You may have a long history of deciding that cybersecurity is not a priority for your business. That approach may have worked for you so far, but it’s increasingly risky. Here are some compelling reasons to invest time and money into improving your IT security measures this quarter.
Cyberattacks on Companies Are Becoming More Prevalent
Online criminals love to cause maximum havoc with their attacks. That’s a primary reason why they typically target organizations rather than individuals. For example, even a brief outage due to a cyber issue at a manufacturing plant could cost tens of thousands of dollars in lost profits. When hospitals get hit with ransomware that locks down systems and files, representatives must send incoming patients elsewhere.
The results of a 2021 study also indicated that 35% of organizations experienced more cyberattacks this year than the previous one. However, they also reported measures that gave positive results.
More specifically, 65% of the organizations polled said they perform cyber maturity assessments to gauge where the company stands and where weak points remain. Then, 78% of the people surveyed could see the payoffs of cybersecurity training and awareness programs.
If you haven’t done so already, consider investigating to see which cybersecurity improvements your company could feasibly achieve this quarter. Then, choose metrics that will help you verify whether those changes bring the expected benefits. Remember that you won’t see immediate results but should expect a gradual shift towards better preparedness.
Data Breach Costs Are Higher Than Ever
Rising costs associated with data breaches should also provide sufficient motivation for company leaders to get serious about cybersecurity during this quarter and beyond. IBM Security recently released a report confirming that the cost of a data breach is higher than it’s been throughout the 17-year history of the research. Those events cost businesses an average of $4.24 million per occurrence. That was a 10% rise over the previous year.
The researchers said that 60% of organizations polled accelerated their cloud-based activities during the pandemic. Plus, many company leaders had significant segments of their workforces clock in remotely. They suggest that these two combined changes may have meant that affected parties did not ensure their security readiness matched the new ways of working.
The study involved investigating the data breaches experienced by more than 500 companies. However, it also addressed what those businesses did to make those incidents less severe. Three technologies — artificial intelligence, security analytics and encryption — had the biggest financial impacts on reducing data breach costs.
More specifically, they saved between $1.25 million and $1.49 million compared to companies that did not use those advancements. Besides implementing at least one of those, consider taking extra care to deactivate people’s credentials once they leave the company and teach employees good password hygiene. The results indicated that compromised credentials allowed hackers to carry out 20% of breaches.
Strong Cybersecurity Reflects Well on the Business
You probably invest in things like excellent customer service and a well-functioning supply chain to keep your business operating smoothly. Those things are undoubtedly important, but cybersecurity enhancements should factor into your budget, too.
A 2021 cybersecurity prediction that’s coming to pass is that people are starting to view a company’s cybersecurity program as a brand component. Business owners realize that paying attention to the matter could create opportunities with new customers. Plus, the people who give their money to a company don’t have much tolerance for non-existent or inadequate measures to keep their data safe.
No matter what kind of business you have, parts of it almost certainly rely on the internet and electronic data. Instead of simply stating to customers that you take cybersecurity seriously, go into detail about the specific things you do to keep your infrastructure and their data secure.
Consider making a dedicated page on your website that explains your cybersecurity measures in easy-to-understand language. Even a person who does not have a technical background will still want assurance they can trust your business to follow best practices.
Remote Workers Could Become Easy Targets for Cybercriminals
Remote work has rapidly become much more common than it was. Many companies now let employees split their time between doing their jobs at home and in offices. That often promotes a better work-life balance and allows for more flexibility. However, it can also increase the cybersecurity risk for your company. That doesn’t mean you should necessarily think twice about letting people work from home. Be aware that doing it safely requires taking some smart precautions.
For example, a May 2021 study found that many remote workers have setups that could make it easier for hackers to do damage. The results showed that 69% used personal laptops or printers to handle work duties. Then, 30% of remote employees with dedicated work laptops let other people use them. Those situations could make it easier for cybercriminals to find more ways to breach a system.
The research also involved polling IT decision-makers to learn about the kinds of attacks that have become more prevalent over the past year. The data revealed a 56% increase in web browser infections, plus a 54% rise in phishing. Then, in 44% of cases, hackers compromised devices to affect the broader business.
If it is not feasible for your company to provide work laptops for all remote employees, consider having the IT team evaluate personal computers and making the necessary changes, such as updating operating systems, software and anti-virus definitions. Additionally, consider providing people with a quick-reference sheet that lists the warning signs of phishing or other common tactics. Remote work may mean they can’t immediately contact the IT department and could benefit from accessible resources.
Treat Cybersecurity as a Critical Issue This Quarter
Perhaps you’ve been intending to increase your cybersecurity investments but haven’t acted yet. Alternatively, maybe online security has never been a priority. All that you’ve just read should be enough to convince you that it’s time to take a different approach. Even if you’ve been lucky enough not to have a major cyber incident yet, that fortune may not continue for much longer.
However, you can take proactive measures now to significantly reduce the chances of something happening and increase the likelihood that you can get back on track if an attack occurs. Use the suggestions here as starting points when exploring how you could enhance cybersecurity in ways that’ll pay off soon and in the long run.