Strong security in the present makes for a successful future

Data breaches are storming the world, costing businesses millions of dollars and impacting the reputations and financial stability of organisations. According to IBM Security’s 2019 ‘Cost of a Data Breach’ Report, in Australia, the importance of cybersecurity has never been more prominent, with businesses this year alone losing a total of A$3.05 million in costs from data breaches – a massive 14.04% increase on the previous year.

What many organisations fail to understand is that when data breaches occur within a business, the immediate financial implications not only impact the ability for organisations to recover, but also impact the company’s reputation. This means the total cost is actually far more than the $3 million.  If businesses hope to reduce or prevent their chances of becoming victims to cyber-attacks, two things are needed – a much faster way to tackle security and a solid plan to protect against a future of increased cybercrimes.

Speeding up security before its too late

Under the 2019 Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme (NDB), certain entities are required to notify individuals and the Commissioner about data breaches that are likely to cause serious harm. Unfortunately, when businesses fall victim to a cyber-attack, it can take months to detect, leaving businesses exposed and often vulnerable to further losses of personal data and financial setbacks. The scheme is sufficient in helping to shed light on the magnitude of cyber-crimes happening each year across the country, however, it must be the organisation’s responsibility to invest in security systems that can identify the attack when it happens and pinpoint the cause of the breach.

Organisations are moving into a future where cyber-attacks are becoming the norm, compelling companies to prioritise the protection of their customers and employees’ data by investing in security that can work in real-time to prevent or identify the threat.

When considering the time it can take for organisations to identify a breach, the OAIC NDB report shows that 43.81% of breaches over the last quarter were linked to compromised credentials obtained through phishing. These attacks occur when individuals click through on phishing emails, allowing hackers to obtain unauthorised access to personal information.

A prime example of a phishing attack took place at The Australian Catholic University last year, when attackers tricked users into revealing their credentials. The attackers created an email that appeared to be an official ACU email, prompting users to click through to the link and provide their credentials into the fake login page.

Businesses must protect themselves from breaches, by increasing awareness of the risks involved and implementing training measures to identify and recognise when an attack might be occurring. Employees are an organisation’s first line of defence against phishing and other brute-force attacks. With frequent cyber training, companies can work to reduce and prevent future attacks, helping prepare the company and their employees for a secure future.

Prioritising security to secure the future

Having a cyber response plan can be the difference between a successful, future-ready organisation and one that doesn’t financially recover following a breach.  Unfortunately, the new reality for companies is not if a breach will happen, but when a breach will happen. For small businesses, not recovering financially following a breach is not an option, with more than half of small businesses folding within six months of an attack. Consequently, businesses of all sizes need to be level-headed when it comes to protecting themselves and their customers in the case of a cyber-attack.

No matter the size of an organisation, an immediate cyber incident response plan is vital for when the unfortunate situation arises, and data has been compromised. If all levels of an organisation from the C-suite down are aware of the processes and protocols to follow, it can help minimise internal stress and reduce the financial costs within the organisation, all whilst lessening the damages to the organisation’s reputation.

A well-practised cyber response plan is something often overlooked by organisations; however, it is becoming increasingly more important when preparing for an attack. Companies can rehearse their response plan, facilitated through a simulation which helps to identify any weak spots and guarantee all employees know their role and the procedures to follow. This helps management and IT to detect what gaps need to be filled and how they can be ready when a breach occurs.

As we look to the future of cyber-attacks, enterprises must understand the implications that come when poor investments are made into security platforms. By investing in security systems, organisations can take more proactive steps to protect themselves well into the future, giving employees and customers peace of mind that their data is safe and secure.

Moving into a secure future

Moving forward, organisations have a responsibility to their customers and employees to speed up their response to potential security breaches and act fast. Whether a junior employee or an experienced manager, cybersecurity must be prioritised by all, working to secure the future, minimising and preventing potential security risks often experienced within organisations. By speeding up the adoption of best security practice, organisations can be future-ready, staying ahead of cybercriminals and working to minimise and prevent any future attacks from occurring.

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