Why we need Cyber Security ?

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Why is Cyber security important all of a sudden? We are living in a far more technologically advanced world than we were before the Covid-19 outbreak. With the outbreak of COVID-19 global pandemic has forced organizations and individuals to embrace remote working. This global pandemic has created an enormous challenge for government and organizations worldwide. It has forced them to continue operating regularly despite massive shutdowns of offices and other important facilities. Overnight, the demands placed on the digital infrastructure have skyrocketed. Most of the organizations asked its IT professionals to connect to office network remotely from home. Many employees who hadn’t worked from home in the past. Government and organizations were not fully prepared to adapt to this sudden change. Many organizations struggled to adapt to this drastic change and some are still struggling to adopt to it. While the world is focused on the health and economic threats posed by this pandemic, globally the Cyber criminals are trying to capitalize on this crisis. This outbreak has given Cyber criminals much bigger and more lucrative targets which were hiding behind Organizations’ perimeter security. As a result Individuals are compelled to perceive Cyber Security as one of the key component of fighting the opportunities these Cyber criminals trying to encash on. As more and more people are forced to work remotely, this rise in the widespread use of technology brought with it a rise in Cyber-crimes. For hackers, the possibilities increased exponentially over a small period of time, along with the potential rewards. The fact that Cyber-crime now permeates every facet of society shows why Cyber security is crucially important. Thankfully Cyber Security is receiving more attention from the media and society than ever before.

In just a single month, the world became far more digitally connected than it was ever before. It has equally become vulnerable. Before the outbreak in March 2020, organizations always required employees to come to office premises to access the data centers and office network. A location which is physically and Cyber Security wise; highly secure and robust. With the outbreak the organizations were forced to allow its employees to use highly vulnerable and less reliable public Internet. This has highlighted the need for Cyber Security. The risk of Cyber-attack has increased by an order of magnitude, with increased communication and wholesale changes in way organizations conduct online businesses. It has also introduced a wide range of new risks which it has never faced ever before. Organizations’ perimeter security is at risk of being breached. Security and risk management leaders now must safeguard their companies on a massive scale, and quickly. They must ensure that their enterprises’ online services and digital platforms are resilient against Cyber-attacks. We all live in a technological era, where everything is intertwined with each other. Social media, the Internet, artificial intelligence – all are the product of technologies. It has become practically impossible to live without them. User could not work in an office if user does not have access to the Internet. As information and communication technologies pervade every aspect of our lives – from shopping and banking to education and commerce, they also leave us vulnerable to Cyber-crime. Not having Cyber Security is like not having doors on one’s house and no alarm system or security cameras. It would just simply allow anyone into users system and allow them to do anything they want. Enforcing enterprise security policies and controls on the remote workforce is a difficult task. Most controls have limited scalability and require considerable time to deploy. Some organizations had no option but to allow employees to use their personal digital devices to access office networks and resources without any mechanism for enforcing security controls. Many organizations, Business Continuation Plans (BCP) and Incident Response Plans (IRP) are inadequate or even non-existent for dealing with pandemics. The fact is very few organizations were prepared for their workforces to be working remotely in mass. They now realize that secure remote-access capacity and protected access to enterprise systems have become a major constraint.

Damage to the Organizations.

In Cyber-space; Data is among the biggest and most valuable asset of any organization. The number attacks are proportional to the value of the assets. Data having the highest value also attacks highest number of attacks. Cyber-attacks have become an inevitable part of business in Cyber Space for organizations of all sizes worldwide. Despite growing awareness of the consequences of a successful attack, many organizations still downplay the risks associated with it, especially when additional spending on security is discussed. But make no mistake – a Cyber-attack can have devastating and long-lasting consequences for the entire organization.

