The last year has changed the face of cybersecurity, presenting new, complex challenges for businesses as they shifted their technology infrastructure to support an “everywhere workplace.” For the last 18 years, October has been recognized as Cybersecurity Awareness Month — 30 days focused on increasing awareness about the importance of cybersecurity across our nation and empowering Americans with the “resources and information they need to be safer and more secure online.” This year, the month holds a different meaning, especially when the FBI’s Internet Crime Report revealed a shocking 791,790 cybercrime complaints were filed in 2020 alone.
This year, worldwide IT spending is projected to reach $4.2 trillion, an increase of 8.6% from 2020 and an astonishing number that has certainly raised eyebrows in the boardroom. However, as companies continue to invest so heavily in digital transformation and IT initiatives, more risk is generated, and therefore, more protection is inevitably required to ensure networks remain secure.
It’s vital to keep in mind budget is not the only discussion required. Leadership is now tasked with understanding how security impacts the overall health of an organization. Beyond cost, it’s determining unknown variables ahead of time, educating employees and ensuring they understand their role in protecting corporate data — all of which, in turn, will empower tech teams to focus on more critical work. A key driver? Communication, especially with employees working from everywhere.
Here are three ways for leadership to re-frame their thinking on cybersecurity, in October and beyond:
Cybersecurity Is Corporate Culture
Cybersecurity isn’t a password policy, it isn’t a software stack and it certainly isn’t a one-hour compliance training through an online portal. Executives must stop thinking about security as an initiative and begin to define ways to weave it into the fabric of corporate culture.
Cyber Hygiene Is Essential
Many of the world’s worst data breaches have been caused by a lack of basic cyber hygiene — the measures that are put into place to maintain the basic health of software and devices. While managing patches and software updates might sound like mundane table stakes, executives are too often disconnected from the everyday, tactical measures that protect the business from phishing attacks, ransomware and malware.
CISOs and CTOs are charged with bridging this gap by implementing technology, procedures and processes that unify operations and security teams to have a holistic, unified view of all devices on the network, regardless of where they are located. The perfect system is worthless if it’s not adhered to — checks and balances must be in place to ensure cyber hygiene doesn’t lapse and create unmanageable vulnerabilities.
Power To The IT Department
Let’s face it: IT teams should be considered heroes during the Covid-19 pandemic, from managing large, global teams that experienced technical issues while working remotely to expediting digital transformation initiatives that would normally take years, IT teams also kept critical industries up and running — from healthcare and retail to government systems. Last year, IT served as the backbone for many organizations, helping to keep businesses open and employees or customers connected.
It’s time leadership recognizes their capabilities and significance moving forward. They’re more than just the tech team organizations call on for a computer fix; they’re critical. Rather than applying their capabilities to mundane tasks, the IT team’s high-value time should be re-prioritized to focus on more significant initiatives that drive impact and contribute to the company’s bottom line. This includes evaluating and managing the right security technology across an organization — artificial intelligence, IT service desk tasks, etc. — to drive substantial workplace efficiencies or enhance the employee or customer experience securely. These critical business components drive tremendous value, internally and externally, positioning an organization to deliver stronger quarterly and yearly results.
Although October is focused on cybersecurity, it’s evident this topic requires an ongoing discussion and assessment year-round. Bad actors continue to undermine networks regularly, and with technology use increasing and the dispersed workforce here to stay, it’s time leadership reconsiders how their organization and most expensive assets — employees and customers — remain protected.
As your business grows, safeguarding the applications and systems it relies on involves a unique approach that balances accessibility with cybersecurity. At Raptor IT Consultants, our mission is to establish a foundation for your network resources that empowers users to work efficiently, while offering scalable, managed IT services that complement any business model; affordably. #raptoritnetwork