Ever since the internet became a mainstay, something used by the layperson for things such as connection, online shopping, and even online businesses, hacking has been on the rise, which in itself precipitates the need for cybersecurity on a personal and professional level.
Phishing, Trojans, ransomware, penetration attacks, Over WIFI attacks, and worms; these are some of the most common strategies used by hackers to gain access to your information or to get you to give them access to your private information.
On a professional level, the need for cybersecurity is even more important because as businesses evolve and adopt technology in all areas of operation, as the need to maintain and protect user databases increases, cyber threats are ever increasing as black hat hackers try to gain access to this invaluable information.
Despite the fact that the internet has become a staple in our lives, many businesses are constantly overlooking the need to hire well-trained cybersecurity professionals and by so doing, are compromising their business and data.
Therefore, you should consider getting your cybersecurity expert in-house.
Well, if you already have an I.T. Department, this means that you already have the personnel with the basic knowledge for what cybersecurity requires. From there, is just a matter of providing the certifications and knowledge to become a cybersecurity specialist.
You should consider doing this—especially if your business has an online presence or a database of any sort—because:
1- The proof is in the numbers: cybercrime is very costly
If you have been following the news, you know that because of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data breach that compromised the personal information of over 87 million users, governments across the world are relooking registration on how companies store and use user data once they have it.
Although this breach became popular only because of its role in the United States presidential election, such breaches are not new.
Data shows that, the Healthcare industry, specifically healthcare data center, had over 112 million breaches. Further, Cisco, a worldwide leader in IT and networking, states that DDoS attacks, a type of attack that drives (more like floods) junk traffic to a database or website with the aim being to overwhelm it and make the system vulnerable, has been on the rapid rise (by about 172%). The company further projects that the attacks will grow by 430% (to about 3.1 million attacks per year).
This very fact, and the fact that cybercrime is very costly, is one of the main reasons why you (and all businesses that have an online presence) need to hire IT management professionals.
The FBI cybercrime division shows that in the first 3 months of 2016, ransomware payments instigated by unethical hackers cost small and medium sized businesses more than $209 million.
In comparison, and to show the true threat that is cybercrimes and why we need to hire cybersecurity professionals, in 2017, this number rose to about $4 billion with hacks such as WannaCry Outbreak, a ransomware attack, affecting computers in more than 150 countries around the world.
Cybersecurity experts, who are very talented hackers in themselves, test out all the vulnerabilities in your system in the same way a black hat hacker would with the only difference being this time, you are paying them to do so and fix the loopholes. By having a professional IT manager on your team, you can guard your systems against exploits unethical hackers would otherwise use to compromise your system and data.
2- The Human Error Factor
If you know anything about computer hacks, especially hacks that exploit vulnerabilities on your system (computer or server) to gain valuable information, you know that in part, hackers cannot gain access to this information without some form of participation on your end.
Take the example of malware, Trojan horse, or worms. For unethical hackers to gain access to your information, they will ask you to download something off the internet or your email inbox, perhaps a document or a piece of software.
Some of them will go as far as trying phishing attacks where they send you an email pretending to be a legitimate company such as PayPal with the intent being to get you to go to a fraudulent site where you can reset your password—these types of attacks are very common.
Now, the human error aspect of cybercrime, and the very reason why we need more cybersecurity experts, comes into play because unethical hackers rely on human errors and mistakes to access sensitive and private information. For instance, opening and downloading a document from an email that your email client has flagged as spam is a mistake; so is falling into the phishing email scam.
Bo Yuan, a Computing professor, did an analysis of threats faced by organization and businesses. His analysis revealed that most businesses are vulnerable to cyberattacks because of the human error and interaction.
For example, human error was the cause of the data breach at Equifax, a breach that gave hackers access to the private and sensitive information of more than 147 million customers and that the CEO of the company estimates will cost upwards of $600 million.
This in itself shows the need for more cybersecurity experts or at the very least, basic cybersecurity knowledge such as making sure the websites you are visiting are safe and genuine.
Sometimes, even looking for https encryption and other signals, are not enough because you have to validate the origin of these certificates.
Cybersecurity professionals have the required knowledge to know which errors can cause data breaches and what to do to protect your system against such potential breaches. When you have a cybersecurity professional on your team or as a key player in your information technology department, you can rest easy in the knowledge that because of the knowledge possessed by this manager, human errors and their effects on your data will be minimal.
In addition, we need more IT management professionals because in most cases, hackers target users who do not work in the IT department but who still use work devices (i.e. BYOD)—hackers know that those who work in the IT department are less likely to make errors that compromise data.
By having a cybersecurity professional on the team, you can ensure that all departments in the business organization know what to do with files they download or at the very least, the minor mistakes that when made, can compromise the business or organization and lead to loses, sometimes even the loss of jobs.
Now that cyberattacks are changing and becoming sophisticated and harder to note, having an IT management professional will ensure that all the departments within your business have the required training they need to keep the company safe.
3- Evolution of Cybercrime and Security
When we think of cybersecurity and cybercrime, we think computers and the likes. While that is the case and indeed, computers are the main culprits of cybercrime, cybersecurity has greatly evolved and now has a far wider application.
Since the first cyberattack sent in 1903, a very simple type of attack where Nevil Maskelyne sent insulting Morse code to disrupt messages sent by Ambrose Fleming, hackers and hacking in general has evolved so much so that today, thanks to improved computing speed, hackers can break down security systems in a matter of minutes if not seconds.
The tools hackers use have also greatly improved as the internet grows. In fact, thanks to concepts such as Freeware and platforms such as GitHub and Linux, hacking tools called “Exploit Kits” are so freely available and plenty that today, 10 year olds can even use “Script Kiddies” to exploit server and PC vulnerabilities from the comfort of their bedroom.
Having a professionally trained cybersecurity expert on your team is the first step to ensuring that not only is your system protected from human errors, but that the network is also safe from the most common exploits. When you have a cybersecurity expert on your team, you can ensure adequate protection of your servers and website since the pro will create a very adept firewall that makes it difficult for hackers to penetrate your systems.
4- Need Specialized Skills
Although the line between security services offered by IT professional and cybersecurity is very thin, managing cybersecurity requires specialized skills that far outpace the security services delivered by traditional IT professionals especially in light of the ever-changing face of cybersecurity and the rapid development of complex hacking tools.
As we have described, the work of a cybersecurity expert is to ensure your systems are safe from cyber attacks. As you can imagine, defending and guarding against such threats requires skills that only a qualified professional who has the requisite foundational knowledge can have.
Without having a professional cybersecurity expert on your team, your system would be vulnerable to emerging technologies, advanced threat vectors, and other changing cybersecurity facets that would leave your business open to attacks and massive fines in cases where your handling of user data fails to meet regulations.
Having an in-house cybersecurity expert on your team, someone with the specialized skills necessary to ensure compliance with standards such as the EU Data Protection Laws ensures data safety and protects your company or business from possible fines in case of data breaches. Essentially, a cybersecurity is like the guard who keeps your data safe and ensures that in cases of data breach, you can protect yourself in any case.
We need more cybersecurity professionals because inasmuch as the internet has become an integral part of our lives, it has also brought with it many risks and vulnerabilities; cybersecurity experts help companies guard against these vulnerabilities and by so doing, keep sensitive information and systems safe from unethical hackers.
by Edgar Vera, MS Cybersecurity