Any organization operating in today’s digital economy needs to invest in information security solutions to protect its reputation and digital assets. Data breaches, destructive malware, and other cybersecurity incidents make the news headlines each day. No one is immune from this growing threat, and although there has been an increasing awareness among both organizations and consumers, there are still many misconceptions and myths surrounding cybersecurity which need to be clarified.
Myth 1 – Hackers Are Not Interested in Our Systems or Data
Every organization is a potential target for hackers. Even though only large corporates make the news when a data breach occurs, the fact is small businesses are the most common victims of cybersecurity incidents according to the Verizon 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report. You may think your organization has nothing of value, but in reality, just having Internet-connected systems makes compromising your I.T. infrastructure a valuable objective for potential attackers.
Hackers often target smaller businesses and extract usernames and passwords to gain access to larger organizations leveraging the fact that people reuse these credentials on multiple sites. Furthermore, hackers like to hide their tracks and have been known to use compromised systems to launch their attacks. As such, you not only run the risk of having your data compromised, but could very well end up becoming an unwilling accessory to a cybercrime. No matter the size or nature of your business, cybersecurity is an absolute necessity for every organization operating online today. The myth that hackers have no interest in your systems or data is inaccurate and dangerous.
Myth 2 – Our Firewall Offers Sufficient Protection
Firewalls protect internal networks from unauthorized external access. These devices are still essential I.T. security solutions which every organization needs. However, having a firewall in place does not protect all your systems and data. Hackers look for vulnerabilities in applications and people. If an employee falls victim to a phishing scam, no firewall can stop cybercriminals from gaining unauthorized access using the stolen login credentials. Similarly, if your web application has a software vulnerability, hackers could exploit it and gain access to the application and its underlying infrastructure even if a firewall protects it.
The enterprise infiltration of cloud and mobile solutions into modern I.T. environments have also changed the security landscape. Firewalls protect the network perimeter, but in a cloud-first mobile world, that perimeter has fractured. Your I.T. services and devices no longer operate behind a firewall exclusively. Cloud and mobile have made it possible to access any service from anywhere. As such, organizations need to take this new shifting paradigm into account when developing their cybersecurity strategy. Augmenting firewalls with solutions which protect mobile devices and cloud-based services is essential in today’s distributed enterprises.
Myth 3 – Passwords Provide Adequate Security
Passwords have long been the de facto mechanism for verifying the identity of a user before granting them access to a system. However, password authentication relies on people who are often the weakest link in the security chain. They frequently use passwords which are easy to guess or reuse the same one across multiple sites. Hackers take advantage of these poor security practices using sophisticated automated attacks to brute-force their way into systems. Furthermore, as organizations embrace the cloud and I.T. environments increase in complexity, users have to remember more passwords to log in to multiple systems which increases this risk.
Relying on password authentication alone is no longer an effective, secure authentication solution. Organizations need to augment their security to mitigate this known attack technique. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) solutions, which require a user to submit a second factor such as a One Time Pin (OTP) or fingerprint, can help organizations implement secure authentication. By requesting the user to present an additional verification agent, in addition to their password, ensures hackers cannot use automated attack tools to gain unauthorized entry.
Myth 4 – Cybersecurity Is an I.T. Problem
Technology generally falls under the auspices of the I.T. team in an organization. Every user in the organization uses technology to perform their various duties and functions. However, when a technology issue arises, I.T. is responsible for remedying the situation. As such, many still believe that cybersecurity as an I.T. problem. Although I.T. may be held accountable for implementing and managing cybersecurity technologies, the fact is information security is everyone’s responsibility.
Every user in the organization has access to systems through various login credentials and devices, and employees must ensure they take the necessary responsibility for keeping those company assets secure. Introducing a cybersecurity culture through some form of awareness training is a great way to make information security part of the organization’s institutional fabric. In addition to heightening the organization’s security posture, these initiatives equip employees to secure themselves in a world where digital transformation has already touched every aspect of their lives.
Myth 5 – Cybersecurity Solutions Are Too Expensive
Every organization, no matter what its size, has a finite number of resources it can invest in technology solutions. Due to limited I.T. budgets, organizations often use these resources to invest in technologies which increase revenue and enhance productivity. As such, cybersecurity is usually not a priority due to the perception that it does not bring in any business, it is expensive, and it impedes productivity. However, this is not the case. Implementing cybersecurity does not have to be costly, and in some instances, these solutions can improve efficiencies, enhance productivity, and enrich the value of your brand.
Security involves a combination of people, processes, and technology. Improving your cybersecurity does not necessarily mean you need to invest in the latest technology. For example, you could refactor your internal practices and procedures such as limiting access to sensitive information. You could also implement a very cost-effective security awareness campaign for your staff using material which is freely available online. Furthermore, deploying cybersecurity solutions could increase efficiencies. As an example, a centralized Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution can provide staff with a secure Single Sign-On (SSO) and MFA experience while helping HR and I.T. govern the user lifecycle management process.
Increase Your Security by Changing Your Mindset
The reality is cyber attacks are a genuine threat and pose a risk to all organizations. Believing your organization is not worthy of a hacker’s attention is a dangerous misconception which could result in catastrophic consequences. Furthermore, solely relying on traditional security solutions in a world where digital disruption has fundamentally changed the technology landscape forever, could lull you into a false sense of security. Every organization needs to secure its systems by architecting a new cybersecurity culture taking their people, processes, and technology into account. They also need to disregard the notion that implementing information security solutions is an expensive exercise. Improving your cybersecurity requires a change in your organizational culture, and in many cases, can help increase productivity and enhance efficiencies.
JMARK has been helping businesses in Springfield, Tulsa, and Fayetteville protect their I.T. environments with the help of innovative cybersecurity solutions for over thirty years. In fact, we were recently named one of the Top 100 Security Service Providers in the world. The driving force behind everything we do is to help our clients move their business forward and achieve their goals. To learn more about how we can help you debunk cybersecurity myths and secure your organization, contact us today.
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