Today’s cyberattacks are more agile, more frequent, and more threatening than ever before. Some cyberattacks, like the attacks on Target in 2013, Goodwill in 2014, and R.T. Jones in 2015 target industry giants. However, the truth is that most cyberattacks occur randomly and in a clandestine fashion, where hackers scan the web for any available vulnerabilities to exploit. Regrettably, this means that everyone, irrespective of size, industry, or capitalization, is a potential target.
As companies up their cybersecurity defenses, those who want to exploit security posture weaknesses are getting stronger, bolder, and more destructive. Today’s small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face a litany of cyber challenges. In 2016, 60% of cyberattacks targeted SMBs. 67% of SMB’s say their current technologies can’t detect or block most cyberattacks, and further, that they lack the personnel to maintain a strong cybersecurity posture.
For client confidence to grow, cybersecurity must become every employee’s responsibility, presenting a strong, formidable defense against malicious attacks. Companies that extend cybersecurity throughout their entire ecosystem leverage client safety and trust as a market differentiator.
Cybersecurity is each employee’s responsibility, and here are five things you can do right now:
Identify your company’s “crown jewels,” and risk-rate your digital assets. Audit each assets’ access points and daily uses to identify ecosystem weaknesses. Ask some of the hard questions: do employees have access to human resources data unrelated to their position? How many service applications interact with clients’ financial data? Do my mobile employees securely log in to company servers?
Integrate cybersecurity into the talent strategy and create a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) role that strengthens people, processes, and programs. Take it one step further, and integrate compliance into cybersecurity strategy— simultaneously turning any money invested in compliance to defense spending.
Understand how regulation impacts your company and digital practices.
Ensure that cybersecurity built in to any digital services. Thus, as you expand, you will become more secure, and less vulnerable.
Build a crisis and communication action plan that can be enacted in the event of a cybersecurity crisis. Strengthen company resilience by ensuring that each team member knows their role in the event of a crisis. Don’t stop at ‘detection’ strategies—employ end-to-end security solutions that prevent.
The future business will be driven by digital relationships that overstep local encounters and rest on reputation. This connectivity will offer many new strategic opportunities for companies and their customers. Yet in doing so, this increased connectivity will open these companies, their families, and their clients up to a host of new cyber risks that will threaten one of the core elements of professional services: trust.
In an increasingly global and therefore increasingly competitive market, to win and maintain the business of customers who expect their information to be respected and well protected, companies must show their resolve to preserve the privacy of their data. Conversely, clients demand an ever-increasing range of digitally accessible products and services, all of which create dozens of access points for cyber threats and irrevocably link privacy to integrity and trust.
Companies must understand how cyber threats evolve, keep ahead of new regulation, foster a comprehensive cybersecurity culture within the company, and work closely with security vendors to secure the entire ecosystem as efficiently as possible. The companies that achieve these objectives and consistently prove to be devoted guardians of client data will succeed in making cybersecurity a market differentiator that will offer stability and competitive advantage in a disruptive age.