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How Cybersecurity Became a Business Issue, Not an IT Issue

Bryan Badger avatar
Written by Bryan Badger posted on Oct 26, 2018

It wasn’t long ago that words like “malware”, “firewall”, and “cybersecurity monitoring” never strayed beyond the walls of an organization’s IT department. Hackers and viruses were the exclusive domain of the techie, operating quietly in the shadows while the business chugged along in blissful detachment.

Those days are gone, and the nation at large is beginning to realize it.

More Business Technology Means More Cyber Risk

As technology embeds itself deeper into the day-to-day operations of our businesses (and our lives), so too do we become more reliant on it functioning.

This is the double-edged sword of progress. We enjoy the conveniences and productivity boosts of tech, but the dangers of a technology failure are increased manifold thanks to that dependence.

In other words, if something goes wrong with your office network, there’s a good chance that your entire operation will grind to a halt. The sales and marketing team can’t access their CRM. Cloud-based software can’t be used. The VoIP phone system is down.

And what if ransomware is involved and your entire organization is locked out of critical files?

When cybersecurity fails, it’s far more than an IT problem. The life of the business itself is on the line.

Everyone Plays a Role in Modern Cybersecurity

Our world is incredibly interconnected, and it only takes one weak link for a cyber threat to cause harm. This is why cybersecurity is becoming more of a communal matter than ever before, with many individuals, organizations, and manufacturers finding themselves responsible for the cyber risk of others.

Your IT department or IT service provider still plays a huge part in mitigating cyber risk, of course. As the authority in these matters, your IT specialist should be spearheading cybersecurity initiatives which keep pace with steadily increasing threats (measures such as 24/7 monitoring through a Security Operations Center and complete plans for response and remediation of any detected threats).

The onus of cyber risk awareness extends well beyond the IT staff, however. Within an organization, it’s important that leadership appreciates the seriousness of cyber risk so that budgets can be set accordingly.

All staff members carry their own responsibilities as well. Numerous organizations have been infiltrated from the bottom up. Using techniques such as phishing, hackers are able to compromise even the largest companies simply because an employee clicked a link in an email.

It also falls upon government agencies and regulatory committees to establish guidelines for minimizing cyber risk. (Of course, the responsibility of heeding these guidelines comes back to the business owners.)

Business Interruption is Not a Worse-Case Scenario...It’s Expected

Business owners are beginning to take cyber risk more seriously, which is good news for the global community as a whole. As more leaders wake up to the fact that cybersecurity is a necessity, more gaps in our collective defenses are being sealed up.

It is unfortunate that so many executives and business owners had to wake up to this new reality in the harshest ways possible -- often through the loss of their business -- but the lessons they’ve learned have inspired countless others to take action.

We now know that, without proper security in place, Business interruption is almost guaranteed. We know what steps should be taken to prevent catastrophic downtime. We have the tools and the expertise to prevent these things from happening.

But cybersecurity is a bit like medicine. You can know what vaccines prevent an illness, and you can know what medications will alleviate your symptoms... but none of these treatments work if you don’t use them.

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