As 2016 came to a close, cybersecurity and politics were on all our minds with claims of foreign powers hacking into political party databases in the news daily. As elections resolved and 2017 began a new era, the nations’ security organizations confirmed there had indeed been breaches.
In this New Year, any business or institution that has not considered the idea of improving their online security, is essentially offering an invitation to hackers to come in, access their data, and wreak havoc with their business and customers’ privacy. Authorities throughout the technology channel have determined that among all the potential threats that could assault a business in 2017, the top concerns include:
- Cyber-attack through access to connected systems and devices
- Hacking into data stored in the cloud
- Public sector hack disruption, sponsored by foreign states
- Advanced machine learning offers new ways to leverage social media to violate privacy
- New security requirements provoke businesses to self-regulate and maintain outdated standards
In the latest Cisco Cybersecurity Report the negative financial impacts caused by cybersecurity breaches, such as increased costs, lost customers, lost credibility and lost revenue, are astounding.
“More than 50 percent of organizations faced public scrutiny after a security breach. Operations and finance systems were the most affected, followed by brand reputation and customer retention. For organizations that experienced an attack, the effect was substantial:
- Twenty-two percent of breached organizations lost customers -- 40 percent of them lost more than 20 percent of their customer base.
- Twenty-nine percent lost revenue, with 38 percent of that group losing more than 20 percent of revenue.
- Twenty-three percent of breached organizations lost business opportunities, with 42 percent of them losing more than 20 percent.”
The solutions mentioned in the report are fundamental and imperative, but if businesses don’t pay attention to the growing level of interference, they will pay in other ways as the next probable victim of cyber-attack. The report advises the following steps to minimize your risk:
- Make security a business priority: Executive leadership must own and evangelize security and fund it as a priority.
- Measure operational discipline: Review security practices, patch, and control access points to network systems, applications, functions, and data.
- Test security effectiveness: Establish clear metrics. Use them to validate and improve security practices.
- Adopt an integrated defense approach: Make integration and automation high on the list of assessment criteria to increase visibility, streamline interoperability, and reduce the time to detect and stop attacks. Security teams then can focus on investigating and resolving true threats.
According to Gartner, businesses investing in cybersecurity are expected to exceed $1 trillion from 2017 to 2021, which is a huge climb from the $80 billion spent on cybersecurity products and services in 2016. Also last year, Ginni Rometty, IBM’s chairman, president and CEO, said “Cybercrime is the greatest threat to every company in the world.”
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