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18 August 2022 News Banking ERP Solutions Information Security Privacy & Personal Data Private Sector Interview

Top 5 Reasons why Cybersecurity should be a #1 Business Priority

Up until recently, cybersecurity was largely considered a ‘tech problem’. It’s been left for IT teams to deal with, perhaps under the leadership of the CTO or CIO. However, as data breaches become more and more common losing companies both money and reputation, times are changing. Security is slowly becoming recognised as a ‘business problem’. Not only this, but a business priority. 

We caught up with Mel Donaldson, Formpipe’s Information Security Manager, to understand why security should be top of mind when making business decisions. 

“Information security is all about preventing data or information from being leaked, or falling into the wrong hands and being misused. Data is one of the most important and valuable assets to any organisation, so it makes sense to prioritise its security” she said. 

It’s important to protect information so that: 

  • Only authorised persons may access it – confidentiality. 
  • We can trust that it’s correct and not manipulated or destroyed – integrity. 
  • It’s always available when we need it – availability.  

Not to mention, data breaches are time-consuming, expensive, and bad for business. “With strong information security controls, a company reduces their risk of internal and external attacks on IT systems, protects sensitive data, ensures business continuity and provides stakeholders with peace of mind” says Mel. 

Anyone dealing with potentially sensitive information, whether that be businesses or individuals, should be making it a priority to keep it safe. Mel provides us with her top 5 reasons why: 

1. Most businesses (and individuals) have information that needs protection 

Whether you’re a small start-up business, or a multinational corporate powerhouse, you’re handling sensitive information. Customers and employees put their faith in organisations to keep their information safe. This can include financial accounts, social security numbers, medical information, even national security secrets. Research shows that only on average, only 5% of a company’s folders are properly protected. It's clear that needs to be done. 
Individuals aren’t immune either. Mel says “If you have any information on your system – passwords, bank account details, social security, retail websites etc, you’re vulnerable”. 

 2. Threats are everywhere 

Information security threats are on a steep incline. In fact, data breaches exposed 22 billion records in 2021, with the US in particular seeing a 10% increase on the number of reported data breaches since 2020. “Threats can include anything from worms and viruses, to information extortion, intellectual property theft and even identity theft” says Mel.

Ransomware is also a growing problem, this is where a cyber-criminal blocks access to information or threatens to release a set of data unless a ransom is paid.  

Employing penetration testers can help you mitigate any vulnerabilities before malicious actors can take advantage of them. Investing in incident response plans can also help you be better prepared to manage any arising threats.

However, information security threats aren’t limited to just malicious actors. Many experts believe that the biggest threats are actually employees who don’t follow security policies.

In fact, 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error. Therefore, ensuring your employees receive regular security awareness training to make them aware of any potential risks and dangers is paramount. 

3. Security breaches are expensive! 

Security breaches are costly for multiple reasons. There’s the loss of revenue while a system is down, there’s the lost business from customers losing faith and leaving, and there’s the cost of trying to rebuild your reputation and gain new customers. According to the Ponemon Institute’s Report, data breaches costed an average of $3.86 million in 2020. 

Not only this but “to prevent another breach, businesses and governments must also pay a specialist to analyze the situation and figure out what happened. New and improved security measures will likely be required and those are expensive too” explains Mel.  

So, investing in cybersecurity now, could save organisations a small fortune further down the line. 

4. Attacks are becoming more sophisticated 

Cyber attacks have matured a lot in recent years, with scams becoming a lot more believable. The technology is improving, which not only means that cyber-criminals are getting better, but that they don’t need to do as much hands-on work to be successful. 

Mel comments that “cyber-criminals are also more organised than in the past, forming communities and sharing their knowledge and skills. The groups don’t need to be huge. Even just a few cyber-criminals collaborating can do a lot of damage to multiple networks at once.” 

5. Information security builds trust 

When a data breach hits, news spreads fast. From media coverage to social media posts, the public (even those who aren’t particularly interested in technology) will know it’s a problem. Customers want organisations to look after their data and prioritise its security. If a company fails them, they’ll take their business elsewhere. Mel says: 

Companies can build trust by thoroughly researching the best security measures, conducting regular assessments and knowing their supply chain. They should also have robust response plans in place in case there is a breach. It’s always best to prepare for the worst.” 

Looking to keep your documents safe from potential threats? Formpipe's digital repository, Autoform DM, provides secore storage with lifetime configurablity in a controlled and ISO compliant environment. See more here.