The future is now and while it is far less exciting than what Hollywood blockbusters promised, we are indeed more reliant on technology than ever before.
But behind the apparent convenience of the fifth industrial revolution lies this gaping discrepancy that leaves the door wide open to cyber-attacks.
Why is cybersecurity important?
Well, unless your device is younger than the original Tamagotchi for whatever reason, chances are you’re prone to a cyber attack. Hence, you’ll need to be protected and that’s exactly where cybersecurity comes to the stage.
Cybersecurity is crucial for protecting all categories of electronic data and information from theft and harm. The sensitive data includes personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI), intellectual property, bank accounts, personal info and government and industry informational systems.
Without a cybersecurity fail-safe, you cannot properly defend yourself against data breach campaigns and spying software which makes you an ideal target for cybercriminals.
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What is Cybersecurity?
Simply put, cybersecurity is the defense of electronic systems on devices (like computers, cell phones and other types of smart devices, servers and networks) from malicious attacks.
Just as it is the process of protecting, it is also recovering computer systems, networks, devices and programs from increasingly sophisticated and evolving cyber-attacks.
Regardless of whether you’re an international corporation, small business or individual user, keeping your data safe from unauthorized access is crucial.
As attackers find and employ new tech-enabled methods to circumvent your defense, so must you strengthen your digital “walls” and often erect new ones, specialized in combating specific threats.
The fact of the matter is that most people and organizations think that cybersecurity refers to a set and paid antivirus/antimalware systems, not knowing that going beyond their protection is basically “hacking 101” to experienced cyberthieves.
In fact, a successful cybersecurity approach has multilayered protection spread across multiple computers, networks, servers, programs and/or data that one intends to keep safe under lock.
Why Is Cybersecurity Important?
Going back to our original question — or to be more precise — “why is it important to learn about cybersecurity?”
The answer is simple: everyone benefits from advanced cyber defense programs.
Security breaches can result in everything from identity theft, extortion attempts to the loss of valuable data like essential business or personal files.
On higher levels, we all rely on critical infrastructures like hospitals, power plants and financial service companies that are also vulnerable to cyber attacks. Securing their digital integrity is crucial to keeping modern society functioning.
1. It Protects Your Business
Let’s start with the obvious. The biggest advantage is that the best cybersecurity solutions provide comprehensive digital protection to your business. On a smaller scale, it allows your employees to operate and even surf the web when they need to, without constantly worrying about elusive threats.
2. It Maintains Productivity
Viruses and accumulated malware can slow down individual devices to a literal crawl and make working on them impossible. This results in a lot of wasted time which can bring your entire organization to a standstill.
3. It Saves Your Budget in the Long Run
In 2021, the average cost of cybercrimes for organizations was about $1.79 million per minute. It’s only logical to conclude that you should opt for paying a “little” for cybersecurity and save big on your business’ protection than lose a small fortune picking up the pieces after the havoc.
4. It Strengthens Your Credibility
Cyber attacks often make websites, online stores, etc., inaccessible or unpleasant to navigate, to say the least. This results in a lousy reputation, which might be difficult to get rid of, which is why most organizations that suffered through it opt for all-encompassing rebranding efforts.
Therefore, cyber security's importance is evident. Not to mention that it can also help in protecting your customers from potential hackers.
If you can demonstrate that your business is effectively protected against all kinds of cyber threats, inspiring trust in your customers and clients follows closely. They will feel more confident when purchasing your products or using your services in the future.
5. It Makes Your Website More Stable
If you’re hosting your own website and your internal systems become infected, there’s a high probability that your website will be forced to shut down. Not only does this affect your image, but you’ll also potentially lose money from missed transactions.
6. It Prevents Spyware and Adware
As the name suggests, spyware is a type of infection designed to spy on your actions and relay that information back to the hacker that planted it. Luckily, no “opponent” is too small for a good defender and the purpose of cyber security solutions is to prevent any spyware from taking root and ensure that your employee’s operations remain private and confidential.
Speaking of less noteworthy nuisances, there’s adware. It’s basically a computer virus that fills your computer with bothersome ads. It is fairly common and quite harmless, but it does take a toll on productivity and can often leave the door open for its other, more vicious “cousins” once you click on them. It goes without saying that quality cyber defense is the best pest control out there.
7. It Supports Your IT Department
No matter the competence of your internal IT team, it’s safe to assume that cyber-criminals have much more experience when it comes to, well, digital crime. The best IT security systems can provide your team with the tools, features and support they need to effectively fight even the most seasoned intruders.
What is a Cyber Attack?
So, we discussed potential issues and the constantly looming threat, but what is a cyber attack exactly?
Put simply, a cyber attack is a cybercriminal-launched assault that uses one or more powerful computers against a single or multiple computers and/or networks. It can maliciously disable computers rendering them useless in terms of practical usability.
In recent times, however, cybercriminals rarely resort to total ruination, but rather more subtle techniques like data stealing and the above-mentioned (corporate) spying.
They use a wide range of methods to launch a cyber attack, including malware, phishing emails, ransomware, denial of service, etc.
