What is cyber security?

In a nutshell, cyber security is the protection of everything that makes up your computer network.

With the rise in cybercrime it’s become a necessary consideration to avoid the damages that ransomware, phishing, and data breaches can have on your business’ productivity and reputation.

And since data privacy laws have come in to play around the world, cyber security has also become an important part of running a business day to day. Why? Because businesses are now legally obliged to safeguard the personal information they hold.

Note that cyber security shouldn’t be confused with information security, which is the protection of your data in digital and hard-copy forms. However, information security is a vital part of cyber security because by protecting your computer network, you’re also protecting your data.

Cyber security infrastructure

There are three main parts to a business’s cyber security infrastructure: 1. Employees, 2. Business processes and 3. Technology.

To comply with data privacy regulations, businesses now need to show that all three parts have been accounted for, ie:

  1. Staff need training in cyber security awareness. They also need to keep current with the risks they face, and the solutions and qualifications available to them.
  2. Processes that protect your business’s systems, networks, programmes, data and devices from cyber attack need to be reviewed and altered every quarter to remain relevant.
  3. Businesses have to keep up to date with trending cyber security technology that’ll reduce their cyber risk.

Because cyber threats are constantly changing, cyber security can’t be a one-off exercise.

  • Staff need to keep current with the risks they face, and the solutions and qualifications available to them.
  • Processes need to be reviewed and altered every quarter to remain relevant.
  • You need to keep up to date with trending cyber security technology.

Why do we need cybersecurity?

  1. Phishing is easy to do and often works
    Hackers keep targeting businesses large and small because their success rate is high, thanks to the unsuspecting person in every business who falls for a phishing attack.

    Stat: Phishing accounts for more than 80% of cyber incidents
    Top cybersecurity facts, figures and statistics | CSO Online

  2. There’s money in cyber crime
    Cybercrime is a full-on, flourishing industry, and cryptocurrency has enabled cyber criminals to extract ransom payments that are untraceable, which makes it an attractive field of business.

    Stat: 86% of breaches were financially motivated in 2020
    2020 Data Breach Investigations Report | Verizon

  3. Cyber security has become a legal requirement
    Data privacy laws such as South Africa’s POPIA (Protection of Personal Information Act) and the EU’s GDPR have made cyber security compulsory for businesses that collect, store or process personal data. Non-compliance can be very costly.

    Fact: The maximum penalty for POPIA non-compliance is R10 million or 10 years in prison.
    Protection of Personal Information Act

  4. Costs relating to cyber crime have risen exponentially in recent years
    Data breaches that break privacy laws result in huge fines. Also, unhappy clients whose data has been compromised can cause massive reputational damage.

    Stat: The costs of cybercrime worldwide will hit 6 trillion dollars in 2021
    134 Cybersecurity Statistics and Trends for 2021 | Varonis

  5. Cyber security has risen to board-level importance
    Because of the financial, operational and reputational risks associated with cyber attacks, it’s no longer just the IT department that needs to handle cyber security. Top level management has to be involved to manage the broader risk associated with cyber attacks.

    Stat: 78% of businesses in the UK say cyber security is a high priority for their organisation’s senior management

The opportunity in cyber security

If you’re seeing cyber security only as a legal obligation, remember that having a cyber strategy in place gives you a competitive advantage. When your systems and data are protected, your business will be at less risk of data loss, financial loss and damage to its reputation.

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