Cyber security can be defined as practices used to ensure information integrity, confidentiality and availability.
Companies of all sizes can expect to face ever more sophisticated cyber-attacks that target every part of their IT infrastructure, exploiting the weakest links in the IT chain. Most businesses lack crucial visibility and control, especially in the cloud and on mobile devices, making these areas prime targets for cybercriminals.
But cyber threat actors are rapidly adapting their techniques to stay one step ahead of companies’ efforts to strengthen their cybersecurity. No longer operating in the shadows, cybercriminals are impacting global supply chains, disrupting utilities and launching ransomware attacks on any vulnerable business.
Defending against the new breed of cyber threats requires responding quickly to rapidly-evolving attacks that can strike anywhere or any time across a company’s attack surface. Organisations need a cyber security strategy tuned for modern cyber risks and agile enough to respond to emerging threats.
The goal of cyber security is to help prevent cyber-attacks. As organisations become more digitalised and store more information on their computers and devices, cybercriminals are also developing more sophisticated methods of cyber-attacks. Without cyber security, both organisations and individuals become vulnerable to threat actors. A business can keep operating with peace of mind by securing such vulnerabilities.
Some benefits of cyber security include:
One of the biggest threats to emerge from Covid-19 was the accelerated mobility and remote working of Australian businesses. What initially started as an interim fix to ensure business continuity became the “new normal”, including a new normal of cyber threats as hackers exploited new weaknesses.
Cybercrime was already on the rise in Australia, but according to IBM’s recent annual Data Breach Report, the average cost per breach exceeded US$4.24m in 2021, the highest average amount in the report’s history.
Since Covid, there has been a 16.6% increase in reported data breaches, and it is estimated that 30% of Australian businesses will succumb to a cyber breach, with costs potentially lasting years. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) estimates the cost of cybercrimes for Australian companies and individuals was $33B in 2021 and is projected to be as high as $42B by 2023.
The lack of focus on cybersecurity can be impactful in more ways than one. With a lack of faith in businesses, customers will be more inclined to venture to competitors, leading to a loss of revenue.
Threat actors aren’t the only group that companies should look out for; emerging privacy laws can also lead to hefty fines for businesses that do not protect the sensitive information of their stakeholders.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) provides a prioritised list of practical actions called “The Essential 8”, which businesses can take to make their business more secure; some of these include:
Related: Cyber Security Tips
The June 2022 Federal Court Case where ASIC enforced the cybersecurity obligations for an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licensee should be a wake-up call for all Australian enterprises. In the AFS case, the licensee was found in contravention of the Corporations Act for not ensuring adequate controls to manage cybersecurity. Australia’s cybersecurity regulations are tightening with a raft of new legislation imminent.
For this reason, enterprise cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important. Enterprise needs to take a portfolio-management approach to meet new regulations and provide adequate protection. An integrated and layered defence may include End-to-end network security, Cyber awareness and training, Incident Response, Cybersecurity Insurance and regular Penetration Testing to identify gaps.
Before implementing security solutions, enterprises should undertake a thorough vulnerability assessment and cybersecurity audit. Critical recommendations then inform the next phase of implementing information security policies and procedures within a cybersecurity strategy.
All enterprises, however, should work towards the international standard for information security called ISO27001. Certification to ISO27001 outlines requirements for implementing, maintaining and continually optimising an information security management system (ISMS). It is a holistic approach to enterprise security that considers people, process and technology. Obtaining external help from a cybersecurity consulting firm is recommended to ensure certification, regulatory compliance, and effective cyber insurance cover, giving the enterprise the best protection possible.
Cybersecurity consultants use various tools to help business build their cyber resilience. Some of these include:
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Cybersecurity is emerging as one of the most critical issues for business and individuals. Effective cybersecurity protects data such as personal identity details, intellectual property and business information against loss and theft from cybercrime.
Cybersecurity risk is the potential loss or harm resulting from a vulnerability in computer infrastructure, like a network, that has been exposed or breached by a threat actor undertaking cybercrime.
Cybercriminals do not discriminate by size. While the data breach of a large company makes headlines, small businesses are more common targets due to lower perceived cyber resilience. Small businesses must undertake the necessary safeguards to protect their data and people from cyber threats that increasingly target small, vulnerable businesses.