The world is more connected to and reliant upon technology than ever before; in fact, there were more than 10 billion active IoT devices in 2021, with this number estimated to surpass 25.4 billion in 2030, according to research.
This growth of connected devices, remote workforces, and the increasing cybersecurity skills gap are just a few major challenges impacting organizations today that reinforce the importance of cybersecurity in business.
Without a comprehensive cyber security program in place, it can be difficult for SMBs and enterprise organizations to be adequately protected against cyber criminals and the ever-increasing cyber threat that exists today.
The Importance of Cyber Security
Gartner defines cybersecurity as the combination of people, policies, processes, and technologies employed by an enterprise to protect its cyber assets. And, over the past several years, it has become a vital component of any modern-day organization’s success.
If you are a business leader who is still contemplating why cybersecurity is important and where it fits into your IT strategy, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most prevalent factors behind cybercrime for you to consider – and why you should implement a formal cybersecurity program with stringent controls and practices as soon as possible if you haven’t already.
The Volume and Complexity of Cyber Attacks
One of the most compelling reasons business leaders should take an aggressive approach to cybersecurity is the sheer amount of cyber attacks. It is estimated that on average 30,000 websites are hacked every day, a company falls victim to a cyberattack every 39 seconds, and more than 60% of organizations globally have experienced at least one form of cyberattack.
With these statistics in mind, it’s not a matter of “if”, but rather “when” an organization will be impacted by a cyber attack to some extent. And, not only is the volume of attacks on the rise, but so is the sophistication of cyber criminals. They are changing who they target, what they’re after, and their methods of attack for different technologies and systems.
The type of cyber attack a threat actor may use – and the motivation behind it – is also becoming increasingly difficult to predict. Verizon’s 2020 DBIR found that 70% of breaches were caused by outsiders, 45% involved hacking, 86% were financially motivated, 17% involved some form of malware, and 22% featured phishing attacks or social engineering.
More and more, attackers will target unsuspecting victims by leveraging mainstream channels such as social media to conduct their attacks and obtain personal information.
While the criticality of technology cannot be ignored in today’s dynamic business landscape, it also reinforces why cyber security is important for a modern-day society. It is crucial for businesses to ensure their portfolio of tools and technologies – including the sensitive data they generate – are adequately protected against new-age cyber threats, including those stemming from emerging technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence.
While these technologies continue to transform the ways organizations conduct business, they are also changing the already erratic cyber threat landscape. For instance, cyber criminals can use AI to design and conduct attacks. The technology allows these criminals to learn the nuances of a trusted user’s behavior by analyzing email and social media communications. With this information, they can use bots to mimic their actions and language and draft messages that appear highly credible to obtain personal data.
Because AI attacks are more powerful, are constantly changing, and are able to launch at a larger scale, it can be extremely difficult for companies to proactively defend against them.
Not Sure Where to Start in Your Cybersecurity Journey?
Another reason why cyber security is important is because of the continual shift to cloud services. Most companies today are utilizing the cloud in some capacity, whether to facilitate business processes, store customer data, bolster their remote workforce strategy, or another reason entirely.
While there are many security benefits to a cloud deployment, as with anything technical and complex, there can and will be security risks – especially if a cloud environment is not properly secured.
In a survey of 775 cybersecurity professionals, over a quarter of organizations (27%) have experienced a public cloud security incident. What’s more? Cloud misonfigurations clinched the top position as the number one security-related incident, surpassing exposed data by user and account compromise from last year.
As cloud computing solutions continue to grow, it is paramount to ensure all cloud instances and workloads are configured properly and the necessary security controls are in place to protect critical business data and applications residing in the cloud.
Impact on Business Operations
Cybercrime can be detrimental to an organization, with the average cost of a data breach costing more than $4 million, according to IBM.
There are also long-term costs to consider following a data breach – which can last for months to years and include significant expenses that companies may not be aware of – including lost data or intellectual property, business disruption, financial losses due to system downtime, legal liability, identity theft, reputation damage, or even business closure.
Start Protecting Your Organization Today
The points outlined above should answer the question, “why is cybersecurity so important?” and emphasize how critical it is for companies to adapt to the ever-evolving threat landscape.
There are several actions organizations can take to protect their users and company assets from cyber threats, but a few that can be implemented to immediately bolster IT security posture include:
- Enforce stringent email security policies
- Require strong passwords for all users
- Deploy automatic updates company-wide
- Enable multifactor authentication
- Mandate the use of VPNs for remote workers
- Build a security awareness program for training employees on cybersecurity best practices
Cyber threats are only going to become more unpredictable and organizations without strong cyber defenses will be most at risk, which will inevitably result in their data being unprotected and vulnerable to theft and breaches.
If your business has not yet established a comprehensive cybersecurity program, there is no time like the present. The experts at Buchanan can help. Contact us today to get started.