Cyberattacks are becoming a major issue within our modern world. Data breaches and malware threaten the security of a company and it’s customers, yet most businesses remain ill-prepared and unable to deal with cyber attacks that may occur. The age-old idea that “prevention is better than cure” seems to be forgotten when it comes to cybersecurity, and many companies choose to take reactive rather than preventative measures. However, as the rewards for successful cyber attacks become more lucrative, it becomes imperative that companies protect against such attacks.
But how do you go about protecting your business? How do you convert a simple firewall into a complex cyber security system that can both monitor and prevent attacks from occurring? And who exactly in the organisation coordinates all the cyber security?
The Chief Information Security Officer, CISO.
Well, that’s where a Chief Information Security Officer, or CISO, comes in. A CISO is somebody who is assigned the task of dealing with ensuring that all company operations, from internal communication to interactions with customers are as secure as possible.
But if you haven’t even heard the acronym CISO before, let alone the role that accompanies it, don’t fret. The idea of a CISO is relatively new and, thus far, it has mainly been large corporations that have invested in one. A few years ago the role of CISO did not exist, simply because there was no need for one. Cyber security and its various counterparts fell under the IT department’s remit, however, with cybercrime on the rise, it is becoming increasingly important that companies take security, and more specifically cybersecurity, more seriously. With the downtime cost of a malware attack averaged at 50 days (source: Accenture), appointing a CISO is not a luxury but a necessity.
Simply put, the threat that cyberattacks pose is now too complex and multifaceted for any organisation to function without a CISO. A data breach or cyberattack can close your business for days if not weeks. And, to make matters worse, recent legislation requires that all data breaches be immediately and comprehensively reported to the Data Protection Commission. This means that cyberattacks can have a significant impact on your reputation and lead to significant fines and possible prosecution.
Cybercrime is Becoming More Prevalent
But what if this surge of cybercrime dies down over the next few months? Who can guarantee that it is here to stay? There are two core reasons why cybercrime is becoming more prevalent. The first can be attributed to the rapid growth of public platforms over the past few years. Today most businesses have Facebook, Instagram, Linked-In and a myriad of other social media accounts as well as using cloud-based solutions such as Microsoft™ Office and Google Docs. As more businesses move towards these cloud-based platforms the real estate for hackers and cybercriminals is becoming much smaller. In the past, when information was spread over hundreds of platforms, breaking into one gave access to a limited amount of information. Nowadays, if an attack is successfully carried out on one of the large platforms we rely on, millions of people’s data will be at risk. Just look at the impact that an attack on Yahoo!™ had. With less real estate comes more concentrated attacks on the platforms we rely on most.
The second reason is intrinsically linked with the first; an increase in social media users has led to an increase in the amount of personal information available to hackers and cybercriminals. Spear phishing attacks, where people are individually targeted, are becoming increasingly common and allow hackers, who can locate vulnerable employees, an easy access route into your business. Without effective measures in place, it is very challenging for companies to rest assured their data and their businesses are protected.