The growing importance of computers to the economy and to our daily lives means that the importance of cybersecurity is also growing. It’s also getting more difficult, both because the systems are getting more complicated and because the human element is getting bigger. Security technologies are improving to meet the challenge, but they can only do their jobs if everyone has a basic understanding of digital security so that they don’t cause any breaches by accident.
1- Attacks are Expensive
Cybersecurity is expensive, but it can save money in the long run. Lloyd’s of London studied the cost of digital attacks and found that a single attack can cost almost one hundred million dollars. Some of that comes from immediate damage, such as the cost of notifying customers of the breach and fixing the damaged system. Lost revenue and other costs will continue to pile up over time, and they can cost just as much as the immediate damage. Not every business will lose that much money to every attack, but all of them have the potential to lead to serious losses.
2- Humans are the Weak Point
Security systems are only as strong as their weakest link. When it comes to digital security, that link is usually the human element. Attacks that don’t exploit software vulnerabilities usually rely on gathering passwords from humans. That can mean using a brute force solution to guess them, but it can also mean manipulating people into giving up their passwords. The only way to prevent this is to make sure that everyone who uses a system understands and practices good security habits.
3- Password Managers Help
Good passwords are generally long and complicated. It’s also important not to use a given password for more than one service to minimize damage if it gets leaked. Unfortunately, those traits make the passwords hard to remember, so most people use and reuse bad passwords. Fortunately, programs called password managers can store passwords for individuals so that they only need to remember one. This provides protection against most of the dangers of reusing passwords, although there is always the risk that an attacker will breach the manager itself to get all of the passwords at once.
4- Businesses Fail to Defend Themselves
Many digital attacks take advantage of flaws in software. That means that attackers should have a very limited window in which to attack before a patch gets released. Unfortunately, releasing a patch is not always the same as fixing a problem. The patch can only do its job if it has been installed on a system, and relatively few organizations manage to stay up to date. Michael Siegal of MIT found that more than eighty percent of all security breaches happen after a patch that fixes the problem has been available for more than a year.
5- Clouds Are More Secure
Popular wisdom says that cloud software is more vulnerable to attack than traditional programs, but that is far from the truth. In fact, cloud software has two major advantages that make it more secure than other computing systems. The biggest benefit is that it is easy to update cloud systems. They are always connected to the Internet, and it can be updated a s single unit instead of requiring a manual update for every system that could access the data. Most cloud systems also come with relatively easy access to security professionals compared to traditional programs, largely because they are usually services that are rented rather than programs which are purchased. That means that small companies can get tech support for them even if they can’t afford a dedicated IT professional for their staff.
6- Systems Change
Cybersecurity is always changing because technology is always changing. Security professionals need to adapt to each new device or storage methods as it appears. In many cases, they can only do so by tracking vulnerabilities as attackers expose them and learning how to make sure that the breach never happens again. Ultimately, there is no such thing as a completely foolproof security system, and vulnerabilities will always appear. Fortunately, good security practices can form a solid foundation for preventing most attacks and limiting the damage from the few that can get through.