It’s difficult to scan through any news site or publication and not see mention of yet another cybersecurity breach. And with each story, we read about the devastation the breach caused to the business and community.
This constant barrage of cyber attacks has made cybersecurity unavoidable for any organization. Spending money to maintain a robust, secure presence is no different than budgeting for the cost of electricity to keep the lights on or getting billed for your internet — it’s something you simply have to consider.
Unfortunately, many small or even mid-sized businesses think they can’t afford to invest in cybersecurity, or just haven’t properly created a cybersecurity budget. In the long run, though, the investment in safeguards and security solutions can save your business money and ultimately keep your doors open.
If your organization isn’t keeping cybersecurity top of mind, here are some suggestions for sharing the scale of the potential risk with your decision-makers.
All Hail the IoT
In recent years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has found its place in many businesses and offices. There’s no question that these interconnected devices provide many benefits and are extremely convenient. However, hackers have found new and creative ways to infiltrate networks and data centers using these devices.
Nothing is safe; everything from wearables to connected toys to smart speakers are potential attack vectors for savvy hackers. However, IoT vulnerabilities are mostly preventable. As long as you’re actively managing endpoints and connectivity within your organization, your IoT devices should be safe from external threats. Often this requires some type of IT support, whether outsourced or in-house, so make sure you include this in your cybersecurity budget.
As it turns out, your organization has more to lose from malicious mobile apps than a loss of thousands of hours of productivity. Mobile attacks are only increasing, and if an infected device connects to your network, it could lead to big problems for you. An infected phone could lead attackers directly into your data structures and other applications.
One prime example is the hack of the popular health app, MyFitnessPal. Many consumers used this app, but many companies also used it. Organizations could integrate the app into HR systems to track steps for corporate wellness programs. UnderArmor reported that this particular hack affected more than 150 million users of the app.
To combat this, you must protect all devices that can connect to your network, or you risk a massive breach. One solution many businesses use is mobile application management software. This software allows organizations to secure applications on users devices, but organizations will have to budget accordingly.
The Cost of Ransomware
One of the largest financial threats that loom over businesses is ransomware. This type of malware can cost a company everything — and it’s growing every year. In the final quarter of 2019, the average cost of ransomware rose to $84,116. The previous figure was $41,198. From the steep ransoms to lost revenues and repair expenses, many businesses can’t afford to pay the price ransomware demands.
However, by investing in a few cybersecurity safeguards, your organization can defend itself against ransomware and recover quickly and easily if hit — lowering the cost significantly. If a business previously invests in robust backup and disaster recovery solutions, they can return their business to full operations in very little time. An inability to regain operations within a few days can lead to long-term and drastic damage to the reputation and operations of an organization.
This is just another reason why businesses need to have a cybersecurity budget.
Machine Learning Gone Bad
There are many wonderful applications of machine learning. One of which is the ability for engineers to use the technology to combat cyberattacks. They can “train” systems to identify the hallmarks of an attack to trigger an action or notification.
Unfortunately, hackers are also finding that there are opportunities within machine learning and artificial intelligence worlds, creating adversarial machine learning (ML) that will counter the work that these smart programs are meant to accomplish.
Today’s hackers are starting to see how information technology professionals are utilizing ML as a defense. From this information, they are creating countermeasures that will allow them access into sensitive systems. Organizations need to invest in talent that can combat these countermeasures. Having support staff who stay up-to-date on the latest ways hackers are utilizing ML can have a significant impact on the security of an organization.
The #1 Target
One of the most significant attack vectors for businesses is one that workers use hundreds of times a day: email. Phishing emails are becoming more targeted as cybercriminals look for specific information about particular individuals on social media or in the news. These individuals then leverage that knowledge to create a customized attack.
These phishing emails often go after individuals at an organization who have access to sensitive data or financial power. For instance, an individual in the accounting or bookkeeping department is often a strong target.
With today’s distributed workforce, it’s not unusual for traveling employees to need an advance on funds or find themselves in some sort of financial bind. Hackers are using this proclivity to create requests, which can become untraceable once the transaction is complete.
Organizations combat these problems by creating an ongoing education program for staff members, especially those in sensitive positions. They also invest in software that helps filter phishing emails, keeping their employees from even receiving a suspicious email in the first place.
Organizations Need a Cybersecurity Budget Today
How is an organization to survive when you consider all of these various threats and the massive scale of the risk they experience daily? The answer is investing in cybersecurity. More companies are starting to understand the importance of security, however many still think they won’t be the one.
This is especially true for small businesses. Many think they are too small to be valuable to a hacker. However, this is entirely not true. Often, hackers target small businesses because they are easier marks. They don’t have the sophisticated cybersecurity measures that bigger organizations have.
Investing in cybersecurity is the key to protecting your organization — and it doesn’t have to break the bank either. Take the time to research your organization and understand what safeguards you need to put in place. You can always enlist the help of a managed service provider to help you determine your needs and cybersecurity budget.
To learn more about protecting you and your business from cybersecurity threats, check out our Ultimate Guide To Cybersecurity!