In the 20th century, locking your file room or cabinet was enough to keep business data safe from competitors and malicious third-parties. However, with the migration to digital systems in the 21st century, new threats have risen from hackers and new tactics need to be used to keep your data safe. No longer your competitors are the ones trying to steal your data. A new generation of cyber-criminals and hackers are causing operational disruptions for business of all sizes around the world. This new generation of criminals can range from foreign armies of hackers trying to get access to a company’s trade secrets for foreign competitors in emerging markets, cyber gangs looking to make a quick buck, or hackers bringing down your systems for the sake of it. To prevent and reduce harm from this new wave of crime, businesses need to implement proper cyber-security policies.
Damage from Data Breaches
Proper cyber-security policies are key to preventing fallout from data breaches. AIG notes that “the first and most important step is to take measures to prevent intrusions from occurring in the first place”. This advice is relevant not just to Fortune 500 companies, but to small and medium sized businesses as well. A New York Times exposé on the threats faced by small business from hackers cites the case of Rokenbok Education. Rokenbok is a small business where malicious hackers hijacked the company’s database files with malware. These hackers took Rokenbok’s files hostage and demanded compensation in exchange for returning these files.
Potential Cyber-Security Threats
Rokenbok is not alone when it comes to extortion threats from cyber criminals. Countless others have faced similar threats and the costs are astronomical. The Small Business Administration (“SBA”) cites the following cyber security threats:
• Computer hardware and/or software that is outdated and/or insecure
• Poor or missing security policies that do not establish security protocols
• Missing procedures for securing information
• Lazy oversight
• Loose enforcement of existing policies
Companies can reduce the risk of data breaches, viruses, Trojans, and other malware by implementing a Cloud Workspace. By migrating their on-premises infrastructure to cloud workspaces, companies can extend the usable life of their workstations and increase security. The IT Administrator, using itopia’s Cielo platform, grants application entitlements to each user providing them access to only the applications they need. Meanwhile custom policies prevent end-users from running executables or other file types that could house malicious code. Combine that with Back-up and Disaster Recovery policy and it becomes apparent why so many organizations are making the move to the cloud.
A study estimates that data breaches cost global businesses half a trillion dollars in 2014. The cost of cyber-security and preventing those breaches is significantly lower than the cost of reacting to them. It’s not just better to be safe than sorry; it’s also cheaper.