Cybersecurity spending is rising in nearly every sector, and the trend is going to continue over the next few years to the point where we will be spending $170 billion by 2020. This spending is well founded, considering how often data breaches and cyberattacks affect companies hoping to maintain their privacy and good reputation with their customers.
Many leaders are already aware of cybersecurity concerns, but there are threats that are not picked up in the daily media or are often overlooked in the bustle of making general IT decisions for the company. Yet an organization's cybersecurity presence is only as strong as its weakest link. Cybercriminals won't show mercy to leaders who overlook a potential vulnerability. This is why you need to stay on top of the important issues and not just the commonly discussed ones.
Here are a few of the issues that business leaders need to have a plan for in order to have a secure organization:
1. Social Engineering
Most cybercriminals will try to avoid spending several months trying to crack the code of your security or looking for gaps in a single program your company uses. Instead, they will simply try to trick you or someone else who works at your organization into giving them the information or letting them into the system.
The reason for this is because it is both the easiest option, and it works well. Minds untrained in at least basic cybersecurity are easy to trick, and the vast majority (some reports say 95 percent) of data breaches are caused by human error. Try to implement the following to keep your organization on top of potential human threats:
2. Public Network and Travel Vulnerabilities
Public networks are among the most dangerous places for anyone with sensitive data, whether it be on a tablet or smartphone. Given the propensity for coffee shops and public places to act as meeting places, the risks should be known. Hackers and other cybercriminals will use "sniffer" programs in order to steal information sent over the network, which can include login information and sensitive correspondence.
React by implementing the following:
3. Social Media Hacks and Scams
A business' social media effort can heavily affect their marketing and sales success, especially for businesses focused on consumers or operating heavily in an online space. They need to watch out for groups or individuals hoping to sabotage them or get a quick laugh by hijacking company accounts. While better safety measures have been put in place as of late, such hijackings make the news a few times a year.
Becoming the target of such an attack is a one-way ticket to bad press and a number of lost followers that increases dramatically with every hour you don't catch the breach. Even Microsoft isn't immune from the problem. Make sure you have a plan that takes into consideration the following:
4. Resource Constraints
A single cybersecurity professional will certainly try their best when they are protecting your organization, but their expertise can only be properly utilized when properly resourced in terms of manpower and equipment. Many businesses will see cybersecurity as an expense instead of the vital insurance it is. This can prove to be a long-term problem and poorly resourced IT security departments will see themselves struggling to catch up. Plans are useful, but action and commitments are what keeps your customers and employees safe.
Simply asking your IT department or professional if they have everything they need to perform can make a huge difference. Someone other than them will have to make the final decision regarding resource allocation, but it should be noted that they need to be able to plan ahead instead of react to situation after situation in order for your organization to truly secure.
As we progress further into a fully digital work environment, we cannot overlook the necessity for cybersecurity. Customers and clients will expect the organizations they work with (and for) to protect their information, and it is up to you to make sure that you are utilizing the latest tools and methods to protect yourself. Double check to make sure you aren't missing anything, and then focus on planning for the future.