Decoding Cybersecurity Amid Pandemic
Sophos Presents Security Symposium 2020 on 19th December at 01:30 PM (IST) , I will be also a panelist.
Enterprise IT World Security Symposium is about a confluence of 500 security professionals to discuss the future of information security in the region of South Asia.
The Enterprise IT World Security Symposium will be a confluence of 500+ security leaders including the Head / Chief Information Security, policy makers, consultants, authors, etc.
The Focus will be on discussions around the current challenges and empowering enterprise security professionals with the right knowledge to reinforce the cybersecurity framework for their organizations. The professionals attending the Symposium will not only enhance their security knowledge with industry peers but will also get hands on experience on the latest tools and technologies in the domain.
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The Importance and Benefits of Cybersecurity
The Definition of Cybersecurity
To understand the benefits of cybersecurity, we have to define what it is, Cybersecurity refers to the processes, technologies, and controls that are created to protect networks, systems, and data from digital attacks.
The digital attacks or the cyber attacks are usually done with the intention of accessing, changing or destroying data that is sensitive, extorting money from the users of specific systems or networks and interrupting the regular business processes.
Implementing effective measures to curb cybersecurity in the current day world has become increasingly difficult because there are more devices that people use, something that the attackers have taken full advantage of.
The Benefits of Cybersecurity
Protecting You From Bad Reputation
One of the main advantages of cybersecurity is that it protects your business from a bad reputation.
Many companies have gone down after experiencing just one major cyber attack.
One of the significant aftermaths of a cyber attack is usually bad reputation for the victim, which in this case is the business that was targeted.
The public usually comes up with different opinions about the digital attack, and end up defaming the business or organization in question.
It is therefore crucial for every business to take up cybersecurity more seriously, as a means of ensuring that they do not get a bad name.
Individuals may also end up suffering the same predicament if they do not take up cybersecurity measures.
For instance, a prominent person’s activity on their devices may be targeted and released to the public.
This is usually a common thing in the political arena.
The communication lines of the target people are often tapped into, and sensitive information leaked to the public, and this ends up damaging their reputation.
With sound cybersecurity measure, however, one is not likely to suffer from reputational damage, and they can comfortably focus on their other activities.
Protecting Your Bank Balance
The second benefits of cybersecurity is that your bank balance is usually protected.
This is the case for huge organizations as well as individuals.
For huge organizations that have fallen victim to cyber-attacks, they are likely to face legal suits that can dent their bank account by millions of dollars.
Such losses in business can lead to the eventual shutdown, which is not a good thing entirely.
Several regulatory bodies have also stepped in to ensure that companies upgrade their cybersecurity measures by imposing hefty fines on the companies that in one way or another lose public data to cyber-criminals.
For individuals, cyber threats such as ransomware can cause consume large portions of their bank balance if they leave loopholes for the cyber-criminals to capitalize on.
Some people have had their bank accounts cleaned up through cyber attacks that involved the theft of their credit card information.
The essence of cybersecurity as far as this issue is concerned, can therefore not be overemphasized.
Having the right cybersecurity measures will always go a long way into safeguarding your bank account balance, and you can confidently pursue other money-related activities without qualms of conscience.
Making Your Customers Confident In You
The manner in which you take up cybersecurity measures determines the level of confidence that your customers have in you.
Customers are cautious about their details being divulged or disclosed to unauthorized parties.
This includes their credit card details and related purchasing activities.
If your customers are not sure about the security of their details they are likely to switch to your competitors’ services.
For institutions such as banks, customers always want their money and information security to be guaranteed, and when this does not happen, they usually transfer their money to other banks they consider safe.
The banks that get to benefit, as it comes up, are those who have proper cybersecurity measures.
Establishing and implementing all the elements of cybersecurity can be one strategic move to ensuring that you win the trust of very many potential clients, and could be a very major reason behind the success of your business.
Below are some of the major elements of cyber security that should be implemented to ensure that your customers are confident in you:
- Application Security
As discussed under the cybersecurity threats, web applications have become a common intrusion point for those who conduct attacks on computer systems and networks.
Because applications play a significant role in business, organizations require to pay keen attention to web application security for them to not only protect their customers but to also protect their interests and their assets.
- Information Security
Information security lies at the core of any organization.
The business records, the personal data from the employees and the intellectual property borne under the name of the company are all parts of the sensitive information that should be protected.
Every organization or institution requires to have an information security management system or an ISMS as popularly abbreviated.
The ISMS should meet international standards since cyber attacks can happen from any point in the world.
- Network Security
This is the process of protecting a network or data by addressing the issues related to its usability and integrity.
This is best done by conducting a network penetration test.
The aim of this test is usually to assess a network for any security issues and weaknesses in its servers, its hosts and devices.
- Business Continuity Planning
Business continuity planning or BCP as popularly abbreviated refers to the organization’s preparedness for any form of disruption through the identification of potential threats and analyzing how the day-to-day operations of the business can get affected.
This also goes along with the organization coming up with a range of back up plans whenever the attack occurs.
- Operational Security
This is an element of cybersecurity that is geared towards protecting the core functions of your organization through keeping track of the critical information and the assets that interact with the organization’s systems to identify vulnerabilities.
- End-user Education
Cyber-crime thrives on account of all the human errors that are committed as they interact with their systems, networks, and devices.
