The first step to ensure cybersecurity success is understanding how it works.
Developing a solution to a problem is difficult when the issue is clouded with confusion. And this is the case with cybersecurity. It’s rare now to open a newspaper, scroll through a social media feed or even turn on the television without having the topic of cybersecurity surfacing. The number of risks threatening the safety and security of both individuals and organizations is growing and, with it, an urgency to implement ways to combat them.
Unfortunately, the conversation surrounding cybersecurity seems to be filled with just as many questions as there are answers. Who, exactly, is at risk? Which cyberthreats cause the biggest disruptions? What challenges must organizations overcome to prevent attacks and ensure protection?
Business Insider recently featured an infographic that summarizes the answers to some of these pertinent questions. The insight, which is outlined below, can help people better understand the current state of cybersecurity, why it is such a serious issue and what steps can be taken to enhance IT security.
“When it comes to cybersecurity, there seem to be just as many questions as there are answers.”
What is cybersecurity and who does it affect? Cybersecurity refers to the processes and technologies used to safeguard computer and information systems and IT assets from hackers and disruptions. This includes both hardware and software, as well as all the sensitive data and information comprised in them. And while a primary goal of cybersecurity is to prevent physical damage or theft, it also includes taking preventative measures to secure the channels of networked access.
Put simply, cybersecurity affects everyone. Anyone – from individuals and small companies to government agencies and global enterprises – using a computer, digital or mobile device, as well as any other system or process connected to the Internet of Things, may fall victim to a cyberattack.
Large corporations, especially those that deal with financial information, are at increased risk for disruption.
Where, why and when do attacks occur? As more business processes become computerized, it is giving hackers increasing channels to infiltrate. Malware is often targeted to find vulnerabilities in IT infrastructures that are not regularly or adequately monitored and maintained. This is why there have been a number of recent high-profile cases in which hospitals and health care organizations were victims of data breaches; hackers aim for systems that hold a lot of financial-related and sensitive data but aren’t thoroughly protected. According to Business Insider, some of the main places where cyberattacks can occur include computer software, cloud storage, mobile devices and operating systems and SQL servers. In order to properly defend an IT system, you need to know what you’re protecting against.
It is important to consider that, while the various methods used by hackers to penetrate a computer network may be similar, their motivations for doing so can differ. For example, a criminal may want to break into the IT system of a bank for financial gain, whereas the reasons he or she has for breaching a military network may be for intelligence-related purposes. Understanding the motivation of cybercriminals can help an organization develop the appropriate plan of protection against potential threats.
How can (and should) cybersecurity measures be implemented? Business Insider revealed that, between 2015 and 2020, about $655 billion will be spent on cybersecurity investments, with $386 billion going to personal computers, $172 billion being used for IoT devices and $113 billion for mobile. Furthermore, the source pointed out that the top areas where enterprises are prioritizing protection include their corporate networks and mobile devices, as well as adopting tools and strategies for safeguarding databases and data while it is in motion.
“As cyber threats evolve, professionals need to adapt their education on the issue.”
At the basic level, cybersecurity involves firewalls and encryption strategies that make it more difficult for hackers to penetrate the critical IT infrastructure of an organization. But relying on traditional technical security solutions is no longer enough to defend against the dynamic and rapidly evolving threats littering the digital landscape today. As Jason Sachowski recently pointed out in an article for Dark Reading, many businesses are focusing too much on preventing attacks, rather than implementing proactive protection measures.
Sachowski explained that a major cybersecurity issue plaguing organizations is a lack of preparedness. To avoid this, he recommended companies enhance communication so all parties throughout the business understand what the risks are and can appropriately collaborate in mitigating them. In addition, Sachowski added that corporations should leverage the most reliable tools and sources of information that can help them best prepare for cyberattacks.
And, given the urgency for organizations to embed cybersecurity throughout their operations (both now and in the future), one of the wisest investments that can be made is in IT security training and development.
Cybersecurity certifications at The National Cybersecurity Institute, we understand that, in order to effectively combat the growing threats of IT security, businesses need professionals who possess the expertise, skill and know-how to navigate the complex world of cybersecurity. That is why we offer an extensive and dynamic list of programs and training courses, including the (ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). The best way to ensure your organization will be safe threats in the future is to start developing your cybersecurity education right now.