Given the collective shadow that Covid-19 and Brexit cast on the business world last year, you could be forgiven for assuming that this duo would be noted as having the most significant impact on the daily operations of businesses during 2021. The reality, however, is less clear-cut and for those organisations struggling to maintain the security of their endpoints, more concerning.
As revealed in our Mid-Market Report, the organisations we spoke to selected an increase in cyber attacks not only has having the biggest impact on their operations last year (32.33%), but they also predicted security intrusions to be the most significant challenge of 2022 (29.33%).
This shouldn’t be too surprising; the pandemic forced many organisations to adopt Cloud services and collaboration tools without comprehensive systems auditing, leaving gaps in security that remain open for exploitation. Despite these clear admissions on the impacts of cyber attacks, the pressing need to strengthen cyber security does not yet seem to be getting the attention that it desperately needs. Specifically, our report noted that:
- 47% of respondents felt their IT budget was insufficient for their needs
- The same percentage of respondents (only 22%) selected security investment and operational cost reductions in their investment plans for 2022
These statistics suggest an impasse exists within organisational infrastructure - the need to strengthen cyber security is recognised, but the acknowledgement that IT budgeting does not match requirements sits alongside it. Perhaps that’s understandable; the aforementioned combination of Brexit and Covid-19 has certainly wreaked its own havoc on the marketplace over the last several years and few organisations have remained financially untouched by their impacts.
But this doesn’t so much miss the point as it does brazenly ignore it – organisations of all sizes cannot and should not underestimate the impact that cyber attacks can have, and a failure to do so can prove incredibly costly. The question should not be ‘can we afford to strengthen our security?’, it should be ‘can we afford not to?’.
What is happening?
To fully grasp the need for a robust security operation means recognising the ever-evolving nature, scale and scope of cyber attacks, starting with why we’ve seen such a pronounced rise in incidents over the last few years.
- Adoption of remote working has increased security breaches as organisations allow their software/applications to be accessed from anywhere, and not just via VPN or office connection
- The NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) reported a 7.5% increase in cyber attacks in the year leading up to last August
- Four in ten businesses reported a cyber security breach in 2020, with one in five losing money, data or separate assets as a result and a third negatively impacted, according to the UK Government
- IBM reported that the average cost of a data breach rose from $3.86m to $4.24m in 2021, with remote working increasing the cost of these breaches when it was a factor
- Ransomware attacks in the UK have doubled in the last year, according to the country’s spy agency
To summarise, we’re operating in a world in which cyber attacks are becoming both more frequent and more costly, with the advent of cloud migration meaning that organisations are playing catch up when it comes to strengthening their security infrastructure.
How is it happening?
So, why are cyber criminals finding increasing success when it comes to infiltrating networks? The popular, archetypal mental picture of a digital savant penetrating complex systems is never far away when you think of a hacker, but the reality is that organisations are making life all too easy for cyber criminals to get the information they need, thanks to simple passwords and the lack of basic multi-factor authentication making network intrusion a simple prospect for the wrong people. The victims of cyber crime aren’t just businesses, organisations or charities, either; any device connected to the internet can be targeted.
The effects of a successful attack go beyond simple intrusion and can have significant, wide-ranging and long-term impacts. Organisations need to be wary of:
- Financial damage
- Data theft
- Disruption to daily operations
- Reputational damage
- Losing customers and potentially sales
When considering cyber attacks, we must remember the bigger picture - visualise the potential impact of the intrusion as a whole, not as a minor inconvenience to service operations that will be forgotten about the following day.
What can organisations do to protect themselves?
The answer is simple: invest, invest, invest! Adopting stricter password criteria, installing a VPN and comprehensive staff training on best practices can all have a significant impact on the strength of an organisation’s security, but proper investment in security services is essential to effectively combat the threat posed by modern cyber attacks. They're a question of ‘when’, rather than ‘if’.
Effective security is vital, not just for your own interests, but those of your customers and clients, giving everyone peace of mind that if the worst does happen, data and information will remain safe and unharmed. It means taking preventative, proactive steps to limit the potential impact of an attack before it even occurs.
What to consider with your security
We’ve detailed the issues and problems that organisations face when it comes to cyber security – what sort of solutions can be utilised to protect you?
Managed Security Services
• Get comprehensive visibility of threats and activity across different networks and cloud environments with ThreatDetect Managed SOC
• Protect your users and endpoints with Endpoint Security
• Provide multi-layered protections against malware and threats on your servers with Infrastructure Security
• Get detailed risk analysis of threats with Vulnerability Management
• Simulate campaigns to test your employees’ attitude to security with Phishing Campaigns
• Validate security controls and identify gaps in your defences with Application & Infrastructure Penetration Testing
• Guard your applications and systems with DDoS Protection
• Protect your network from intrusions with a Managed Firewall Platform
• Assess your configurations and identify improvements with Firewall Configuration Audit
As you can see from the above, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to keeping your organisation secure in 2022, but that’s the point; in today’s world, security has to be a necessity, not an afterthought. Whatever the size of your organisation or your sector, being able to carry out your daily operations safe in the knowledge that your data, information and systems are safe is invaluable.
Node4’s Security Operations Centre can offer comprehensive protection for organisations of all sizes. Talk to us today and find out more about how we can help to keep you, your data and your operations secure.