Cyber Security – What it is and why business owners must invest in it.

It is not uncommon for businesses and consumers alike to be cautious of cyber criminals and cyber-attacks when doing business especially at the point of payment. And that is why as a business owner you must absolutely convince your users and website visitors that any information, including email addresses and other contact information they type in is safe and will not be misused by your business organization. In this article we look at what cyber security is and its many facets. 

What is cyber security? 

In its core essence cyber security is the application of technologies, processes and controls to protect systems, networks, devices and data from cyber-attacks. It aims to reduce the risk of cyber-attacks and protect against the unauthorized exploitation of these systems and technologies.  

Laws that govern cyber security 

On the legal side of things, the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is the primary statutory mechanism for prosecuting cyber-crime in the US, and it provides for both criminal and civil penalties. It must also be noted however, that each of the 50 states additionally have their own laws and rules of governance when it comes to cyber security therefore it is important to pay heed to the additional laws that govern the locality of your business. There are however some common rules that apply throughout the states: 

  • The need to notify those affected as soon as possible 
  • Notify the state government as soon as possible 
  • Pay a fine (depending on the nature of the breach) 

Why is cyber security important? 

Cyber security protects all aspects of theft and damage. Without a cybersecurity program, your organization cannot defend itself against data breach campaigns, making it an irresistible target for cybercriminals. 

What with global connectivity and use of cloud storage to store critical data and information like social security numbers, credit card information and bank account details. As a business owner you can no longer solely rely on out-of-the-box cybersecurity solutions like antivirus software and firewalls, cybercriminals are getting smarter and their tactics are becoming more resilient to conventional cyber defenses. 

In a nutshell, whether you are an individual, small business or large multinational, you rely on computer systems every day. Pair this with the rise in cloud services, poor cloud service security, smartphones and the Internet of Things (IoT) and we have a myriad of cybersecurity threats that didn’t exist a few decades ago. 

How can cybercrime affect your business? 

A lack of cybercrime can affect your business radically, effectively driving you out of business or costing you largely in time, resources and finances that it’s definitely more cost effective to invest in cyber security. Below are three key areas of your business that can get damaged due to the lack of cyber security: 

  1. Economic damage: 

Once a third party has had access to sensitive information of your business and your clientele damage control is going to dig quite a deep hole in your wallet. It also goes without saying that your business now needs a new system which is going to cost you time, resources and money in repeated tasks. Additionally, it could cause severe disruption in the flow of your business effectively putting it on halt till you have your system up and running again.  

  1. Reputational damage 

This one is pretty straightforward, once customers find out that you have been a victim of cybercrime, they are not going to be able to trust you with any information again. While you may definitely lose a large bulk of your customers’ word of mouth and poor media coverage will deter new customers from approaching you, successfully turning them towards your competitors. 

  1. Regulatory costs and fines 

CFAA and other laws that govern cyber security may ensure that your organization could suffer from regulatory fines or sanctions as a result of cybercrimes. 

Given the nature of cybercrime and how difficult it can be to detect, it is difficult to understand the direct and indirect costs of many security breaches. This doesn’t mean the reputational damage of even a small data breach or other security event is not large. If anything, consumers expect increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity measures as time goes on. 

How to keep your business protected against cybercrime? 

Staff education: 

According to research, 90% of the data breaches in 2019 happened due to human error, making it extremely important that everyone with access to your system is taught how to identify and correctly respond to cyber threats, so that the majority of data breach incidents could be avoided. Such educational programs could also increase the value of all cybersecurity solution investments because it would prevent staff from unknowingly bypassing expensive security controls to facilitate cybercrime. 

Invest in tools that protect sensitive data: 

A whopping 60% of data breaches involve compromised third parties, so by shutting down vendor data leaks, the majority of data breach incidents can be avoided. This means investing in tools that limit information loss, monitor your third-party risk and fourth-party vendor risk and continuously scan for data exposure and leaked credentials. 

Implement a Third-Party Risk Management (TPRM) Solution

Investing in and implementing a risk management solution that focuses on identifying and reducing risks relating to the use of third parties (such as vendors, suppliers, partners, contractors, or service providers).  

This gives you an understanding of the third parties you use, how you use them, and what safeguards the third parties have in place. The scope and requirements of a third-party risk management program are dependent on your organization and can vary widely depending on industry, regulatory guidance, and other factors. Still, many TPRM best practices are universal and applicable to every business or organization. 

Is your business at a risk of data breach? Are you looking to invest in cyber security? 

At DeLune IT we have just the solution to help you protect your business from data breaches and strengthen network security by continuously monitoring the security posture of all your vendors. Talk to us and we can set you up with the right solution to match your budget and requirements.