One of the most important, yet often undervalued, functions of any enterprise or organization is protecting itself from digital security threats. On the surface, most companies say the right things about their commitment to network security, but the actual level of commitment and funding for security initiatives is often less than it should be.
The business environment has evolved with the Internet to the point where digital processes and networking are essential, and security breaches can cost companies millions – not only in actual losses, but also in loss of confidence and reputation among their clients.
The majority of companies are targeted by some kind of security threat each year. The most common types of network attacks are eavesdropping, data modification and injection, identity spoofing, brute force password guessing and, of course, denial-of-service or DoS attack. As enterprises become more sophisticated in mitigating threats, invaders also evolve to exploit unprotected vulnerabilities.
Enterprises must constantly be on guard in order to avoid costly intrusions. But are companies taking this responsibility seriously?
Most companies implement the bare minimum of solutions required to combat cyber security threats. These can include firewalls, intrusion detection software, encryption, malware scanners.
More sophisticated and effective tools, however, require the support (and funding) of company leadership outside the IT realm. Most personnel who operate within or close to the IT operation understand the critical importance of network security, but those more removed from everyday IT operations may not be as enthusiastic.
The Cyber Security Landscape
Because of this diminishing support for security initiatives outside the IT realm, most organizations don’t employ an in-house security expert, especially in upper levels of management. Many companies don’t even have a staff security expert within their IT operation, choosing instead to allow other IT staff to handle security functions in addition to their regular responsibilities.
Alarmingly, some organizations don’t even retain an outside security expert to consult on security issues to keep them ahead of security threats, leaving them vulnerable to costly outages caused by breaches.
Compounding the situation is the fact that a large number of organizations do not focus on training their employees in security best practices or building security skills in-house. In more than a few cases, IT personnel are left to educate themselves about security best practices without the support of executives.
This lack of training and focus on security comes at a perilous time, as the explosion of mobile devices used for work creates new points of access that hackers are eager to exploit. While many IT departments feel fairly confident they can protect traditional equipment like desktop computers and servers, many are ill-prepared to secure smartphones, wearable devices, and sensors.
The Cost of Doing Nothing
Choosing not to invest in security personnel and training may seem like a money saver initially, but once a breach hits, those savings quickly become costs, and the price to recover may be much higher than expected.
It’s easy to understand why companies with a small IT department and limited resources would choose to focus on tangible operational projects rather than shadowy threats. In reality, that approach often proves to be foolish when a security breach interrupts and sometimes devastates critical operations. At a minimum, companies should be vigilant about monitoring their networks and educating employees about best practices to thwart attacks.
Alternatively, the modern Cloud approach, when you delegate most, if not all, of the system management tasks to professionals running the Cloud – proves to be a cost effective and reliable solution to manage most of the security threats, given that you rely on a trusted and respected Cloud provider. You could also build a Hybrid Cloud solution, employing both in-house and externally hosted resources to maximize efficiency of agile in-house process management and reliability and security of an industry-standard solutions provided by your Cloud provider of choice for the most important pieces of your IT infrastructure.
Contact us to learn more about the importance of protecting your organization from security threats.