The Four Most Common Types of Cyber Attacks
While information theft is the most expensive and fastest-growing type of cybercrime, it’s not the only focus of their crosshairs. Cybercriminals are becoming more and more sophisticated, changing what they target, how they affect organizations and their methods of attack on different security systems. The other popular ones include:
Phishing refers to the practice of sending fraudulent emails that resemble emails from reputable sources or even internal email communication. Their goal is to steal sensitive data like banking or login information. It’s the most widely spread type of cyber attack. You can either help protect yourself by educating your employees or implement a solution that filters your inbox automatically.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to extort money by blocking access to valuable files or internal communication systems until a ransom is paid. Paying it, however, doesn’t guarantee that the system will be restored and the files unharmed.
Malware is also a type of software designed to gain unauthorized access or to simply cause damage to a computer. Malware is pretty standard and almost an entry-level threat for cybercriminals starting their “career.”
Malware comes in all shapes and sizes. The most common ones being:
- Viruses: Viruses infect applications by attaching themselves to the initialization sequence. The virus is akin to digital cancer replicating itself and infecting other code in the computer system. They can also attach themselves to executable code or mimic a file by creating a copy file with the same name (with a .exe extension).
- Trojans: These are programs that hide within useful programs with malicious purposes. Unlike viruses, a trojan doesn’t replicate itself and it is commonly used to establish a backdoor shortcut to be exploited by other types of attacks.
- Worms: Worms don’t attack the host per se. They are basically self-contained programs that spread across networks and/or computers. They are often installed through email attachments (see phishing), sending a copy of themselves to every contact in the infected computer email list. They are mostly used to overload an email server and achieve a denial-of-service type of attack.
4. Social Engineering
Social engineering is a more “cloak and dagger" tactic that many unscrupulous advertisers use to trick you into revealing information. Rather than using software, they use psychological manipulation to trick users into making security mistakes or giving away sensitive data.
Social engineering is usually combined with any of the above-listed threats to make you click on suspicious links, pseudo-CTAs, etc.
The Three Types of Cybersecurity Measures You Can Implement
Thankfully, there’s a net for any fish and cyber attack prevention is no different. Now that we’ve deconstructed the importance of cybersecurity in business and the different kinds of malicious threats, let’s now see what security systems you can implement today:
1. Network Security
Network security is basically a process of safeguarding your data from any unauthorized access through your computer networks. It includes various software and hardware technologies that act as bouncers preventing entry to anyone or anything not on the list.
Network security is a wall between your network and malicious activity. As a business, you need to protect your network so you’re able to constantly deliver services and meet the demands of both your customers as well as employees.
There are different types of network security:
- Firewalls: These can be software, hardware or a combination of both. A firewall acts as a force field between your internal and external network.
- Email Security: As mentioned, emails are among the most common security breach entry points. Email security prevents any incoming attacks to prevent loss of sensitive data.
- Antivirus and antimalware software: Antimalware programs scan any malware upon entry. They constantly monitor files for anomalies and put them to quarantine to prevent harm.
- App Security: The apps you use to run a business might contain vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cyber attackers to infiltrate your network. Application security fixes these weak points and prevents uninvited guests.
- Data Loss Prevention (DLP): As business owners, you want to ensure your staff doesn’t send sensitive information outside of your network. DLP prevents users from sharing, uploading or forwarding critical information in a risky manner.
2. Information Security
Information Security (InfoSec) is the process of designing and deploying different tools to safeguard your critical business information from disruption, malicious alteration and ultimately, destruction. It is one of the most important aspects of cybersecurity.
InfoSec’s main mission is the confidentiality, integrity and availability (a.k.a. CIA) of your data. It is primarily established to guarantee that only authorized users, apps or systems can access specific information.
These are the types of InfoSec:
- Cloud security: Cloud security focuses on the vulnerabilities coming from IoT services and shared cloud environments.
- Cryptography: Much like in conventional warfare espionage, this is a process of obscuring sensitive data where only users with the correct encryption key can access said data. It also retains the confidentiality abilities and integrity of content in transit and storage.
- Vulnerability management: This is a process where the digital environment is scanned for any vulnerabilities, such as unpatched or outdated software. For dynamic and/or growing businesses that are perpetually adding new users, services, products or updates, this is a crucial factor to consider investing into.
- Incident response: It is essentially a digital equivalent of real-life first responders. The incident response plan is essential to contain threats and ensure your network can be restored with the least amount of damage. It also prevents further security breaches.
3. End-User Behavior
When it comes to cybersecurity measures, you should always start with educating yourself and the members of your organization. As a user, you should know that no amount of security tools can help you if you’re reckless. Users are always the first line of defense against cyberattacks and many security issues can be prevented and addressed by users.
Answering Why Is Cybersecurity Important
Knowledge of security best practices will help your organization avoid unwanted exposure to any type of cyber threat, especially nowadays, when we live in an exponentially growing digital world that’s prone to cyber attacks.
Employing cybersecurity is crucial for the protection of all data categories from theft and/or damage.
Cybersecurity is responsible for:
- Protecting your business
- Maintaining productivity
- Saving money and resources
- Boosting your credibility
- Making your digital platforms safe and stable
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