Cyber-attacks can be extremely harmful to organization. Tangible costs range from stolen funds and damaged systems to regulatory fines, legal damages, and financial compensation for affected parties. However, what might hurt even more are the intangible costs – such as loss of competitive advantage due to stolen intellectual property, loss of customer or business partner trust, loss of integrity due to compromised digital assets, and overall damage to an organization’s reputation and brand – all of which can send an organization’s share price plummeting, and in extreme cases can even drive a company out of business. Let’s look at some of the damage a successful Cyber-attack may

Economic Cost:  In a world increasingly driven by digital technologies and information, Cyber-threat management is more than just a strategic imperative. It’s a fundamental part of doing business. For any organization direct financial costs are perhaps the most obvious consequence of a Cyber Security breach. Fines and damage payments also fall under this category. However, economically all the consequences of Cyber Security breach have their own financial cost and significant impact on organizations bottom line.

A) Loss of Productivity – For any organization, every minute of downtime is directly linked with measurable financial losses. If critical systems or data are unavailable for certain period, the business stops making money. Even if organizations core business is not impacted by the Security Breach, the IT security and operations staff will be drawn away from value-added activities to deal with the emergency.

B) Revenue Loss – The longer business remain down due to Cyber security breach the higher the loss of business. Business models that rely on being always online, downtime might directly results into business loss. If the online store goes offline, customers can’t place orders or buy products. Cyber-attack such as DDoS may result in degraded system functionality, which will adversely consumer experience resulting revenue loss. Also by concerned customers canceling orders or postponing them until the Cyber Security Breach is under control.

C) Response and Recovery Cost – A serious Cyber Security Breach incident is likely to engage most or all of IT personnel of that organization; which otherwise could have been engaged in other productive work. Organizations probably may require to hire external contractors and providers as well, resulting in costly additional man-hours. Depending on organizations environment and setup, restoring backups and performing other recovery operations may mean even more expense.

D) Investigation Cost – Post Cyber Security breach forensics and vulnerability analysis may require organization to bring in costly external auditors, consultants, and contractors. There might be a necessity to collect evidences, logs and other artifacts increasing the cost of investigation. Depending on the complexity of the Cyber Security breach the cost may vary significantly.

Below the surface costs :  Loss of intellectual property is an intangible cost associated with loss of exclusive control over trade secrets, copyrights, investment plans, and other proprietary and confidential information. This can lead to loss of competitive advantage, loss of revenue, and lasting and potentially irreparable economic damage to the company. In addition to the economic costs of incident response, there are several intangible costs that can continue to impair a business long after the event itself.  The impact of operational disruption tends to be woefully underestimated – especially among firms that have little in the way of formal business resilience and continuity strategies – and small organizations that already struggle to manage cash flow may face crippling rises in insurance premiums or see an increased cost to raise debt.

Reputation Loss: A Cyber Security breach always has an adverse effect on organizations reputation. Serious damage to organizations reputation will eventually lead to less favorable financial forecasts, potentially impacting share value and the company’s overall valuation in market. This may also lead to loss of potential customers, Investors and future deals. Company may have to work hard to gain the reputation which it had lost due to Cyber Security breach.

Legal and PR costs: After a major Cyber Security breach, organization may need to finance intensive legal and PR efforts to protect the company image, manage communications with stakeholders and regulators, and prepare for or head off potential legal or regulatory action. In order to uphold these stiff privacy agreements, businesses are required to observe certain laws. Consumers may sue an organization for wrongfully disclosing their personal information, whether due to hacking or employee negligence. Consumers might sue on the ground that they were promised their information would remain secure, but the organization failed to comply. In some cases, a defamation claim may also be involved, in which a data breach resulted in someone’s ruined reputation. Organizations may face significant payouts. Organization might even face Criminal Charges for Evading Regulations. Many states have strict regulations regarding Cyber security laws, based on strong privacy principles. As if direct financial losses weren’t punishment enough, there is the prospect of monetary penalties for businesses that fail to comply with data protection legislation. Global authorities are considering tougher regulations: one of the most draconian measures proposed by the European Parliament for a privacy breach, applicable from 25 May 2018, is a fine of 20 million euros, or 4% global annum revenues whichever was the higher– a sum that would threaten many growing businesses with insolvency.