT device vulnerabilities if those devices aren’t secured properly, hack into a company’s systems, and steal sensitive data.

Increase in Remote Work

The increase in remote workers has not always been reflected in a company’s risk assessment or risk management policies. In addition, remote work brings different security risks to businesses, which perhaps never before considered remote cyber security solutions.

The proliferation of free wi-fi access at stores, malls, and offices also demands a heightened level of IT security well beyond strong passwords. Mitigation methods such as multi-factor authentication must now be the norm to assure ongoing information security.

Improve Your Cybersecurity with Reciprocity ROAR

Managing hazards and adhering to industry rules is difficult in enterprise risk management, but implementing good governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) solutions can make these activities more bearable.

It may appear overwhelming to keep up with the latest threats to your computer systems as your business grows and connects with contractors and other companies. Reciprocity ROAR’s integrated platform is an intuitive, easy-to-understand platform. It keeps track of changes to industry standards and regulations and alerts you to gaps.

Security policies, incident response procedures, and internal controls must be documented and updated regularly to assure that they meet the evolving cybersecurity environment. With Reciprocity ROAR’s document repository, policies and procedures are revision-controlled and easy to find.

Workflow management features offer easy tracking, automated reminders, and audit trails. The ZenConnect feature enables integration with popular tools, such as Jira, ServiceNow, and Slack, ensuring seamless adoption within your enterprise.

Insightful reporting and dashboards provide visibility to gaps and high-risk areas. By better understanding your risk landscape, you can take action to protect your business from cyberattacks, avoid costly data breaches, and monitor the security posture of your vendors.

Strengthen your cybersecurity posture by leveraging our single source of truth to highlight critical threats and vulnerabilities affecting your organization.

Worry-free compliance management is the Zen way. For more information on how Reciprocity ROAR can help you, contact us to schedule a demo.