Good cyber security is becoming increasingly important for most companies in the UK, irrespective of the goods that they trade in, or the type of customer that they deal with. Digital systems are now integrated into almost every aspect of a given business's day-to-day processes - from the till systems that are used to process transactions, right through to the databases that are used to maintain lists of customers and their respective purchases. If they’re not protected properly, all of these systems are vulnerable to infiltration and attack from sophisticated criminals and online activists, many of whom make a habit of probing digital frameworks for any hint of vulnerability on a daily basis.
Robust cyber security doesn't just protect your business from malicious attacks though; companies that take steps to safeguard the data that they rely on, and minimise the risk of cyber security problems occurring, also find that they have insulated themselves from the catastrophic consequences of accidents, and improved productivity by reducing the chances of their digital systems failing due to human error, or viruses.
Most important of all though, is the legal compliance aspect of good cyber security. As of May 2018, a new data protection regime called the GDPR will be enshrined in EU law. Designed to protect the rights and safety of all European citizens, these laws focus on cybersecurity and business; mandating that businesses take steps to ensure that they are properly protecting their customers data, introducing a series of sanctions for businesses that fail to meet its exacting standards.
Since these new standards are centred on ensuring that good cyber security measures are in place, every business with robust cyber security protocols will find that they have little to do in the way of extra legwork. In this article, we’re going to look at the three main benefits associated with robust and well-thought out cyber security in detail, as follows:
As mentioned above, poor cyber security can inhibit a business’s productivity by allowing data to be wiped or stolen. Files are always at risk of corruption from viruses or random coding errors, and it’s also important to remember that there’s always an element of human error to be considered. If someone unplugs a computer, trips over a cable or accidently deletes a database, companies without the proper safeguards in place may find that hours, or even days of valuable work have vanished in the blink of an eye. Some of the data that modern businesses deal with, such as address lists, transaction histories or financial records will also be impossible to recover once they’ve been lost.
A good cyber security plan mitigates the risk of these accidents happening, and insulates a company from the resultant dip in productivity by:
A good cyber security plan may also use cloud storage to safeguard data. This increasingly popular solution ensures that data isn’t tied to a physical location, and can be recovered from anywhere as long as someone has the right passwords. This can be incredibly useful in the event of a full system failure, or a localised power cut.
Losing a customer's data, or allowing a hacker to steal information about their credit cards, email addresses and physical location can seriously damage the reputation of a business. As this article from CSO shows, companies that do not safeguard customer data are generally regarded as less trustworthy, and less capable, than their competitors, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest than the increasingly digitally-aware public actively steer clear of businesses that have allowed sensitive information to leak into the public domain.
Good cyber security makes it impossible for hackers, hacktivists and cyber criminals to breach a business’s digital systems and, in doing so, ensures that the business in question never develops a reputation for being careless and/or untrustworthy.
Once the EU’s new data protection regime is introduced, any leak of sensitive information also brings the risk of penalties and sanctions. Since these can include fines of up to 4% of annual turnover, there is a pressing need for many businesses to ensure that they never accidently leak or erase sensitive information. Because good cyber security accounts for every possible eventuality, and puts safeguards in place to ensure that sensitive data is not retained for longer than is strictly necessary, a business that meets the cyber security requirements for 2017 & 2018 will be well insulated, and should be able to trade without worrying about legal complications.
To find out more about cyber security and ensure your business approach to it is sound, you may find the Virtual College Introduction to Cyber Security course useful. Click here to find out what this course includes.