The threat of successful cyberattacks is one of the most serious business risks companies of all sizes and industries face. Cyber threats are a high-level risk for companies and IT executives, and they should invest in an effective cybersecurity program for their companies. Since the first computer viruses appeared in the 1970s and the Morris worm became the first major internet-based attack in 1988, the volume and sophistication of cyberattacks have increased substantially. Additionally, the number of devices connected to the internet and corporate networks has skyrocketed in recent decades. The reliance on IT systems for routine business processes has increased in recent years, owing in part to corporate digital transformation projects. A single successful attack can be catastrophic with the potential to expose personal information, disrupt companies’ operations, disable critical infrastructure, and physically harm people.
Recognizing the importance of an effective cybersecurity, enterprise executives in numerous companies have prioritized it, looking to implement more strongest policies, procedures, and technologies to defend against all types of cyber threats, including data breaches, ransomware attacks, and phishing attacks. For the third year in a row, the “2024 Focus on the Future” report from a software vendor listed cybersecurity and data security as the top risk area among risk management and internal audit executives who were surveyed. More than 80% of the 453 respondents ranked it first in terms of projected audit efforts in 2024. According to a “2024 Global Trust Insights” survey, mitigating cyber risk was second among the 3,876 companies and IT leaders polled, trailing only managing digital and technological risks. These perspectives are driving up cybersecurity budgets. A consulting and market research company projected that the overall spending on security and risk management by global user companies will reach $215 billion in 2024, a 14.3% rise over the $188.1 billion estimated for 2023.
Why Companies Must Have Strong Cybersecurity to Succeed
The following criteria demonstrate why having effective cybersecurity is an important component of doing business:
Costs and Consequences of Cybercrimes
The financial repercussions of cybercrime are astounding. Here are some overall figures:
There’s an endless list of cybersecurity incidents. One example is a ransomware attack on MGM Resorts International in September 2023 used social engineering techniques to obtain access to privileged user accounts cost the hotel company an estimated $100 million and disrupted clients’ room access, casino gaming, and other services. MGM stated that its cybersecurity insurance policy would cover all expenditures, but it also revealed that the threat operators obtained personal information on some clients, including driver’s licenses, Social Security, and passport numbers. The same month, Caesars Entertainment was targeted similarly. According to a major newspaper, it paid a $15 million ransom and reported that the threat operators stole sensitive personal information from clients. Caesars stated in an SEC filing that it took steps to ensure that the stolen data was deleted by the unauthorized threat operator.
Another example is the 2021 ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, which caused gas supply outages in numerous US states and cost the pipeline operator $4.4 million in ransom payments, which the United States Department of Justice eventually recovered some of the money. A.P. Moller-Maersk, a shipping company in Denmark, sustained losses of up to $300 million after a 2017 malware attack shutting down the systems used to manage the global shipping terminals. When companies’ cybersecurity defenses are breached, it often confronts a long list of costs as it looks to combat the attacks, restore compromised systems, and recover from the incident. Companies should budget for outside technical support, internal and external legal counsel, data breach notification costs, regulatory fines, and the required staff time. Additionally, companies will have expenditures resulting from lost sales and business opportunities. Companies’ reputations with clients could also suffer, which can lead to extra lost revenue in the future. The costs and consequences of cyberattacks could potentially bankrupt companies, particularly those lacking the resources and reserves to weather the incidents’ aftermath. With small companies, one cyberattack can take them out.
Effective Cybersecurity Can Benefit Companies
The consequences of cyberattacks have compelled numerous company leaders, including directors, CEOs, CFOs, other senior company executives, CIOs, and CISOs to prioritize improving their companies’ security posture. According to a 2023 Global Future of Cyber Survey from a professional services company, 70% of more than 1,000 cybersecurity decision-makers claimed security problems were on their board’s agenda either monthly or quarterly. Additionally, 86% stated that cybersecurity activities had significantly improved at least one critical business priority, including customer trust, brand reputation, and operational stability. The findings reflect a shift in CEOs’ mindset, with the cybersecurity program now viewed as an enabler of companies’ operations rather than a backstop for preventing losses. It’s the perspective companies must have when it comes to cybersecurity allowing them to do things they couldn’t do before to be more efficient, save money and be more productive. One example is a company building a self-service portal for its customers, however, it’s only possible if the company has suitable security procedures in place to verify users and protect their data.
Key Components of an Effective Cybersecurity Plan
There’s no single standard for what constitutes an effective cybersecurity program, and each company must choose its level of protection. It includes notions like risk appetite, risk tolerance, and the amount of residual risk that company executives are ready to take. If the companies are comfortable identifying and managing the risks, and the risks left on the table to fit their risk profile, then the companies have a good program. Additionally, companies must identify crucial systems and assets, and understand the specific cyber threats they’re most likely to face, to invest in the necessary people, processes, and technology to reduce security risks to an acceptable level. Creating a cybersecurity plan is a continuous process since things change all the time. Other important aspects of developing a good cybersecurity strategy include the following:
Tips on How to Implement and Manage Cybersecurity Programs
To establish an effective cybersecurity program, consider the following best practices:
As we begin 2024, companies must remain vigilant of the latest threat landscape and understand the importance of having an effective cybersecurity program. SpearTip’s service offerings were created with client journeys in mind. Whether companies have never utilized any cybersecurity services, or they’re the most thorough organization in the world, SpearTip has solutions to meet your specific needs. Advisory services provide a proactive approach to understanding your network vulnerabilities, ShadowSpear provides constant eyes on the glass to respond to active threats, and Incident Response helps your organization get back into a fully operational state following a cyberattack. Our Advisory Services are your solution to safeguard and counter complex cyber threats. Our team is equipped to address security issues, including ransomware, business email compromise, and insider threats. By identifying weak points in your system and addressing them, we continually work towards improving your security posture. SpearTip’s engineers and analysts within our 24/7/365 Security Operations Center utilize the ShadowSpear Platform to respond to active threats by continuously monitoring your environment. The SOC is built to relieve the burden of cybersecurity from your team by acting and informing your organization. Our Security Operations Center remains staffed 24/7/365, working in a continuous investigative cycle to respond to unwarranted intrusions at a moment’s notice. Within minutes of engagement, SpearTip can respond to the breach and reclaim networks within hours. Then, we deliver a detailed report for comprehensive understanding.
If your company is experiencing a breach, call our Security Operations Center at 833.997.7327 to speak directly with an engineer.