Never before has it been so critical to ramp up cybersecurity for your business because within the next few years, almost all business operations and interactions with customers will be done online. We are now in the midst of what is being called a digital transformation into a digital-first paradigm of business operations. Almost everything being done will be done in cyberspace which means security will be a prime consideration. Cybercrime is already a major problem for many businesses and private individuals and at a time when almost everything moves into the digital realm, those entities not ramping up cybersecurity will be at great risk.
It All Begins at the Top
For so many years, business administrators and company boards were only concerned with operations in terms of profitability. Even though there were malware and hackers at work, cybersecurity of the time was relatively effective in preventing serious issues. Every now and then there would be a highly skilled hacker who could find a backdoor, but they were few and far between when companies had the leading security of the day.
Today, more and more businesses are realizing they are out of their depth when it comes to surviving in a sea of cybercrime. This is one of the reasons why many organizations are sending key employees to graduate school to learn more about the digital-first realm in which they will be operating and how to prevent being hacked with nefarious intent. Many leading graduate programmes like the Aston University online MBA will be introducing the digital-first environment and researching ways to avoid cybercrimes. As with any other area of business operations, everything starts at the top so it is imperative to have a highly skilled team of administrators who can work well in a digital-first environment.
Protect OT from Cyber Risk
Until quite recently, the main concern for businesses large and small was IT. Information Technology dealt more with communications online. However, as more and more companies are transitioning to a digital-first environment, Operations Technology (OT) is also at greater risk. This is a time when the IoT has put many company operations online in the Cloud. Production systems are especially at risk and so with such a threat looming in the air, there will be a need for newer devices with greater security built into the software.
Consider for just a moment the fact that in the past, before the IoT, a company maybe had up to 500,000 points of entry that hackers could reach. Now, with more and more processes going online, it is said that hackers can gain access to literally millions of points within a business’s code. Bear in mind just how many of your company’s devices will be vulnerable. That shows just how great a risk is at hand if cybersecurity isn’t kept up to date.
Networking with a Remote Workforce
One of the main changes in the business environment during digital transformation will be the great number of employees who will be working from remote locations. While this isn’t always going to be the case, it has been proven that it is cost-effective to downsize the number of employees working on site because of the financial benefits of doing so.
Unfortunately, while it may be profitable to occupy fewer offices when employees are working from home, it will also open more doors to cyberattacks. Even if your network is secure, those employees may not have the leading security software installed which could pose major risks. It is suggested that the company provide the same security they use on-site to those working remotely. This may be the only way to prevent infiltration offsite.
Preventing Theft of Personal Information
Another huge risk is in the area of personal information. Cybercriminals can hack financial information on employees but also on any customers in a database. This has been a growing concern over the past decade or so, but when mostly every operation is moved to cyberspace, the risk is infinitely greater. Before, a hacker only needed to find a backdoor into your mainframe, but the fear now is that a worm can work its way through a connected device to the company’s mainframe. It is not out of the realm of possibility.
Do you remember the hack of Ashley Madison in 2015? This was the cheater’s website where married people would go to meet others they would ‘cheat’ with. The breach made global headlines and as expected, when the information was leaked to the public, many marriages failed as a result. Now imagine if a hacker infiltrated a global giant commercial site and leaked every customer’s financial information to the general public. It would be next to impossible to protect all that invaluable financial data. Everything from bank accounts to financial holdings would be at risk.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Company from Cybercrime
Most of these concerns have always been with us since the inception of the internet. However, as time goes on and more and more businesses will be operating in a digital-first world, cybersecurity is at an all-time premium. This is the time for businesses large and small to invest in two areas in addition to technology.
The first area would be to invest in administrators who are well-versed in the framework of a digital-first work environment. These administrators would be up on all the ways in which a company is vulnerable when more than 90% of operations could be affected by hackers.
Second to that, it pays to hire the best cybersecurity team possible who will install and monitor the leading cybersecurity software on the market. It pays to have a team monitoring your network because everything is vulnerable. Just as technology advances, so too do the efforts of hackers. Whether you have begun your transition into a digital-first environment or are about to begin, the first thing you should do would be to contact IT and OT security pros. This will help to ensure that you will be able to operate free from intrusion. That’s your primary goal during this time of transition.