With the steady adoption of technology and the digitalization of the world economy, the value of data (both personal and business) cannot be understated. Gone are the days of having all the important company documents and records stored in a cabinet at the office. We have now moved towards digitally storing data, both on and offsite for regulatory reasons. The reality is that the issue of cybersecurity extends far further than what the movies will have us believe.
In a nutshell, the goal of cybersecurity is to keep data and information protected. This information can vary from contact details, banking details, or even login information to emails, contracts, and agreements. Unauthorized access to this information could result in reputational or economic damage to all parties. We have seen many cases where hackers have used data as ransom.
Our society is more technologically inclined than ever before and there is no sign that this trend will slow. Thus, the importance of cybersecurity is only becoming more prevalent, making it imperative that both individuals and companies start educating themselves on why it’s desperately needed.
The importance of cybersecurity
Whether you are a sole proprietor, run a small business, or work for a multinational organization, you probably rely on at least one technological device to carry out your work activities. This reliance creates a threat as there is important data that is stored on these devices. Cybersecurity encompasses a wide range of defensive activities including protection of personal information, intellectual property, and the industry or government information systems from theft or damage by cybercriminals. In recent years cybersecurity has become an unavoidable topic as there has been a huge increase in the hacks or attempts to access sensitive data. Cybersecurity ensures that the network is secure, giving all users the confidence that their information is safe and not at risk of being accessed by random parties.
It has become important to educate employees on the methods that people use or try to trick them into divulging information over the phone or possibly by email. As the consequences of hackers gaining access to information and stealing it could range from identity theft to the loss of millions of Rands due to a stolen product idea.
Protecting confidential information or electronic data
In today’s world, many businesses rely heavily on connectivity, whether that be websites, VPNs for remote employees, or connections to vendor systems – meaning that they are exposed to the threat of cybercriminals.
There are three simple steps that every business can take to increase security and reduce the risk of cybercrime:
- Educateall levels of your organization about cybersecurity and social engineering scams such as phishing emails.
- Invest in systems or toolsthat limit information loss, monitor your third-party risk, and fourth-party vendor risk. Also, your company must continuously scan for data exposure and leak credentials.
- Make use of technology to reduce costs, such as automatically sending out vendor assessment questionnaires to judge the level of risk as part of an overall cybersecurity risk assessment strategy.
With more and more people working from home and requiring access to company data remotely, the importance of cybersecurity has become more important.
Both public and private sectors have recognized that cybersecurity is not only a function of the I.T department. Companies have started to address the importance of cybersecurity as an integral component of their business strategies. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution or a single system that will solve all your security qualms. A successful information security program takes a strategic pairing of solutions, best practices, and staff training to develop.
As technology develops, so does the way we fight cybercrime and thus your cybersecurity should be an ongoing project, always adapting to the times and new risks. When trying to educate yourself and your team on the different aspects of cybersecurity and changing the conversation around cybersecurity, creative solutions can be found.
Cybersecurity should be taken seriously and could have very dire consequences when not properly addressed. Cyber threats can have serious ramifications for individuals, businesses’, and in some cases even governments. It’s important to remember that cybersecurity is not a one-stop destination but rather a continuous journey, an integrated approach of people, tools, implementation and proper monitoring is the only way to reach a successful security program for your business.