In today’s digital age, organizations face numerous challenges when it comes to safeguarding their sensitive information and maintaining a secure online presence. One of the most critical threats they encounter is cyber incidents. These incidents, characterized by unauthorized access, data breaches, theft, or disruption of services, have the potential to cause irreparable damage to businesses of all sizes. This article delves into the impact of cyber incidents on organizations and emphasizes the utmost importance of preventing them from occurring in the first place.
Digital transformation now and then
In 2023, organizations is placing emphasis on investing in the cloud, data analytics, and operational technology/industrial control systems.
88% of the organizations taking part in the survey agree that cloud plays an important role to a large or medium extent. Over 40% think that data analytics, 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), and AI/Cognitive Computing have become increasingly crucial in digital transformation strategies.
Compared to 2021, technology for operational systems has been more prioritized to combat cyber threats.
Cloud computing, data analytics, and operational technology/industrial control systems have become priorities in digital transformation due to a variety of reasons:
- Scalability and Flexibility: Cloud computing allows businesses to easily scale their infrastructure according to their needs. It provides the flexibility to expand or reduce resources as required, enabling businesses to optimize costs and adapt to changing demands.
- Data-driven Insights: Data analytics enables businesses to extract valuable insights from large volumes of data. Organizations can uncover patterns, trends, and correlations by analyzing this data, leading to data-driven decision-making. This helps businesses understand their customers better, identify opportunities for growth, and optimize operational efficiency.
- Enhanced Operational Efficiency: Operational technology (OT) and industrial control systems (ICS) play a crucial role in streamlining operational processes, particularly in industries such as manufacturing, energy, and transportation. By integrating OT/ICS with digital technologies, businesses can automate processes, reduce manual intervention, improve productivity, and stop cyber incidents from happening in the first place.
- Improved Customer Experience: Cloud computing, data analytics, and OT/ICS can collectively contribute to improving the customer experience. By leveraging these technologies, businesses can better understand their customer’s preferences, personalize offerings, and provide seamless and efficient services. This helps enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Competitive Advantage: Implementing cloud, data analytics, and OT/ICS can provide a competitive advantage in today’s digital landscape. Organizations that embrace these technologies can be more agile, make informed decisions, optimize costs, and deliver innovative products and services. This positions them ahead of their competitors in meeting customer expectations and driving business growth.
Overall, cloud computing, data analytics, and OT/ICS have become priorities in digital transformation due to their potential to drive operational efficiency, enable data-driven decision-making, enhance the customer experience, and mitigate the cyber risks.
Cyber incidents’ impact on organizations
Organizations have shared their thoughts about the damage caused by cyber attacks. These repercussions vary from economic factors such as loss of revenue, retention rate to negative brand reputation. The most common impact of cyber incidents include:
- Financial Losses: Cyber incidents can lead to substantial financial losses for organizations. The cost of recovering from a cyber attack, including investigating and addressing the breach, can be exorbitant. Moreover, businesses also face potential lawsuits, regulatory fines, and damage to their reputation, resulting in lasting financial repercussions.
- Reputation Damage: The impact of a cyber incident extends far beyond immediate financial losses. Organizations often experience a significant blow to their reputation. News of a data breach or security incident spreads quickly, eroding customer trust and confidence. This loss of trust can lead to customers taking their business elsewhere, thereby negatively impacting the organization’s bottom line.
- Operational Disruption: Cyber incidents can disrupt an organization’s day-to-day operations, leading to cascading consequences. Ransomware attacks, for example, can paralyze IT infrastructure, rendering critical systems and services inoperable. The resulting downtime can cause severe productivity losses, affecting employee morale and customer satisfaction.
- Intellectual Property Theft: For organizations that rely heavily on intellectual property, cyber incidents can result in the theft of valuable trade secrets, patents, or proprietary information. This theft not only hampers a company’s competitive advantage but also compromises the long-term sustainability and growth potential.
