With advancements in information technology, data transmission and storage get cheaper and efficient. In today’s digital economy, data is the new oil and companies collect and generate large volumes of data known as ‘big data’. This enables smart choices for businesses to innovate and transform business processes and services. However, this revolution comes with consequences of cyberattacks on digital assets. The sophisticated cyber-attacks by hackers and continuous surveillance by cybersecurity professionals have become a cat and mouse situation.
As cyber adversaries are dynamic, motivated and intelligent, organisations are facing persistent and constant cyberthreats. The top cyberthreats include phishing, malware, fireless attacks, ransomware and insider. The hostile actors and environment have made cybersecurity a war and it is vital for organisations to prepare and prevent the cyberattacks.
One way to fight against cyber adversaries is investing in affordable and effective cybersecurity solutions. Cyber security technologies automate the security processes and systems detect malicious activities in real-time. Cybersecurity involves defending applications, networks, endpoint and cloud from malicious cyber-attacks to ensure integrity, availability and confidentiality of critical IT infrastructure. There are ranges of cybersecurity technologies available to protect different areas of IT infrastructure.
Investment in cybersecurity technologies is a good bet
A typical data breach affects many facets of businesses such as brand reputation decline, intellectual property and customer retention. More unsettling, it takes an average of 198 days to detect a data breach, 69 days to contain a breach after detecting it and 75% of American consumer would not buy from a business with lax cybersecurity.
Companies should treat investment in cybersecurity technologies as CAPEX as opposed to a red line in the annual budget. It should be viewed as long-term, fluid and performance driven along with quantifiable goals (KPIs). It is good bet to invest in cybersecurity technologies because of range of financial and non-financial benefits.
Avoidance of cybersecurity incident cost: A security incident cost millions of dollars to a company. In the US, an average of data breach is $8 million and $240 per record, which more than twice the local average. This includes system and employee downtimes, lost customers and revenues and lost opportunities. For instance, an average economic cost of Cyberattack on mid-sized healthcare company is $23 million that includes $11 million direct and $12 million indirect costs. The investment in cybersecurity technologies can save companies millions of dollars and protect their brand from public embarrassment.
Increase customer trust and confidence: The strain of network breaches and mishandled data tarnishes the image of companies and a wide number of companies are infamous for such incidents. An investment in cybersecurity is a differentiating factor and strong selling point when it comes to customer acquisition and retention. An investment in cybersecurity sends a signal to investors that sensitive information and privacy is protected and is also priceless. Cybersecurity investment create buzz, and creates brand loyalty with customers because it highlights that companies take cybersecurity responsibility seriously.
No regulatory fines and ensure compliance: In the US, the cybersecurity regulations were introduced in 2017 and being a victim of a cybersecurity breach, a company can be subjected to further regulatory reviews, which include audit, review of incident response plans, addition tax compliance and limits on privileges. It does not stop there; the regulations come with fines and penalties which could ruin a company reputation amongst investors’ lenders and insurance companies. An investment in cybersecurity technologies ensures a business is complaint and successful.
5G and IoT: There are 27 billion IoT devices with expected growth of 75 billion by 2025. IoT will substantially benefit from higher bandwidth of 5G because more devices can be connected to IoT networks. IoT devices will facilitate business to deliver better value for customers. However, with growth in IoT the cybersecurity challenges are expected to increase because IoT is vulnerable to cyberattacks. This includes IoT domain attacks (Man-in-the-middle, denial of service attack, device cloning and hijacking), IoT network attacks (spoofing, protocol tampering and false base station) and IoT application attacks (theft of data, malware and unauthorised access).
The role of cybersecurity technologies is to secure devices, manage device updates, authenticate devices, secure communication and protect data integrity. A business planning to utilise IoT to deliver higher value to customers should invest in robust cybersecurity solutions to extract customer value.
Usefulness of cybersecurity technologies
Intrusion prevention systems (IPS): As a proactive network security, the IPS detects incorrect, inappropriate and malicious activity that could disrupt availability and integrity of network and prevent identified threats. These actions include blocking network traffic, dropping malicious data packets and resetting connections. A cost effective approach to apply IPS is off-the-shelf cybersecurity solutions that offers full-fledged IPS functionality.
User and entity behaviour analytics software (UEBA): UEBA solutions monitor user’s actions, location, behaviour and privileges to detect threats in time and in case of network misuse or strange behaviours, the software alerts security personnel. UEBA is useful to detect insider threat, create behaviours profiles, detect brute force attacks, detect compromised accounts and in some ways predict some future threats.
Virtual dispersive networks (VDN): Cryptography was considered useful in protecting information within computers and when information sent over the internet. However, Man-in-the-Middle (MIM) has changed the scenario through cracking encryption of messages. VDN uses military radio technology and applies it to cybersecurity by breaking the message into many regions using different protocols on independent paths thus ensuring each part is encrypted individually. The three key features of VDN are unprecedented security, network resilience and performance of network.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA): As an identity and access management technology, MFA requires the user to provide two or more verification factors to access the digital resource. Along with ID and password, MFA requires additional verification such as ‘something you know’, ‘something you are’ and ‘something you have’ which decreases the likelihood of cybercrime. In the U.S, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommends the use of MFA to protect sensitive data like financial records, email, user databases and health records.
When compared to severity of cyber threats and their impact on business, the cybersecurity solutions are not expensive. An investment in cybersecurity technologies is best bet to increase customer trust, reduce exposure to cyber incident cost and regulatory reviews, and protect valuable assets of the business. An investment in cybersecurity technologies is forward thinking for businesses to monetised and realise sales, loyalty, opportunities, business agility and stakeholders’ relationships.