What began as a health crisis in 2020 quickly spread to the economy; organizations were forced to accelerate their digital transformations, and individuals became increasingly tech-dependent in their daily lives.
Ultimately, digital tools proved to be both a blessing and a curse. While technology mitigated some of the disruptive force of the pandemic, it also created new vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals were quick to capitalize on this rapid, widespread adoption by exploiting system weaknesses and our own sense of uncertainty.
The result? Modern organizations are at a greater risk of attacks and data breaches than ever before. In fact, cyber crime is now costing businesses almost $1.8 million per minute. No wonder financial loss and ruin are so common in the wake of a security breach!
But there are ways to protect yourself, your clients and your organization. In this article, we discuss the importance of cybersecurity and what you can do to improve your security posture.
Why Is Cybersecurity Important in 2022?
As cyber threats continue to evolve—both in scope and sophistication—organizations must remain vigilant. Implementing the right cybersecurity measures today can mean the difference between a close call and a complete disaster tomorrow. Let’s look at some of the main reasons why cybersecurity is important.
1. Human Error Is More Prevalent Among Remote Workers
Human error is the leading cause of successful cyberattacks. Unlike sophisticated zero-day attacks, phishing scams prey on human psychology. By manipulating their targets, criminals can gain unauthorized access to sensitive data, including financial records and your employees’ personal information.
Phishing attacks are typically conducted by email or text. Hackers will write a compelling email—or text in a smishing attack—while posing as a legitimate party. Sometimes they’ll ask directly for information; other times, they’ll attach an infected file or malicious link.
While somewhat simple, phishing scams open the door for more sophisticated attacks, usually difficult to detect and trace. Criminals are free to roam around your network, from covertly monitoring device activity to launching a devastating ransomware attack.
To combat this, employees must learn how to identify, manage and report a potential security threat. Mandatory cybersecurity awareness training is key—especially for remote workers who may be using personal devices and unsecured, unmonitored networks.
2. Cyber Crime Can Destroy Your Reputation
Even if your business weathers the financial storm of an attack or breach, it doesn't mean your reputation will. Forbes reports that nearly half of businesses who survive a data breach suffer reputational damage. Incredibly, 19 percent of companies just associated with a third-party breach will also experience reputational damage.
Simply put, this reputational harm leads to a decrease in customer activity, which leads to lost revenue. This cascade of events is part of the reason 60 percent of companies go under within six months of an attack or breach.
3. Businesses Have Become Easy Targets
According to a study conducted by Accenture, the rate of attacks has increased by 11 percent since 2017 and 67 percent since 2014. Meanwhile, Sophos reports that only 46 percent of companies believe their IT teams are ready to defend against a cyber attack.
A growing gap of preparedness has opened up between cybercriminals and their targets—one of the major reasons that cyber crime is so prevalent and why cybersecurity is important in 2022.
4. More Businesses Rely on Internet of Things (IoT) Devices
The term “IoT device” refers to any physical object that is equipped with the software, sensors, and processors that allows it to exchange data with other systems through a wireless network, such as an internet connection or WiFi.
This includes common digital business tools like laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. The IoT also includes everyday gadgets, such as medical sensors, fitness trackers, security systems and almost any device prefixed with the word “smart.”
Not only does this mean there are more hackable devices in the world, it also means criminals can easily gain access to other IoT devices—merely by opening a backdoor in a single compromised device.
Devices and network security should be inseparable when it comes to a strong security posture.
4 Ways to Quickly Improve Your Company’s Cybersecurity
In a recent study, 69 percent of C-level executives acknowledged they would be increasing their cyber security spending this year. Now that we’ve looked at why cybersecurity is important, let’s discuss some of these avenues of investment.
1. Use Strong Passwords and Password Policies
Password management is a fast, simple, low-cost way to improve your security posture. By implementing company-wide password policies, you can ensure that strong, complex passwords become the norm rather than the exception. Some tactics to improve password strength include:
- Enforce a minimum password length of 8 characters.
- Prohibit the use of real words or semantic numbers (such as birthdays).
- Include the use of symbols, numbers and letters in every password.
- Utilize a password manager.
- Require frequent password changes.
- Always update passwords after employee turnover.
The secondary benefit of enforcing a strong password policy is that it draws attention to the importance of cybersecurity among employees, ensuring it becomes part of your organizational culture.
2. Implement Powerful Antivirus Software
Both antivirus software (AV) and endpoint detection and response (EDR) are essential security components.
AV can handle traditional threats, mostly through signature based detection. EDR is a highly effective way to manage security across a distributed workforce. It’s also worth noting that many EDR tools available today feature built-in AV.
3. Regularly Install Security Patches
After a software release, it’s common for developers to discover bugs, flaws or vulnerabilities. It’s essential to install updates and patches as soon as they become available.
Most cybercriminals don’t exploit zero-day vulnerabilities. Instead, they reverse-engineer a program’s security patches to discover weaknesses in the code. Then they target users who have simply failed to install that patch.
The moral is simple: Always check for and install the latest software patches to drastically reduce your risk.
4. Work With Experienced Cybersecurity Specialists
Working alongside a competent managed security services provider (MSSP) is one of the most effective and affordable ways to secure your business. This is especially true for small businesses who may be financially constrained by other costs.
Combined with their extensive knowledge and hands-on experience, MSSPs are also known for deploying a range of cutting-edge cybersecurity tools. For instance, advanced threat protection, backed by artificial intelligence (AI), is capable of detecting suspicious activity and IP addresses.
Secure Your Business With NetGain Technologies
Protecting sensitive information is one of the most important goals for any company. Whether it’s customer data or trade secrets, information should be treated as a precious asset. Now that you understand the importance of cybersecurity, you can start improving your own.
Not sure where to begin? We can help.
As a trusted cybersecurity service provider, NetGain Technologies has been helping businesses strengthen their security posture since 1984. And, with our 99.99 percent monitoring center uptime, you can get the peace of mind you need to focus on core business activities. Our comprehensive security services include:
- Social awareness training
- Security assessments
- Incident response
- Email protection
- Endpoint/server protection
- Risk assessment
- Advanced threat protection
- SOC-as-a-Service (security operations center)
Ready to take control of your cybersecurity? Contact us today to get your free quote.