Problems created as a result of weak cyber security can make or break a business. For both small and large organisations, hackers can create serious issues by gaining access to networks and systems to retrieve valuable information. As our use of technology increases, so does the frequency of cybercrime, stressing how important it is to maintain secure protection against these threats. Choosing to ignore it could not only lead to financial and information loss, but also serious damage to your organisation's reputation and its standing within the business community.
Current Security Challenges:
Constantly evolving technology means that security threats develop alongside it. Whilst we try and keep up with technology, so do the hackers in finding new ways to access important data. Businesses are having to deal with these new threats every day.
Undoubtedly one of the more important security challenges facing us today is the growing realization that mobile devices are systemically vulnerable to interception and monitoring. Seen as the weakest link in a company's cyber security protection, hackers can take advantage of these flaws and exploit them on a regular basis from anywhere around the world.
Mobile devices serve as a cyber security problem because of one factor: they are mobile. This accessibility has resulted in 30% of online orders being made through mobile devices last year, a popularity that is set to grow, all the while creating a hive of activity for online hackers.
The devices aren't under the same control as your employee's desktops or your internal servers. They are liabilities in the hands of your employees. Whilst working is made easier and more portable through their use, it also exposes cyber security weaknesses. All digital media devices are a way in for hackers, not just network PCs and laptops in the office.
Networking technology is changing rapidly, something that means firewalls will have to adapt in order to keep up. Acting as the controlling barrier to decide what goes in and out of a network, they can determine who accesses important information.
As well as changing firewalls, your software needs to remain up-to-date so that your level of protection remains strong enough to withstand threats. Old software doesn't just slow down your operating system, but it leaves you exposed to potential new attacks.
The recent trend found in hacking is the use of malicious code and links. The technique targets businesses of all shapes and sizes because it is a quick way to try and gain unauthorised access to information. These attacks have shown us that it's not just an organisations customer data, trade secrets, or finances that are at stake, but that entire operations have been shut down as a result, having devastating effects not only on the business itself, but the numerous employees and consumers too.
A Need for Education and Awareness:
Many of the breaches seen in the last year were not the result of outside hackers penetrating the business and stealing data from it, but from sources within the organisation. By having access to sensitive data, employees can inadvertently or maliciously create entry-points into systems and networks, leaving valuable information exposed to hackers. Since no malware is involved and no penetration actually happens because it comes from inside the company's barriers, many of the common security mechanisms, like firewalls and anti-virus software, become blind to the attacks happening.
Cyber security skills are essential to any organisation committed to addressing the increasing and pervasive risks associated with cyber attacks. Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) have stressed that regular and consistent conversations between leadership teams, board members, and other employees can help strengthen and maintain cyber-security practices. This is all in the aim that, if employees are trained to serve as the first line of defence for organisations, they will no longer be a weak link in the cyber-security chain for hackers to exploit, and instead they are prepared to spot potential threats and deal with them effectively.
Even offering basic awareness training can significantly improve the cyber-security of a company collectively, a small step to help prevent financial and reputational losses that go hand-in-hand with unauthorised access to devices, networks, and databases.
By spreading the message that everyone is accountable and responsible for cyber security, organisations can successfully create a compliant environment alongside regular training that's both up-to-date and engaging, both features that allow a company to efficiently protect itself against the cybercrime out there.
In addition to this, the GDPR's new data protection legislation, released in 2018, ushers in a world of change for security teams in business. It will allow professionals to join forces with privacy, risk and compliance officers to maximise data governing policies. The changes will see a push towards a compliant culture within the workplace to ensure data protection policies and regulations are met consistently. By introducing fines of up to 4% of a company's annual turnover, it is hoped that the increasing threat of cybercrime will finally be taken seriously among all parties involved.