Cyber security is defined as the measures taken to protect computer systems, networks and data from attacks and unauthorised access which aim to steal information and disrupt services. As we rely on technology more, the threat of a cyber-attacks is also increasing.
According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the global damages caused by cybercrime is predicted to reach $6 Trillion (£4.82 trillion) annually by 2021. Because of this, small to medium sized businesses are starting to realise that they are at great risk of becoming a victim of a cyber-attack.
In this post I am going to give a few points as to why cyber security is important now more than ever and why it shouldn’t be ignored.
The rising cost of breaches
As the cyber-attacks become more complex, the cost of fixing them is also increasing. Not only would a company have to spend money resolving the breach, there are also many other factors that would lead to a loss of revenue. A business could face falling stock prices and legal fees depending on the severity of the attack. It even has the potential to halt their entire operation if the attack is extreme as seen by the recent (as of this post) ransomware attack on Honda. New laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) now hold business’s responsible for any breach that exposes personal data. Failing to comply with these laws can lead to heavy fines. They would also need to identify how an attacker was able to gain access in the first place.
Customer protection and confidence
Having a data breach doesn’t just affect a business, it’s customers are at most risk. Personal and confidential data such as bank details and addresses can cause cascading issues for them if they fall into the wrong hands. Because of this, customers can lose confidence with a company that recently had a data breach. An issue like this can severely damage a company’s reputation and would cause customers to end contracts and go elsewhere.
The Internet of Things
As more smart devices are being connected to the internet (known as the Internet of Things or IoT), this presents more opportunity for hackers to gain access to sensitive data. More of these devices are becoming increasingly common in the workplace and in homes. Whilst these devices would improve our lives, they also would come with their own security risk with each new device providing an opportunity for a hacker to gain access to a wide range of personal data.
Everybody Has Access to Hacking Tools
Whilst sophisticated and high skilled hackers still exist, there is now a wider availability of hacking tools on the internet for anyone to buy and use. This means that less skilled individuals with malicious intent have access to tools which they can use to launch damaging attacks such as ransomware or leaked information. There are also many forums and websites on the internet where anyone can contact a hacker and pay them to target a specific system.
Remember when it comes to infiltrating your system, hackers have an entire toolbox worth of tricks at their disposal but just as defensive driving improves the safety of other motorists on the road, or staying home when you’re sick prevents spreading the flu around your office, maintaining proper cyber security measures on your own devices affects the rest of the online community.