No business is too small. All business data is of value to someone, regardless of the industry. The reality is that every industry has been attacked and will be attacked in the future.
What makes every business vulnerable is the simple fact that they are connected to the Internet (it’s a bit of a double-edged sword, if you think about how beneficial the internet is for business!). Cyber criminals are now monetizing data. Interestingly enough, the Ponemon Institute broke down the price of stolen data in 2015. Here are a few of the more interesting findings:
- The cost per lost record for Canadian companies was $227
- The average cost per lost record in other countries was US$170
- A bank account with a US $2,200 balance sold for US$190
The first two bullet points are for a single record, so imagine how much any company stands to lose when they have fallen victim to a cyber attack. Monetary reasons aside, there is also the reputational factor to consider – when a business has been breached, their reputation suffers and they tend to lose customers.
We see a lot about the cost to organizations (financial and reputational), and it’s put cyber security on most businesses radars, but I’ll give you two other reasons why cyber security needs to be a permanent fixture for every business.
I cannot overstate how much opportunity the Internet of Things (IoT) holds for businesses – the data collected by connected devices provides rich consumer insights that were, before, largely unavailable. But businesses need to ensure that they are leveraging secure IoT solutions. IoT requires focusing on security at the endpoint/sensor, connectivity, and the backend application layers. You need to work with IoT providers that offer secure solutions at all three of these layers.
The evolving nature of cybercrime
One of the flies in the ointment when it comes to securing an organization is that cyber threats keep evolving. Cybercrime started as a disruptive act where attackers erased data or damaged hardware to prevent users from doing business, but this did not turn out to be effective. Attackers changed from being destructive to being stealthy. Malware now hides on systems and captures information, which criminals can either use to sell or access other systems like banking or accounting. Today, cybercrime is highly targeted making identification on a broad scale much more difficult.
Businesses have a lot to contend with – the monetary worth of their data, the huge spike in the number of connected devices, and changing threats. Advanced threats ranked as one of the highest pressure points to organizations (I read this in Trustwave’s 2017 Global Security Report). I read one more thing that I’ll mention: there is an increase in the number of records that are being breached. Last year, there were 4.2 billion records exposed globally.
It’s a challenge.
Here’s what motivates me: Every business can be protected. But it is paramount to put cyber security first and find the right security partner – in today’s world, cyber security has become as essential as every other major business function.
Stewart Cawthray leads product management for enterprise security solutions at Rogers.
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