Cyber-security! Let’s start by defining what it is? Cyber –security is really just what it says it is. It is security for cyber space aka the World Wide Web. It’s a process by which systems, networks and programs are protected from digital attacks aimed at accessing, altering or even worse, destroying sensitive information.
However, attackers not only target data. Sometimes, their aim is to scam money from users or disrupt normal business processes. To counter or at least mitigate these attacks, businesses should invest in effective cyber security measures.
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Who needs cyber-security?
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not only companies handling financial information that need to take cyber threats seriously. Every business, in every industry that uses the internet needs cyber-security.
What are the different types of cyber threats?
What do viruses, spam and identity fraud have in common? They are all types cyber attacks that plague small business. Some of these include malware, ransomware, social engineering and phishing.
These attacks may differ in name and approach, but they’re all designed to cause damage. Investing in cyber security helps to prevent or mitigate that damage.
Here are seven more reasons you need to invest in cyber security.
1. Cyber-security protects customer data.
Society dictates that most business transactions are now done online. Because of this, customers share their information with websites in exchange for a product or service online.
That information is sensitive because it’s the client’s credit card data, home addresses, passwords, etc. and they want you to keep it safe.
When you invest in cyber-security, you are telling your users their information is respected and protected. SSL certificates help websites by providing tough encryption for web pages. Encrypting sensitive information like payment details and signup forms. For more on SSL certificates learn more here.
2. Hackers don’t operate in a vacuum or from ignorance
They know that businesses and websites collect and store all types of sensitive information that could be beneficial if they got their hands on it.
As a result, cyber criminals get creative and diversify their means of attack. Think malware, viruses, phishing, and general data theft and service disruption.
Hackers are always developing ways to breach new security systems. This means that even the most vigorous cyber-security technology isn’t 100 percent immune to attacks.
And while all attacks are not created equal, they all have the ability to seriously disrupt your business’s operations. Having a cyber-security system in place, though not bulletproof, will save you time and resources. Learn how to protect your website from hackers by using these best practices for online security.
3. The prevalence of cyber-security attacks
You may be tempted to think cyber security attacks are random and infrequent, but they are way more common than many think. They can also prove to be irreparable.
It is easy to think only large organisations are affected by data breaches, because those are the ones that make the news, but the truth is that individuals and small business are not immune to cyber-attacks.
As a matter of fact, a research in 2017 found that almost fifty percent of data breaches and cyber-security hacking attacks target small business. 60 percent of them never recover from the attack. That’s an unnecessary risk to take.
4. It’s more cost effective
Recovering from a severe security breach can cost millions of dollars and no-one is immune. Opting therefore to operate without cyber security, which leaves you vulnerable to safety breaches, is not wise.
If a breach does happen and sensitive information is compromised, it becomes very expensive. You will have to pay to lead a criminal investigation; pay compliance fees, court fines and then have to invest in cyber–security services, which is counterproductive.
In addition to all of this, businesses will lose valuable customers in the process, and will end up spending even more on customer acquisition and reputation rebranding. These are the exact reasons small businesses tend to go out of business after a data breach.
If you are a small to medium-sized business, consider outsourcing help, but if your business is one the larger scale, it is a wise and solid decision to establish a cyber-security department. It will protect you from paying high fines, while saving the company from damaging its reputation and losing clients.
5. Increases trust and brand awareness among clients and investors
A security breach can compromise any amount of personal information. Think passwords, phone numbers, credit card information, home addresses, etc.
Once you enter information online, companies store it in their database. This means your information is at risk if the website is not adequately secure.
By investing in cyber-security, you can guarantee customers that the information they share with you is protected. This could also be a major selling point for your business as it will cause people to trust you and attract investors. Either way, it’s a win-win.
6. It exposes the company to regulatory actions
A cyber attack on your business or website makes you a victim, but that doesn’t stop regulators from questioning you whole operation.
A successful security breach against your company can easily make you the subject of regulatory reviews where you are forced to comply with audits and additional tax agreements, incident response plans and a host of other rules.
But it gets more intense, as cyber-security rules come with enforced penalties that have very short deadlines and punishment is dependent on the incident and your industry.
You should also know that attacks can ruin your reputation once word gets out of your sanction. Lenders don’t want to give you money and investors may start questioning if your business is worth their investment.
7. The increase in mobile usage will increase exposure to attacks
Mobile devices are particularly vulnerable to cyber crimes for a number of reasons such as, their newness and their size.
Because mobile devices are still relatively new to market, they are somewhat unprotected. Their small size makes them more likely to get lost or stolen, which increases the likelihood of a cyberattack.
It’s also very easy for mobile malware to embed itself via Wi-Fi’s, compromising the entire operation.
Now that you know what cyber-security is, how it works and why you should invest in it, here’s how to find the right company to assist your business secure itself against cyber attacks.
A quick internet search will give you options like website monitoring tools, backup, SSL certificates and more. Research your potential provider cyber-security options. Especially when you have large amounts of data to protect. You want to make sure you find a reputable company to buy online security products from.
In addition, ask around for referrals. Word of mouth is often the best advertisement. If a company did right by your colleagues and peers, they will be willing to share that information with you. In the same breath, read testimonials to learn what others say about the company and service you want to use.
It doesn’t matter the industry you belong to, the size of your organisation or the products and services you provide, cyber-security has to be one of your top priorities.
It will protect your reputation and your client’s information; cause them to trust you more, while setting you apart from your competitors.