Sure, we hear about hacks when they happen to Sony, Target, or the federal government, but those are just a small percentage of the total that actually occur annually. Enterprises are hacked all the time and those numbers continue to grow; in 2015, the number of cyber attacks each month was higher than the months of the previous year (other than in October), and it’s expected those figures will rise again this year. While we’ve seen a reduction in cybercrime since the advent of more secure technologies (and companies starting to take security more seriously) this only means the hacks we’re seeing come from more accomplished hackers—and more and more of these highly skilled cyber hackers are born every day.
Why Are Enterprises Being Hacked?
The majority of cyber-attacks in 2015 were motivated by cybercrimes like SQLi and website defacement, with an increasing number of those attacks being targeted (versus 2014). A “hack” can be something as juvenile as posting an obscene banner on a website’s homepage, or as nefarious as stealing millions of dollars’ worth of high-profile information. Organizations, governments, and industries were at the top of the priority list for 2015 hackers—making it imperative for industries to batten down the hatches in 2016.
Security Should be at Top of Mind
Enterprises are hacked because they’re vulnerable, and perhaps, at times, too cavalier about their security. While CEOs and CIOs say security is their top priority, many companies really have no clue if they’re secure, and they lack the internal resources required to stay safe. With so much of a company’s valuable information stored in the cloud, it’s no longer acceptable for companies not to continuously tweak their security plans to keep their employees, customers, and ideas safe.
Every business—not just industry bigwigs—needs a security plan. We need to think more about who we hire and how we design our networks to ensure security; as more and more technological advances go live, our systems are more vulnerable than ever before.
The Threat Hackers Pose
It’s obvious to most people that a hacker can compromise delicate company information or unleash a bug onto a device—but did you know they could also cause devastating collateral damage? The rise of IoT and ubiquitous devices now connected digitally across the Internet opened the doors to more forms of cyber-attacks and more platforms to hack. Hackers want to intrude on an enterprise for a number of reasons—to steal sensitive high-security company information, snoop on big data, perform identity theft, record personal information—even unleash ransomware. No device is safe from the threat of cyber hackers.
Can We Stop These Attacks?
We can’t totally rid cyberspace of hackers (yet), but we can do our best to make their lives difficult. Protecting your enterprise against intrusions can be as simple or as in-depth as you want to make it. It’s a myth that security issues can only be dealt with by tech’y IT people or Geek Squad-style professionals. Today’s enterprises should be more personally involved with their company’s security instead of assuming it’s being handled somewhere in the dark depths of an IT closet. It’s foolish to take your enterprise’s security for granted. Instead, cultivate a security team with a passion for your business, and hire IT people you trust.
My advice? Stay on top of security and cybercrime trends, and put into practice some (if not all) of the following:
- Consider sourcing talent you already have working for your organization. They don’t need to be security experts—you can benefit from their natural abilities and train them on specifics.
- Keep in close contact with your security staff. Ask for regular updates, and make sure your IT teams are also as on top of the latest security developments as you are, as well as educated when it comes to in changes in the field. Help your IT department stay invested in your business, and, if you use a managed services provider, provide opportunities for your internal teams to connect with your external vendors.
- Be innovative when it comes to cyber security: Consider collaborating with universities, which are fostering awareness in their students about the intricacies of IT security. Create security internships, and snag the best and brightest up and comers in the field. Investing in future talent is the best way to ensure long-lasting enterprise security, and overall success.
Even though cyber-attacks are projected to rise in 2016, you can stay protected by being proactive—getting involved in your company’s security plan, keeping up with the latest cyber-attack trends, and investing careful time and energy into your tech team and security strategies. The ROI is worth it—after all, you can’t place a dollar figure on the amount of damage a determined hacker can cause to your company.
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Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.