The significant number of high profile security breaches over the past 12 – 24 months has put cyber security firmly at the top of the list for all businesses, both large and small. Gone are the days when it was possible to ignore the potential damage that cyber crime could cause – we are now so networked and digitised that a single attack could bring down an entire business. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, cyber crime costs the global economy US$400 billion per year and in 2015, the Ponemon Institute’s released its Cost of Cyber Crime: United Kingdom study, which indicated that the cost to this country is more than £4 million for large organisations alone, rising steadily by 14% a year.
Tech innovation has become a key term for businesses looking to boost competitiveness and ROI and allocate resources more effectively, but this necessarily involves risk. For example, using the cloud creates centralisation of data, producing bigger targets for cyber criminals. A rise in the use of mobile has also created more ways in which business networks can be penetrated, and the phenomenon of Big Data – so useful for understanding customer behaviours and responses – puts huge pressure on business security simply as a result of the increase in volume of material to safeguard.
Why cyber security is important
Whether an attack takes the form of some type of internal sabotage, or an external security breach, the consequences can be significant for businesses. From quantifiable financial loss, to the destruction of trust in a business that has suffered a security breach, operational disruption and issues that can arise from failing to carry out basic obligations, such as paying suppliers or meeting orders, a lack of cyber security can lead to problems that go right to the heart of every organisation. Businesses that find themselves infected with malware as a result of a breach of cyber security can pass this on to others, as many of these malicious attacks are designed to spread themselves as far, and as fast, as possible.
Gone are the days when businesses could assume ‘it won’t happen to us.’ We have seen in recent months that even the largest and most apparently invulnerable organisations cannot escape, and that the smallest businesses still produce data which has value to cyber criminals and hackers. Like never before there is now an urgency for every organisation to protect itself from cyber security threats.