We live in an interconnected society whereby information and data is readily available at the tip of our fingertips, literally.
You’ve most likely been reading about various cyber-attacks in the news, and have heard about the increasing need for cyber security. But what is cyber security? It is the practice of protecting systems, networks and programs from digital attacks. (Cisco, 2019)
Quite a number companies that Netpluz has contacted have expressed that cyber security is not their greatest concern. Common reasons given are either because they are small companies, and/or don’t keep any data in the cloud. Another reason given is that some companies claim to have very small budgets for IT spending.
But ignorance of the current situation that’s happening is dangerous. And in this article we will provide you with some insights as to why cybersecurity is essential for businesses.
In Singapore, cyber attacks happens more frequently than you think with majority of the attacks aimed towards businesses, online security software vendor Norton has reported that there were 5,430 cybercrime cases in 2017 while the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) detected 23,420 phishing web addresses with a Singapore link.
According to a study by consumer information provider Comparitech, Singapore is ranked 10th best in global cybersecurity. However, despite this, attacks still happen, such as when Singapore experienced its worst cyber attack in June 2018 that resulted in the country’s largest data breach in history. That was when hackers managed to obtain personal particulars of 1.5 million patients. The hackers essentially infiltrated the computers of SingHealth, Singapore’s largest group of healthcare institutions. (Loh, Victor. “The Big Read: As more cyberattacks loom, Singapore has a weak first line of defence.” CNA, 26 February 2019.
With that being said, one should never be complacent despite how safe and secure we may be and never underestimate the importance of cybersecurity in ensuring that your business data is protected.
Financial and reputational impact on business
Cyber attacks can have serious implications on your business’ financial situation.
Based on a study done by Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach per compromised record was $148 and it took businesses at least 196 days to detect a breach. This means you’re likely having to bear a heavy price. (Ponemon, Larry. “Ponemon Institute Cost of a Data Breach Study 2018.” SecurityIntelligence, 11 July 2018.
However, it is not just about the financial loss suffered by your business or the cost of recovery; a data breach can also impose reputational damages.
When your business suffers from a cyberattack, your customers will start to lose trust in your business and will start to spend their money elsewhere. This would obviously make it harder for your business to retain existing customers let alone obtaining new ones.
Hence, there’s no need for your business to run on the risk of awaiting for the imminent cyber attack to happen. Instead, take action today to protect your business from cyber attacks and potentially from being wiped out from existence through implementing cyber security measures.
Increasing trend in number of cyber attacks
Criminals can find all sort of methods and entry points into your internal networks through your business’ exposed systems or maybe even your website.
According to the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), which is responsible for Singapore’s cybersecurity efforts, the number of cyber attacks, especially ransomware, have increased over the previous years. (Loh, Sherwin. “Singapore sees spike in number of cyberattack-for-ransom cases.” TheBusinessTimes, 10 October 2016. Symantec, an American company that provides cybersecurity software and servcies, also mentioned that financial sector which comprises of financial, insurance and real estates, accounts for 47% of ransomware attacks in Singapore, making it the most vulnerable industry.
This is because ransomware is usually easier to target through a common service, all industries and companies no matter the size, as well as individuals, are targeted.
If you or your business ever encounter a ransomware attack, do not give in to the demands of the cybercriminals because of course, you can’t trust them. Furthermore, paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee that you get back your stolen data or files. It is just a short-term solution but often ends up fuelling these criminal’s confidence in carrying out more attacks at other organisations.
“What makes a good target is outdated security or a poor security posture, resulting in that company or industry being a good target.”
Thus, if you plan to deal with these sort of attacks only after you detected it, you are too late. With highly sophisticated attacks getting common, you need to know that a data breach is bound to happen, especially for small businesses.
The world we live in today relies heavily on the usage of mobile apps, web apps, and big data. It should come to no surprise that more smart devices nowadays are connected to the internet. These are known as Internet of Things, or IOT for short, devices that are common in homes and offices. Consultancy UK, 2018.
It may seem as though being able to utilise these devices enable many new startups and small businesses to simplify and make tasks more efficient, as well as provides greater control and accessibility.
In reality, that’s not the case.
You see, if the IoT device is not managed properly, it gives cyber criminals a chance to take advantage of it by exploiting the security weaknesses.
For example, people tend to configure their business emails on their personal email, supposedly providing convenience. However, once you step outside the safe zone of your company’s network, you are vulnerable to hackers.
By 2021, it is estimated that there will be 27.1 billion connected devices according to IT services giant Cisco. This means that the problem will only get worse in the long run.
Information, data, and many more can be easily transferred into the wrong hands.
Thus, do not get distracted by the rapid transformation in technology until you forget that protection on these devices should be the priority. Instead, you should conduct regular vulnerability assessments to identify and eliminate the risks.
Aside from protecting your business, a well-implemented cyber security measure can maximise your business’ potential output.
According to Computer Economics, it is reported by McAfee that there are over 60,000 known computer viruses currently.This not only means it slows down your computers, but it also forces you to wait to clean the viruses before you can continue working again. Thus, your business is vulnerable to all sorts of viruses and if no action is taken, it can slow down your productivity in work.
Hence, by implementing such effective measures, it will give you the confidence that every aspect of your business is well prepared against potential attacks, contributing to your success. Furtheremore, such confidence gives you the peace of mind, time and resources to focus on other aspects of your business’ growth too.
It does not hurt to invest in cybersecurity because in actual fact, it is much more cost-effective as compared to when you suffer a major cyber-attack.
As mentioned, such cyber attacks can cause businesses to lose billions of dollars in terms of reputation loss, loss of sensitive company data, and the consequent cost of compensating the people affected. According to a report by Radware, the average estimated cost of a cyberattack on an enterprise was $1.1 million in 2018, an increase of 52% from the previous year.
However, imagine if your business had just invested a small amount into implementing cyber security measures. The benefits far outweighs the disadvantages.
Thus, implementing these small and cost-effective cyber security measures provides your business a safeguard against these uncertainties.
In conclusion, don’t wait till it’s too late. As mentioned, we should never be too complacent just because we think it won’t happen to us. Your business is at risk financially and reputationally, with the increasing trend in cyber attacks and usage of IoT devices, without cyber security, it can impact your business’ flow. In addition, cyber security also allows for more productivity and cost-effectiveness.
Here at Netpluz Asia, we provide various solutions that can cater to your needs on how you can managed your cyber security. Just watch the video below to find out more!
Author: Amir Matin Bin Abdul Rashid