Most of us would prefer never to have to think about cybersecurity risks. Cybersecurity is a large, complex topic involving technological rabbit holes few of us want to venture down. Unfortunately, in today’s business climate, none of us have the luxury to avoid this topic.
You may not think you’re vulnerable to a cyberattack. Think again. In 2020, there were 1000 data breaches in the United States alone, affecting over 150 million people. Should you suffer one of these, the negative impact on your business could be enormous. Never mind the direct damage a hacker can do to your technological infrastructure; if you can’t be trusted to keep data safe, you’ll have trouble finding new customers or even hanging on to the ones you have.
Of course, you can’t learn all you need to know about the subject of cybersecurity from one blog, but you can take one giant step towards knowing where to go next.
What is cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity has to do with how you protect your technical infrastructure, technology, or network. It can be as simple as keeping malware off your company computers or as complicated as employing bitcoin technology to safeguard your company’s digital assets.
According to Feroot, CX Security and Privacy, it’s essential to protect your business’s most sensitive information on the front-end and the back-end—your intellectual property, business strategies, customer data—from cybercriminals. Where once that information was stored in locked, fire-proof filing cabinets, now it’s all on servers and in cloud storage, within reach of enterprising hackers. As our global society becomes more interconnected through the web, social media, and now the Internet of Things, the job of keeping all that material away from those hackers has become increasingly difficult. Connecting with customers on social media, providing online shopping experiences, keeping virtual track of your inventory, shipments, and invoices—all these are necessary in today’s marketplace. At the same time, they all expand your cybersecurity risk level.
What are the risks?
That depends on a number of different factors, including the type of business you operate, where you are headquartered, how many workers you employ, and what third-party suppliers you work with. A cyberattack can come from a cybercriminal looking to send adware to your client base. It can come from a hacktivist unhappy about how your company has changed the atmosphere of your city’s downtown area. It can even come from competitors looking to crash your network and disrupt your business.
The best way to begin thinking about your own cybersecurity risks is to consider what digital assets you have that someone might want. These could include:
- Customer data
- Employee data
- Intellectual property
- Third and fourth-party vendor information
- Product quality and safety reports
- Contract terms and pricing
- Strategic planning
- Financial data
Once you have identified what a potential cyberattacker might be after, you can develop a plan focused on protecting that specific asset.
Assessing Your Risk Level
When you know what a cyberattack might target, your next job is to perform a risk assessment. In simplest terms, you can ask yourself where your vulnerabilities might lie. What security mechanisms do you have in place to protect your customers’ names and email addresses? If you store that information in a cloud, what kind of security does the cloud itself have?
Some of those questions may have easy answers. More likely, though, you don’t have the expertise either for tracking down security holes or for plugging them. If you’re running a business, you certainly don’t have the time for these tasks.
Many high-profile companies are now hiring Chief Information Security Officers to monitor and respond to their cybersecurity issues. Not every company can afford that kind of solution, however. For those companies, the better option is usually to hire a company focused on providing proactive prevention and discovery of client-side attacks, to perform a complete risk assessment.
The world isn’t getting any safer, and that goes double for the digital world. If you haven’t yet taken a hard look at your cybersecurity risks, it’s time you did.