Cyber attacks have been on the rise in recent years as hackers gain more and more access to sophisticated tools and technology. It’s a major concern for online users but also businesses that work with sensitive systems and data which hackers might expose.
Last year, the Capital One breach was an example of the potential impact of a cyber attack as the company expected to incur $150 million in costs associated with the breach. From credit monitoring and tech investigations to legal support and customer notifications, these costs were necessary measures that could have been avoided.
It’s true, a sufficient firewall and antivirus software can help prevent hackers from gaining access to critical data. And then there’s spam filters, backups and disaster recovery plans that can help protect the company from these unexpected attacks.
The truth is, Capital One was left vulnerable due to a weak web application firewall which the hacker was able to access rather easily. However, this incident was also a reminder in terms of the increasing demand for cyber security. After all, consumers and businesses were affected by the breach in which a sole individual was able to access over 100 million customer accounts and many thousands of social security numbers.
Let’s take a close look at increasing demand for cyber security…
The True Cost and Impact of Cyber Attacks for any Business
If we consider the impact of one hacker, we can only imagine the potential dangers associated with hacker groups. The general public is also more mindful of cyber attacks, for studies show that civilians and personal computers are more likely targets for hackers. On the other hand, the increasing number of large scale breaches suggests that both the frequency and severity of cyber attacks is on the rise in recent years.
Cyber security problems are now a day-to-day struggle for many businesses and a data risk report by Varonis shows that most companies have insufficient security measures.
While awareness about the increasing demand for cyber security seems to be growing, it’s essential for companies to implement software and systems to prevent these attacks from taking place. Such measures might involve the above mentioned firewall or antivirus software but there are many ways to protect against cyber criminal activity and failure to comply with such issues can have an incredibly serious impact on any business.
For instance, the Marriot-Starward breach provided a nefarious group with easy access to data belonging to 500 million customers. Under Armor also reported a hack of “My Fitness Pal” that same year which impacted 150 million users and even Uber fell victim to cyber criminals when hackers managed to steal data relating to 57 million users.
While these are just a few examples of high profile hacks, it’s clear that a more proactive approach to cyber security is needed. Unfortunately, studies show that most companies are yet to take these security threats as seriously as they should…
Recent Studies that Show the Increasing Demand for Cyber Security
Healthcare, retail, financial and professional services are the industries most at risk, but cyber threats affect each and every business. Recent trends also show that security breaches have risen by 11% in the past two years and more than 65% since 2014. What’s more, cyber attacks exposed 4 billion+ records in just the first half of last year and the average cost of a data breach is estimated to be $3.9 million for a company.
But that’s just part of the story…
Cyber attacks also have the potential to ruin the reputation and perception of a company which is arguably more damaging than the initial costs that we might associate with a cyber hack. According to IBM, it takes over 200 days to identify a cyber breach and the average lifecycle is just shy of one year. In a world where time is money, these time frames are more than enough to frighten any business owner in any industry.
It also makes sense that cyber activity is rising as the demand for cyber security professionals has increased by 90%+ in just five years. Cyber security jobs also account for nearly 15% of information technology roles and even the New York Times reported how 3 million jobs will be left unfilled in the coming year. Many media outlets and associations also agree with this prediction, while citing that the demand for cyber security will continue to grow as technology continues to connect the digital world.
About Protecting Data and Preventing Cyber Attacks
Prevention is often the best solution to problems in any industry and this is certainly true about cyber security. Installing antivirus software and a reliable firewall is essential and the latter of these could have prevented the Capital One breach we mentioned earlier.
Protecting email with spam filters can also help secure a business, while backups are not only invaluable but also “peace of mind” if something goes wrong. A disaster recovery plan is essential for getting an organisation back on track and this plan provides a structured approach to resuming work in the aftermath of a cyber attack. There is also great benefit when it comes to educating staff about the dangers of cyber attacks and limiting access to critical data that might leave the company vulnerable.
Cyber attacks are commonplace and might not have mattered to large companies in the past but such attitudes are clearly changing. At a time when GDPR is on everyone’s agenda, this also means that businesses are required to make cyber security a top priority. It’s ultimately up to the company to control, monitor and protect data, while gaining a better understanding about the threats of hackers and cyber criminal groups.
But it’s not possible to deploy enough people to monitor and review logs to solve these issues. Automation is the only way forward and advanced cyber security is the only answer to the sophisticated tools and technology that hackers have at their disposal.