Denying or even ignoring the importance of cybersecurity in today’s busy market is a recipe for disaster. Many underprepared businesses even had to close their doors due to cyber-attacks.
No business is safe anymore, whether large or small, and attackers are prowling day and night to find a crack through anyone’s armor. For a business, that armor is only as strong as the management’s preparations and systems to ensure digital assets are protected. There’s a lot of work involved in cybersecurity management, but it’s worth it because the risks are all too real – and ruinous.
Here’s why cybersecurity directly links reputation management and what can be done to protect a company’s digital assets and retain trust.
The cost of a cybersecurity attack
In 2019, Forrester Consulting produced a study commissioned by BitSight called Better Security and Business Outcomes with Security Performance Management. One notable takeaway from the study was that almost 40% of executives say they have lost business due to a lack of security. This lack was not always real but even perceived poor security management instantly damages a company’s name in the customer’s eyes.
Bill Gates famously said that he would spend it on PR if he were down to his last dollar. A company’s name is one of its most valuable assets, even though it’s intangible.
Customers are becoming increasingly aware of their digital privacy. A data breach is like a breach of trust between the company and its clients. A successful attack represents a failure on the company’s part to secure their system and applications adequately. Reputational loss after an attack is unavoidable. Larger companies can usually weather the damage, smaller companies not so much.
Suggested Reading: Basic Tactics to Defend Business Against Cyberattacks
The most common cybersecurity threats that companies face today are:
- Phishing attacks
- Insider threats (internal negligence or malice)
- Ransomware attacks
- Weak passwords and poor password management
- Vendor and third-party leaks
- Network-based attacks (such as man-in-the-middle attacks)
- Application-based vulnerabilities
These can lead to data breaches containing sensitive data like customer contact information or company financial information.
Related Read: Top 10 cybersecurity incidents in 2020
Putting Cybersecurity First
1. Conduct Regular Cybersecurity Training
Having a cybersecurity policy in place means nothing if it isn’t being carried out properly. People are forgetful. If they haven’t formed safe online habits or haven’t been informed about new types of threats, they will make mistakes.
It’s safe to say that the human element is a company’s biggest security challenge. That is even more true when remote work has widened the attack surface even further. This is why, a good and updated cybersecurity policy is essential, but it’s even more crucial than it’s enforced regularly.
2. Have Employees Connect Via a VPN
Network security is more important now that remote working is becoming the norm. Companies have very little control over the type of setup people have at home or how secure their devices are. However, they can ensure that attackers are thwarted when employees work with sensitive company files and data.
VPNs provide the perfect balance between ease of use and security. It’s not hard to enforce their use, but they provide a valuable security level thanks to their strong encryption protocols. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are around the corner. Even VPN services usually offer great VPN Black Friday deals on business packages during this time, so make sure to shop around.
3. Manage Software and Apps
It’s quite concerning just how much data gets leaked through the apps and software that companies use every day. This isn’t necessarily the app developer’s fault, but rather the company’s, which doesn’t enforce regular security updates.
Then there’s also the issue of employees bringing their own devices and downloading non-regulated apps. Managers and CISOs need to provide a pre-approved list of apps/software and ensure that people are notified when a new update is available.
4. Track Data in Transit and Rest
Ideally, a company should be aware of who has access to any IP or customer data and what they’re doing with it, at all the times. This means having a system and policies that limit access to data and notifies the relevant parties when data is accessed.
The Bottom Line
Whenever a data breach occurs, companies usually talk about how this affects them internally and rarely about how the customer will react. Consumers are more skeptical now than ever about whether companies are capable of protecting their data. They will move on to a competitor that they feel puts their digital safety first and adequately protects their data.