These errors lead to data breaches which cost people and organizations huge amounts of money, their reputation and a decline in productivity.
If human error is the weakest link that cyber-criminals pry on, it should be every organization’s responsibility to ensure that their employees are well-educated on how to keep data safe.
The organization should inform the employees about the potential threats they face, such as insecurity in the network, the sharing of login details and phishing email.
- Leadership Commitment
The top management’s commitment is crucial to the successful implementation of cybersecurity projects.
Without their commitment, it is hard to establish, and maintain an effective cybersecurity project.
They should, therefore, be invested in cybersecurity measures and lead by example.
Also, this should be made a board issue, for there to be the sufficient allocation of funds in technology, resources, and skills.
Protecting Your Personal Information
The essence of securing your personal information cannot be underrated.
Apart from the regular financial gains that cyber-criminals might be planning to get from you, they are also likely to use your details for illegal activities.
Some criminals prey on unsuspecting people as they fill in details in online sites, and use that information to create other accounts which they use to purchase illegal products.
With all your details, including your images, a person can generate multiple online accounts, and before you know it, you will be dealing with legal bodies for being a crime suspect.
One of the significant benefits of cybersecurity taking up the necessary measures on a personal level is that no one can access your personal information, and you do not have to worry about anyone impersonating you to commit crimes.
Creating A Safe Work Environment For Employees
As the head of an organization, a safe work environment is one of the many benefits of cybersecurity.
Cyber-criminals are always on the lookout for loopholes that result from human errors.
Employees in an organization as also prone to falling into a trap that would lead to them exposing very crucial information about their clients.
Below are some of the regular threats that employees face on a day to day basis:
- Ransomware – this a type of malicious software that is designed to extort money from the users of a particular system.
The malicious software works by blocking access to the computer system of specific files in the system until a specified ransom is paid.
Unfortunately, the users of the system are not guaranteed that the files that the blocked files will be recovered, or if the system will be restored.
- Social Engineering – this refers to a tactic that is used by digital attackers to trick you into giving up sensitive information about yourself.
They can then proceed to solicit funds from you, or they can walk away with the confidential data and damage your reputation.
Social engineering can be done in conjunction with other cybersecurity threats, through making you click on links to download malware.
- Malware – this is a software that is designed to access a person’s computer illegally or to damage it.
- Phishing – this is the practice of sending out emails that look like they are from reputable sources with the intention of stealing sensitive data like their login information and credit card numbers.
Attackers will at times pose as bankers, requesting to make changes in a person’s banking account details.
Since this is the most common cybersecurity threat, it is essential for everyone to get educated on how to protect themselves from phishing.
- Scareware – this is essentially a fake security warning.
It is a type of scam that is used by cyber criminals who are out to make profits by sending users of certain system some pop-up warnings that are aimed at making the users believe that their system is infected.
The cyber-criminals then proceed to trick the users of the system into paying for “special” software to clean up and protect their system (Shah, 2017).
- Vulnerabilities in networks and certain web application-cyber criminals have over the years developed means to attack people by prying on the weak points in their networks and the web apps they use.
The activities of the cyber-criminals, in this case, involve automated attacks which can affect anyone, at any point in the world.
- Outdated Software – the outdated or unpatched software is another common loopholes that cyber hackers have capitalized on to achieve their destructive missions.
All outdated software lack the most recent security measures in them, thus making it easy for the cyber hackers to gain access to a system and bring all the operations in it down.
- Botnets and Zombies – botnets are simply robot networks or an aggregation of compromised computers.
The compromised computers, or “zombies” as they are referred to, are connected to a central “controller” from which data theft activities are managed.
Botnets which are created to steal data have over the years improved in their encryption capabilities, making it harder for them to be detected.
Taking up the right cybersecurity measures and emphasizing on them as the head of an organization, will benefit your organization by creating a safe environment for your employees to work in.
Protecting The Productivity Of Your Employees
The productivity of the employees in an organization is usually guaranteed if there are no uncalled for breaks in the organization’s daily activities.
One of the detractors to this kind of productivity is typically the loss of data through cyber attacks.
For an organization to safeguard itself against the loss of information, it needs to rely on a three-pronged approach to cybersecurity, comprising of people, processes and technology.
When the people, processes, and technology complement each other, an effective defense from cyber attacks is usually created.
People – the users of systems and networks in an organization need to understand and comply with all the necessary data security principles such as choosing strong passwords for their devices and their various accounts, being careful about opening attachment in emails, backing up data frequently.
Processes – Every organization must build frameworks that are geared towards successfully dealing with cyber-attacks.
An excellent framework is one that can identify attacks, protect the systems from the attacks, detect and promptly respond to threats, and successfully recover from attacks.
Technology – is crucial for providing individuals and organizations with the necessary computer security tools required to protect them from cyber attacks.
The three main entities that need to be safeguarded are endpoint devices such as computers, routers, and smartphones; networks; and the cloud.
In the current world, the most common technologies that have been created to achieve this purpose include email security solutions, antivirus, and malware protection software, next-generation firewalls, and DNS filtering.
To experience the full benefits of cybersecurity your organization will need to find a way to implement the above pillars of cybersecurity, when emphasized on and well-addressed, end up protecting the productivity of employees in an organization.
Credit : Decoding Cybersecurity