The digital economy brings a plethora of benefits in the form of more sophisticated technology and job flexibility.
But these and other benefits also play host to a more ominous challenge: the proliferating threat of cyberattacks.
These attacks, which showed a global increase of 38% in 2022, caused trillions of dollars of damage each year. This massive escalation is attributable to agile hackers and ransomware gangs setting their sights on collaboration tools used by remote workers and academic institutions that shifted to e-learning. Healthcare organisations also came under increasing attack, mainly due to the highly confidential nature of patient data.
Research by network operator Verizon found that almost four in five cybersecurity teams agree that recent changes in working practices have harmed their organisation’s cybersecurity. One-fifth reportedly introduced a policy banning the use of public Wi-Fi.
Recent high-profile cyber incidents
UK postal giant Royal Mail faced a severe six-week disruption after a ransomware cyberattack left it unable to dispatch international mail or parcels at its 11,500 post office branches. The Russia-linked LockBit ransomware gang, who claimed responsibility for the attack, wanted an initial £67 million ransom which Royal Mail rejected. LockBit later halved the amount to decrypt the stolen files, but it’s unclear if Royal Mail paid any of the ransom.
News organisations also seem to be in cyber criminals’ sights. Early in December 2022, The Guardian Media Group fell victim to a ransomware attack that affected part of the company’s technology infrastructure. Fortunately, its online publishing services were largely unaffected, with most of the staff able to work from home as they did during the pandemic.
Further afield, hackers disrupted access to the websites of the Danish central bank and seven private banks in the country in early January this year. The bank and Bankdata, a financial IT solutions provider, were hit by so-called distributed denials of service (DDoS), which direct traffic towards targeted servers in a bid to knock them offline.
Web access was restricted for around 24 hours before the bank restored functionality. The attack did not impact the bank’s other systems or day-to-day operations.
As a result of these and other breaches, information security (infosec) is fast moving up the priority lists of boardroom agendas. Business executives across the entire C-suite ranked cybersecurity as a severe risk.
Many corporate directors also indicate that they would benefit most from enhanced reporting around cybersecurity and technology. A recent McKinsey survey corroborated this sentiment, revealing a staggering $2 trillion market opportunity for cybersecurity solutions providers in the not-too-distant future.
Best-practice information security at your fingertips
Sound information and cybersecurity practices needn’t be a case of constantly putting out fires with expensive resources. Many specialist cybersecurity providers can deliver solutions to meet specific needs without excessive costs.
With the right investment, strong security can provide a fertile breeding ground for business growth rather than being a constant nuisance. ISO 27001, one of the most accepted infosec standards in the world, is fast becoming the norm for best-practice information security. Increasingly, it’s also a minimum entry to a tender or contract renewal.
Widely recognised by regulatory authorities worldwide, the ISO 27001 standard enables companies to take a systematic and proactive approach to manage their data. The framework requires organisations to efficiently collect, organise, store, maintain and utilise data and put relevant controls in place to protect its integrity and confidentiality. This process protects data from unauthorised disclosure while transforming it into a valuable asset that offers enhanced customer insight and operational efficiency.
The benefits of ISO 27001 are significant and easily outweigh the cost of having a professional information management system. Complying with or certifying to the standard will help organisations avoid the costly penalties associated with non-compliance to requirements such as GDPR. It also applies to industry-specific requirements such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, TISAX, and SOC2.
An investment in people
Investing in ISO 27001 isn’t just a matter of securing information but also represents an investment in an organisation’s people. Employee engagement and involvement are crucial components of a successful implementation. By providing regular training and workshops, businesses can help employees understand their role in supporting good security practices and empower them to make informed decisions.
Regular security awareness training fosters a culture of security consciousness within an organisation, which reduces the risk of information breaches. It also demonstrates the value the business places on its employees., boosting morale and job satisfaction.
A continuous journey
Good security, like good business, requires commitment. Cyberattacks and breaches could always happen, so it’s important to remember that information security is a continuous journey, not a destination.
Organisations must continuously evaluate and improve their security practices to stay ahead of evolving threats and regulations. Ultimately, investing in infosec is an investment in a company’s future prosperity.
About the Author
Luke Dash is CEO at ISMS.online. ISMS.online helps hundreds of companies around the world with their information security, data privacy and other compliance needs. The powerful ISMS.online platform simplifies the process of getting compliant with a range of standards and regulations including ISO 27001, GDPR, ISO 27701 and many more. With ISMS.online you can make up to 81% progress from the moment you log in. Our Assured Results Method is there to guide you every step of the way and if you need any guidance then the Virtual Coach or our team of compliance experts are available to help you succeed.
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