A growing number of businesses are switching to a “digital core,” where everything that can be digitalized is done so. While this is clearly a good thing in terms of productivity, it makes organizations significantly more exposed to cyber-attacks. It requires a paradigm shift in how CEOs and business owners view cybersecurity and its prime objective. Many people believe that cybersecurity’s main purpose is to mitigate risk and eliminate the threat posed by viruses and hackers. Repositioning cybersecurity as what it truly is: a growth facilitator, on the other hand, will help your company enormously. When not properly cared for, it can also act as a growth inhibitor. Industries must adjust to this shift to a digital center, and a large part of that adaptation is dependent on their capacity to deal with the specific challenges of doing business in a digital environment, i.e. the quality of their cybersecurity strategy. Countless consumer products have evolved into digital offerings, and you, as a business owner, must take precautions to guarantee that these products and services are delivered and executed successfully. And if you’re not going to a digital center, you should be concerned. In some way or another, almost every business is responsible for managing the personal/sensitive information of its customers. Because of the frequency of security risks, organizations who have a strong cybersecurity strategy have a competitive advantage in their market (and can advertise as such, not only to consumers but potential business partners).“71 percent of executives responded that concerns about cybersecurity are limiting innovation in their organizations,” according to a Cisco research. They have delayed mission-critical activities owing to cybersecurity issues, over 40% of CEOs polled agreed. As the world becomes more digital, cybersecurity is becoming a fundamental basis on which business models and offers are formed, and it is no longer considered a basic “cost of doing business.” Over 89 percent of CEOs believe that cybersecurity is important for their company’s success. Despite this, Forbes contributor William H. Saito claims that less than half of executive boards participate in the development of security strategy. Companies are more likely to spend the bare minimum on cybersecurity as an IT expense, which, according to Saito, “short-changes the growth potential of the business.” It is critical to executing cybersecurity correctly, and it must be done at the top levels of a business because it affects the entire entity.” Jim Poole, Equinix’s Vice President of Global Ecosystem Development, provides one particularly enlightening observation about the need for better cybersecurity: “Preventing breaches saves not only millions of dollars that could be better spent on growth, but it also saves the time and effort required for mitigation and remediation. It can also provide businesses more confidence when embarking on mission-critical activities involving potentially sensitive or fragile data.”
The following are just a few of the elements of a cybersecurity strategy:
- Employee access to sensitive information and what devices they can use to access company data How will data outside the cloud be managed?
- What information will be shared with third parties and vendors?
- Firewall configuration is important.
- Creating policies for governance
- Verification of the user/device
- Vulnerability assessments and vulnerability test provisions
- In the event of a breach, what should you do?
For business owners who are serious about developing their companies, Poole’s most important point is that as trade shifts to the cloud, “cybersecurity as a separate function should disappear, and become entirely interwoven within the business.”