In the realm of cyber incidents, operational disruption remains the primary consequence, but there has been a notable shift in the rankings. Loss of revenue and loss of customer trust have risen to second and third place respectively, with 56% of survey participants reporting moderate to significant ramifications in these areas.
One possible explanation for this shift could be that organizations with a higher level of maturity perceive and experience the impacts differently, thanks to a deeper understanding of their business operations. Conversely, less mature organizations may be conceptualizing the potential impacts rather than experiencing them firsthand. Nonetheless, highly mature organizations appear to be reaping more positive benefits from their cyber initiatives, including improved brand reputation, enhanced trust, operational advantages, and financial gains. In contrast, low and medium-maturity groups are more likely to leverage these initiatives to bolster brand reputation and building trust, rather than focus on other areas.
The importance of cyber threat prevention
Safeguarding Customer Trust
Preventing cyber incidents is essential for maintaining customer trust. Customers expect their personal information to be secure when interacting with businesses online. By prioritizing cybersecurity, organizations demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding customer data, thus strengthening their reputation and fostering long-term customer loyalty.
Many industries have stringent regulations that require organizations to maintain a certain level of cybersecurity. By preventing cyber incidents, organizations can ensure compliance with these regulations, avoiding costly fines and legal repercussions.
Demonstrating a commitment to cybersecurity can provide organizations with a competitive edge. Businesses with strong cybersecurity measures in place are perceived as reliable, trustworthy, and responsible, making them a preferred choice among customers, partners, and investors.
How do we counter cyber incidents?
Adopting a proactive approach to cybersecurity is crucial in preventing cyber incidents. By implementing robust security measures, regularly updating software, and investing in employee training, organizations can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to cyber attacks. Being vigilant and staying up-to-date with the latest security practices will help create a strong defense against potential threats.
One of the ways you can be proactive in combating cyber risks is using Locker – the most trusted password manager. Locker can help your business to encrypt the data, store all of the documents in a secret vault, provide a security dashboard to help you track the privacy privileges of people in your organization, and so many more to prevent cyber threats.
Create personal accounts for your employees
Each employee should have their own unique login for every application and program. Allowing multiple users to access the same credentials can pose a risk to your business.
By implementing separate logins for each staff member, you can minimize potential attack vulnerabilities. Users will only need to log in once per day using their own set of login credentials. This not only enhances security but also improves usability.
As a business owner, one of the risks associated with having employees is the possibility of them installing software on company-owned devices that could compromise your systems.
Implementing managed admin rights and restricting staff from installing or accessing certain data on your network can greatly benefit your security. Using Locker, you can monitor the access privileges of people in your company. From then, easily track down the individuals with security-compromising activities.
Set up strong passwords
Using the same password for everything can be risky. If a hacker manages to crack your password, they would gain access to everything in your system and all the applications you use.
Using different passwords for each application provides a significant security advantage, and regularly changing them helps maintain a high level of protection against external and internal threats. Locker not only generates strong and unique passwords for each account but also provides a comprehensive admin dashboard for businesses to manage passwords effectively from one place.
Ensure Endpoint Protection
Endpoint protection safeguards networks that are remotely connected to devices. Mobile devices, tablets, and laptops that are connected to corporate networks can provide entry points for security threats. These entry points need to be protected with specific endpoint protection software.
Control access to your systems
Surprisingly, one type of attack on your systems can be physical. Having control over who can access your network is vital. Someone could simply walk into your office or enterprise and plug in a USB key containing infected files, granting them access to your entire network or infecting it.
It is crucial to have control over who can access your computers. Installing a perimeter security system is an effective way to prevent cybercrime and unauthorized access.
Pharr, P. (n.d.). Why You Need to Prioritize Digital Transformation in 2023. Why You Need to Prioritize Digital Transformation in 2023. https://www.whymeridian.com/blog/prioritize-digital-transformation
Deloitte. 2023 Global Future of Cyber Survey. https://www.deloitte.com/content/dam/assets-shared/legacy/docs/gx-deloitte_future_of_cyber_2023.pdf