“We believe that data is the phenomenon of our time. It is the world’s new natural resource, it is the new basis of competitive advantage, and it is transforming every profession and industry. If all of this is true—even inevitable—then cybercrime, by definition, is the greatest threat to every profession, every industry, every company in the world.”
– Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President & CEO of IBM Corp
World War III is in full swing. The underlying threat? Not a foreign military’s volatile missile defense system, nor are accusations of an election interference to blame. In fact, this speculative WWIII involves no physical threat whatsoever.
Cyberwarfare, cyber espionage, cyberattacks, cybercrime—these, among other terms, are sprinkled throughout every blog and headline referring to the single digital headache that has the potential to affect every person, system, and company… Data breaches, and their pervasion from corporations to consumers, continue to saturate the news cycle as digital transformation increasingly defines everything from business processes to routine, day-to-day tasks.
Who’s at Risk?
It’s likely that the high-profile breaches such as Target, Yahoo, Ebay, or the 2016 DNC hack come to mind, after all, these largescale breaches tend to dominate the news cycle. Yet, despite the majority of attention being placed with these big businesses breaches, it’s small to medium sized businesses that are more subject to risk.
Some estimates put small business breaches at 71% of all hacks, while other modest estimates place this number at just under half. Either way you slice it, it’s not just the large businesses that are at risk when it comes to cyber vulnerability.
Whether it’s small and medium-sized companies uncertain of how to combat cyberattacks, or the reward of notoriety and endless data from a large corporation breach – one thing crystal clear: No business is immune to a cyber breach.
What’s the Impact?
What impacts do cyber breaches have on the economy and your business?
The average cost of a data breach now stands at around $4 million, with fallout from a MEGA retailer estimated at $252 million. (considering direct damage and post-disruption to business flow)
Some projections forecast cyberattacks to leave a $2.1 trillion dent in the global economy by 2019 and $6 trillion through 2021.
Theft of private data can leave enterprises vulnerable to fines, penalties, litigation, and private lawsuits, compounding the cost of a breach.
Undermined trust among stakeholders, investors, consumers, and other assets may impact current and future dealings—inspiring claims among speculators that the actual cost of a cyberattack is far greater than current estimates.
These implications have businesses of all sizes allocating unprecedented amounts of resources to cyber defenses through either internal IT departments or third-party data breach vendors, such as incident response firms or Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs).
In fact, according to a recently published whitepaper by Forbes, 69% of senior executives claim digital transformations have forced fundamental changes to modern cybersecurity approaches.
With dismal statistics circling the persistence of cyberwarfare and its resulting financial impact, the price of doing business in the 21st century seems rather… bleak.
And yet… there’s hope.
A Way Forward: Your Cyber Game Plan
Rapidly increasing cybercrimes have encouraged rapidly evolving defense systems and combative techniques. While vulnerability to cyberattacks and espionage is the price of doing business in the age of digital transformation, there are precautions and actions your business can take today, in efforts to strengthen your cyber defenses.
Taking a proactive approach is key in defending your business against trolling black-hat hackers. Here’s three tactics to get you started:
Encrypt Data: At AssureSign we implement best practice processes, such as non-proprietary encryption, rolled based administrative access controls, and password expiration protocols to help safeguard eSignature data.
Devise a Plan: Devise a cyber defense strategy that makes sense for your business. Practice it, stick with it, and make certain your employees and administrators are aware of their roles.
Do Your Research: Conduct research on all third-party vendors your business uses. Your cyber defense strategy is futile if third party vendors—rich with your company’s data—aren’t making every attempt to protect their own processes.
Again, vulnerability to cyberattacks are an inevitable price of doing business in the digital age – Similar to owning a home. The possibilities of a break are real. But there are certain protocols you take to decrease those chances, like locking your door or installing a security cam. Our goal, as well as our responsibility to our customers is to provide you the tools and resources you need to exercise caution in planning for a potential digital break in.