Cybersecurity is a word that you may have heard around lately if you are a manager or owner of a small business, particularly if that business is online or uses a system in its processes. True to its name, cybersecurity is simply security on a digital level. It is designed to provide both the general public and businesses with security they can trust that prevents malicious intruders from gaining access to their personal information.
Any time you create a new ‘account’ online, whether it is for a helpful forum, a social media platform or a file saving website for tutorials and tips, you will need to provide some level of personal information that this particular website can use to identify you. In many cases, this is something as simple as your first and last name and a working email address. However for some of us, a lot more personal information is stored and should be protected online.
For example, if you are a fan of online banking, you will have an account number, a specific password and security information that you may need to enter in order to prove that you are who you say you are. This information is designed to protect your personal data from reaching the wrong hands. However, if you don’t protect this information in itself, what is even the point of it being there? Read on to find out what exactly you should be thinking about in terms of cybersecurity, and why it is important that you get on that bandwagon.
The White House Proposal
Plans for the next fiscal year are looking towards beefing up cyber security where the White House is concerned. On the 9th February this year, President Barack Obama revealed the proposal to request that $19 billion is used in order to improve cybersecurity and overhaul federal IT systems. In doing this, the administration hopes to establish new programs in security for both the government and the general public.
According to reports, this is an increase in the budget of 35% over the previous fiscal year, a considerable step up when looking at cybersecurity overall. This extreme ramp up of the cybersecurity budget will hope to combat new and elusive threats found over the last few years. There is also a Cybersecurity National Action Plan laid in place by the White House to be used as a means of creating a commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. Hackers are constantly on the lookout for new technologies to make their lives easier and the lives of those around them more difficult and it is the President’s hope that this increase in budget will give the White House the means with which to create a more secure online medium for everyone to enjoy.
Plans include a proposal to partner with companies of some standing such as Google and Facebook in order to educate the public on security issues. The importance of carefully chosen passwords and the prevention of sharing personal data online is something that the general public may be aware of, but may not fully understand. In light of the major hacks, both public and private, occurring over the past few years, these changes are an essential part of increasing cybersecurity on a national basis.
Your Own Cybersecurity Budget
Of course, while you may require the same level of security as a multi-national government stronghold such as The White House, investing in the right level of security for your business is crucial. If you are dealing with any level of personal data, either on behalf of your clients or on behalf of your employees and your own business, you will need to have security measures in place that protects that data from malicious hackers. It is just common sense, however, it is becoming more and more crucial that businesses open their eyes to this fact.
Consider cyber security as the virtual ‘insurance’ of your business. By investing in cybersecurity designed to prevent hackers from gaining illegal access to your systems, you are covering your assets in the event of an attack. You help prevent hackers from accessing your important data, which they might be able to use to commit fraud, blackmail or worse. Investing in a decent cybersecurity plan is essential, as most businesses are largely online nowadays.
The Ruthlessness of Hackers
Hackers are the modern day equivalent of thieves and pickpockets. While you spend money on an expensive CCTV system and lock system to keep your home and your business premises safe from thieves, you should also consider a reasonable budget for keeping your online data protected against thieves. Some people may believe that data is not as valuable as keeping your physical assets safe, however as personal identification forms, bank statements and information is all digitised, it is, in fact, more important to ensure the security of your virtual assets.
Hackers do not care who they target. They look for a weakness in a system and figure out a way to exploit it. Personal vendettas in cyber-crime are almost meaningless and if your information is compromised, you can bet that a hacker will find a way to work that to their advantage. If your system security is lax, hackers can access important data and potentially cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to your business and even your clients, if you have access to their personal data. The knock-on effect of bad cyber security is so threatening that it is simply no longer an option to continue in a modern day business without your own security team or outsourcing your security to a professional company.
Outsourcing Security to a Reputable Company
Of course, you may have no idea as to how to begin your cybersecurity campaign and this can seem like a daunting task. It is not, however, one that you should be putting off until later! The sooner you manage to sort out the online security of your business, the less likely you’ll encounter a problem further down the line.
One sure-fire way of keeping up to date with your business cybersecurity is to outsource the service to a professional company. Instead of worrying about hiring an in-house team of experts to deal with your security, you look online for a professional company with years of experience assisting likeminded businesses and you get in touch with them. They often have the experience and the equipment available to quickly assess your current system and to put safety measures in place to prevent breaches.
Another good reason for outsourcing such a job is that the business you choose will be able to offer situation specific advice not tied down to your own working hours. In short, this means that if your server goes down while you are on holiday and you need emergency assistance, the outsourced company will be able to run a scan and resolve the problem. It is a cost effective and often widely preferred alternative to hiring your own team.
When looking at all the potential implications of a business getting hacked, it simply makes sense to ensure the safety and future of your own business in using an experienced cybersecurity company. In today’s digital age, getting left behind in the digital security scheme of things will only serve to put you at a disadvantage financially against both your competitors, and against potential malicious hackers looking to steal your information. Don’t wait until it is too late and start looking into updating your cybersecurity as soon as you can.