Cyber security has become a major concern for businesses today. Over the past 5 years, the threat landscape has shifted dramatically. As large companies implement increasingly expensive and sophisticated security solutions, cyber attackers have shifted their focus to weaker links within the supply chain. In fact, over 60% of cyber attacks now cause disruption by focusing on the intended target’s supply chain.
Why would anyone want to attack me?
It is because of this new method of attack that small and mid-sized companies need to shift their mentality from ‘why would anyone want to attack me?’ to ‘how can we assure our customers that we are taking proactive steps to protect our combined interests.’
Cyber threats can devastate companies by compromising security and damaging customer trust overnight. There is now much more at stake than serious financial loss. To protect sensitive data and assets in this climate, all companies need to be implementing an effective cybersecurity program – Not least, SMEs, of which 60% go out of business within 6 months of a cyber attack!
Working proactively toward a recognised cybersecurity certification is a significant first step in reducing cyber risk whilst also providing a competitive edge. Let’s take a look at three major benefits of a cyber security program.
Proactively manage updating compliance
The interconnectedness of global supply chains has led to governments, businesses and customers requiring proof that a potential partner is compliant with the industry-relevant security standards. Without this proof, companies can be denied access to key markets and opportunities. An example of this is any company that finds itself within a UK Government supply chain must be Cyber Essentials Plus accredited.
In some cases, poor compliance efforts can have more tangible financial consequences for a company. For example, companies must prove compliance with the PCI-DSS standard in order to accept credit card payments – an essential function of consumer-facing industries like retail. Failure to do so can result in losses of up to £80,000 per month without including legal and reputational costs.
Any company that transacts within the EU will be familiar with the EU GDPR requirement – one that carries heavy penalties and a zero-tolerance approach to non-compliance. What’s more, many of these standards and regulations are continuously being updated. Proactive awareness has become mandatory to avoid hefty fines and potential personal liability.
Win more business
While not all companies must adhere to compliance requirements, the ability to demonstrate adherence to industry-standard frameworks is a major competitive advantage. Think of certification as being akin to a stamp of approval for potential customers, investors and partners to know you are trustworthy and secure.
In any transaction, be it personal or business, a stakeholder requires an assurance that their data, funds and reputation will be secure. Ensuring a guarantee has become essential in the modern era. This is further enforced by the vast amounts of product/service substitutes available should the expected standard not be maintained for every transaction.
In a business context, certification with internationally recognised frameworks provides a level of assurance that can be a differentiating factor for any company looking to distinguish itself from its competition. Whether a certification to a standard, proof of security controls or a validated demonstration of a mature cyber security framework, providing these types of assurances will result in winning more business. If you expect third parties to keep your information and data secure, it will be expected of you too!
Reduce the risk of a cyber attack
The average cost of a cyber breach now sits at £3.2 million without taking into consideration the cost of reputational damage. So, the return on investment (ROI) for the money spent on implementing security controls can quite easily be justified.
Adopting a cybersecurity framework provides you with a robust control network that protects your business’ critical infrastructure and high-value assets. This control set can be used as a tool to drastically reduce the chance of a successful cybersecurity breach.
It’s also worth considering that cyber insurance providers look to regulatory best practices when evaluating their clients’ claims. There are many recent cases where claims have been denied by insurance providers because a company didn’t have an acceptable cyber security program in place. This would be comparable to a car insurance provider denying a claim because the car didn’t have brakes.
By adopting and implementing security standards, companies can avoid the possibility of a cyber liability insurance claim being denied. In addition, by providing evidence of proactively managing security risk, insurance providers may also be able to reduce cyber liability insurance premiums.
Don’t bury your head in the sand
As the threat landscape changes and cybercriminals looking to target companies across the entire supply chain. Therefore, dealing effectively with cyber threats is something that no business can afford to ignore, irrespective of size. However, it is possible to take effective steps without breaking the bank. The earlier you take action, the less likely you are to be faced with substantial and unexpected costs that pose a risk to your business.
Furthermore, implementing a security program will not only drastically reduce financial loss from a cyber attack but will also increase revenues by helping win more business. Cyber risk is a hot topic for every business and staying ahead of the curve has now become a board room requirement.