Hackers and cyber villains are lurking in just about every corner of commerce today, from skimmers at gas stations to massive enterprise and governmental system infiltrations. These compromises are incredibly costly, not only in dollars but also in damage to a business’s reputation. Protecting against such crimes has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Companies of all sizes must invest in cyber security programs to protect themselves and their customers.
The Impact of Reputational Loss
Nearly everyone who reads online news has heard about the financial ramifications of a breach. Not only must a company correct the vulnerability, but they also must help affected parties repair and recover their losses. A successful hacker may collect records for months before being detected, putting millions of consumers and patients at risk of identity theft and financial losses. Breach amelioration costs can quickly reach millions or billions of dollars.
Recovery is not where the catastrophe ends. Even with effective breach handling, the future of an affected company is at risk. Revenues will shrink nearly immediately as consumers look for other vendors or providers of the service and will likely remain severely diminished for a long time period. In many cases, the combination of recovery expense and sharply declining revenue could easily be a company’s end.
In the event that a breached business does manage to recover, the future may be complicated. Regulatory agencies may step in and microscopically review practices and policies, requiring significant time and effort from company stakeholders to comply. All factors considered, reputational damage can be as costly as financial losses.
Building a Security-Minded Team
As hackers create new ways to breach systems and acquire sensitive data, the enterprise’s security processes and procedures must also shift and change. Creating a strong mindset of security in an organization allows streamlined evolution to occur as needed. Every level of the business, from the Board of Directors down to the most entry-level employees, must be educated on cybersecurity and simple ways to prevent exposure. Criminals will go to great lengths to obtain informational assets, and some techniques are as basic as chatting up the administrative assistant.
Multi-Pronged Cybersecurity Efforts
A number of factors will strengthen the company’s security program:
- Intrusion prevention and detection systems should be active and routinely updated.
- Train each team member on how to avoid social engineering and phishing attempts.
- Keep systems separate; many breaches have occurred at the supply chain connection to core systems. Failing to protect that gap has led major enterprises into massive incidents.
- Restrict privileged access and provide the minimal permissions level required by an individual’s job description.
- Stay on top of updates to anti-virus/malware signatures.
- Create and practice an Incident Response Plan, complete with crisis mode.
- Consider appointing a key officer for security and compliance if one does not already exist.
- Obtain appropriate and adequate cyber insurance to protect the company should an incident occur. Having a well-constructed security program often reduces the cost of such protection.
Cybersecurity is an important topic today, and companies that fail to execute an effective program typically suffer a tragic fate as their reputation crumbles. For more information on constructing a strong security program, contact ROI Networkstoday.