Recent cyber-attacks launched against high profile celebrities and businesses are just the tip of the iceberg of the dangerous world of virtual criminals - looking to exploit weak IT compliance systems and lax cyber defences.
The cyber threat is real and growing, as are the financial penalties associated with negligence. It is more important than ever for organisations to create holistic cyber security systems that not only protect from the inside, but right the way along the supply chain.
Data is being collected, used and shared in ways that were unimaginable at the beginning of the information age. With this information explosion, the financial rewards to cyber-criminals who make money stealing and selling private information have skyrocketed.
A new report from PwC suggests that both the number of, and the financial losses associated with attacks, are increasing rapidly. Suleyman Anil, the head of cyber defence at NATO, has said that the threat posed to organisations is "very alarming" and not likely to abate for the next decade.
A string of high profile cyber-attacks on large businesses, celebrities and government offices have brought the issue to the fore. Cyber security breaches to large organisations like Sony and the Ministry of Justice have been well publicised. These companies have incurred reputational damage and lost business as well as financial penalties enforced by regulators, such as the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Given the dangerous virtual climate, and stringent financial penalties associated with cyber threats it is more important than ever that organisations adopt and adhere to a more modern and comprehensive data protection strategy.
Staying protected in these turbulent times is not easy. One reason for this is because cyber-threats come in all shapes and sizes. Threats can range from small scale digital vandalism to grand industrial espionage. Organisations also have to be prepared for both internal and external threats.
Building a cyber defence strategy
A comprehensive cyber defence strategy must also protect businesses along their supply chains. A 2013 cyber attack on the American retailer Target is one example of how lack of supply chain protection can be damaging. In this instance, security was compromised by a small supplier with access to Target’s network.
More deeply integrated supply chains can be a problem for companies because they lack control over suppliers’ cyber defences that are necessary to ensuring full protection. This is a particular problem for larger companies – who have big stockpiles of data – and may be working with smaller companies who do not have the same resources to invest in data protection and management.
It is vital that large organisations get both their own IT infrastructure in order and gain control over their supply chains. Failure to do so could expose them to data and security breaches that have the power to destroy reputations, business partnerships and profit margins. Take the test to see how healthy your supply chain is with our free online health check here.
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