Business threat comes from many different angles in 2016. Business managers are used to juggling these threats, off-setting one and tackling another. Whatever the size of your business, big or small, information security matters. Get it wrong and it’s disastrous. Your business is vulnerable to cyber security threats, and this is why.
#1 Financial Cost
There are many factors that come in to play where business is concerned but at the end of the day nearly every single decision comes down to one thing: money. Even if you’re a charity, a financially savvy approach is paramount. For profit-making businesses, it’s the be all and end all.
Information Security, or lack thereof, poses an enormous threat to your bottom line. A report carried out in partnership with the Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance in the Cabinet Office estimates the cost of cyber-crime in the UK to be in the region of £27 billion per annum, with an enormous £21 billion of this being lost from UK businesses (rather than individuals or the government). You don’t want your business’s finances to be part of those statistics. They report that a “significant proportion” of this cost is a result of stolen Intellectual Property from UK businesses estimated at £9.2 billion per annum. What’s worse is that they suspect that the real impact of information security crime is even greater than this.
The businesses hit the hardest in the financial stakes? They are software and computer services, financial services, the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, and electronic and electrical equipment suppliers. But in reality every single UK business is vulnerable when it comes to information security.
#2 Growing Numbers of Cyber-Criminals & Advanced Hackers
There are 2.5 million reported incidents of Cyber-Crime per year in the UK according to the Office of National Statistics. That’s not small fry. And that’s before all the incidents that go unreported.
The most common cyber security vulnerabilities are viruses disabling your IT in the click of a mouse. Close behind are the hackers themselves. Whilst the Internet booms in all areas of business then cybercriminals will be attracted to the potential gains. More than that, cybercriminals are now working in highly organised groups rather than a lone individual in their basement. They bring together a plethora of criminal skills to access your data and intellectual property. If you don’t take information security seriously, you’re leaving yourself open to attack.
#3 The Internet is Here to Stay
We pretty much wouldn’t be able to imagine our daily lives without the Internet, let alone our business lives. Most businesses now are grounded, largely, with an online presence, online transactions, with data zapping about often via Wi-Fi or stored on the cloud. Any activity that involves a computer, smartphone, web-enabled device or the Internet leaves your business vulnerable.
Plugging the gaps is vital. It takes a systematic holistic approach if you’re not going to leave your business vulnerable in one area whilst tending to another. Cyber Security can’t be undertaken on a piecemeal basis – it has to be fundamentally integral to your business processes and strategy to ensure no stone is left unturned. It is, to put it mildly, a job in itself. It’s no longer possible to tag cyber-security on to your IT manager’s job description and cross your fingers. It’s not going to work, it will leave you unnecessarily vulnerable.
#4 Your Weakest Link
You’re only as strong and as watertight as your weakest link. With Information Security this usually means your employees. They may be your greatest asset that makes your business who you are, but it only takes one ill-informed or untrained employee to bring down ruin on the business in terms of Cyber Security.
Take the following Case Study for example. A small charity, the Bristol and South Gloucestershire Circuit of the Methodist Church, was advertising for a recruitment vacancy back in 2015. Along with the usual inbox full of applications came another innocuous message entitled “Job Application – Please see attached CV”. And bam, an unsuspecting employee clicked the link and the virus breached the defenses. Worse than that, the employee who opened the attachment was working from the charity’s back-up meaning the malicious software ran through everything like wildfire. All financial data was transformed in to illegible code.
That’s a pretty bad moment for any business just from your weakest link. Given that 53% of IT Security professionals say their CEO makes business decisions without considering cyber security that’s a huge vulnerability staring you in the face.
Each and every employee of a company should be trained in their responsibility and awareness of information security.
#5 Your Reputation
Your reputation is everything. With the world of social media you simply cannot afford mistakes in any area of business because within hours everyone will know about it. There’s no hiding in the digital age of business. Given that your reputation is the key to your success in the future, it cannot be jeopardised.
This applies just as much to the inherent risk to your reputation as a result of information security as your Customer Service Manager having a bad day and swearing at your biggest customer. Your stakeholders have to fundamentally trust your business. That trust will be washed away in seconds if you have a cyber security breach. It’s not a risk worth taking. Check out this article by the London Enterprise Agency to really realise what these vulnerabilities could mean for your reputation.
Your Security Matters
Whatever the size of your business, your cyber security matters. Unfortunately many don’t realise this until it’s too late. Don’t bury your head in the sand. As well as being costly financially, the real impact extends much further. Don’t leave your business vulnerable when it comes to information security.