In the modern world, it isn’t bank robbers we’re worried about – it’s cyber criminals. They can steal consumer information, alter data so that it gives false insights or remains corrupted for months or even years without notice, and even sell valuable intellectual property to the highest bidder, putting companies under.
However, while many understand the importance of cyber security, a new study conducted by IDC proves that very few companies are ready to battle this threat. In fact, IBM says that 68 percent of companies aren’t ready for cyber-attacks, leaving themselves dangerously open out of ignorance, a lack of funds, or an unwillingness to rock the boat by acknowledging a threat.
How are companies unprepared for cyber security threats, and how can they protect themselves?
1.THEY WAIT FOR TRAGEDY TO ACT
No news is good news, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have no news for long. Many companies don’t invest in stronger security simply because they haven’t experienced a breach yet. Why waste the money if you don’t need it, right? However, all it takes is one cyber attack to put your business under, so waiting until tragedy strikes to act is inviting disaster.
Instead, companies should look to their competitors and the measures of security they’re taking. Larger companies are at greater risk and, therefore, take greater precautions, but even if you’re not in their league, taking on these safety measures yourself will fend off the attack that may sink your ship as you grow.
2.THEY TRADE EASE FOR DANGER
Remote work, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), converged storage and cloud computing is profitable for businesses. Any worker can access vital information from anywhere in the world and then share it with others for smooth collaboration, higher productivity and higher profits. However, by allowing your employees access from anywhere, you’re making the door easier to kick in for hackers.
The solution isn’t to cut off ease of access, and it isn’t to let security lag behind. Instead, companies can protect themselves by refining their working process to leave as few holes as possible in their security. Perhaps cloud computing is a vital tool for a business; they can instead prohibit employees from bringing their own devices to work, so that there is one less potential leak in security. By refining what is allowed to be a threat, productivity can still be high with fewer openings for failure.
3.THEY THINK OF HACKS AS COMPUTERS, NOT PEOPLE
It’s easy to imagine cyber attacks being carried out by bodiless programs, but the fact of the matter is cyber crime is conducted by cyber criminals, people who are constantly learning, becoming more creative and refining their attacks to hit your weak points.
Companies need to acknowledge that the danger is from people and, in turn, hire experts who are best equipped for countering these attacks. By keeping a team of professionals in charge of your data security, you’ll be able to update and fine-tune your processes to stay ahead of more creative attacks and even apply creative fixes that can save you money, time and reputation.
4.THEY’RE NOT READY FOR THE HIT TO THEIR REPUTATION
When a company experiences a data breach, they often think of the numbers – what have they lost, how can they seal the breach, and how are they going to recover financially. However, they neglect to understand the effect it has on their reputation. Consumers lose their sense of security with your business, which as far as they’re concerned has begun hemorrhaging their personal information.
The solution isn’t to buy insurance for data loss, which is something many companies have invested in. The key is to acknowledge the loss of trust you’re experiencing with your consumer base and treat it like any other tragic hit to your company.
Arrange for PR strategies in advance to help lessen the blow and restore confidence in your customers, who are at as much risk from a breach as you are. This is their personal information hanging in the balance; reconnect with them and re-establish a position of authority that will give them faith that your business will handle, compensate and bounce back from the breach.