Whenever some new beneficial invention or innovation gains widespread popularity, crooks have to come along and ruin it for the rest of us. Some do it for kicks, some for sheer malice, and many others for personal gain. But whatever the motivation, this inevitability requires vigilance.
Many of our routine tasks have been made more accessible thanks to advances in computers, the internet, mobile technology, and cloud computing. We increasingly rely on these technologies for communication, entertainment, work, research, and commerce.
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Unfortunately, criminals of every stripe lurk in the shadows, waiting to hack systems, steal personal data, bring down websites, and commit fraud, costing consumers and businesses billions of dollars.
On the bright side, we have the resources of IT security to defend our information, privacy, and assets. If you work for an organization’s IT department, it’s now essential for you to go all-in on cybersecurity. In this article, we explore the importance of cybersecurity and show you how to apply it on behalf of your organization. We need to accept that security is now part of every IT professional’s job.
The Current Situation
Forty-three percent of employees responding to a recent survey conducted by GetApp said their companies don’t regularly provide cybersecurity training, and 8 percent said they’ve never received any such training at all. This shortfall seems odd, considering that cybersecurity threats are the number one fear for CEOs in the United States.
And they’re right to be afraid. According to research, cybercriminals inflicted more than $2 trillion worth of damage to businesses, organizations, and individuals worldwide in 2019. Cybersecurity Ventures, the world’s leading researcher for today’s cyber economy, predicted back in 2017 that cybercrime damages would hit $6 trillion by 2021. In reaction to this startling bit of information, businesses across the globe are projected to spend around $10 billion in cybersecurity measures by 2027 to defend against cybercrime.
Unfortunately, these concerns don’t always translate into direct action. Sadly, many organizations will wait until a problem manifests itself first, and then implement measures after the damage is done. It’s the digital version of fixing the barn door after the horses have escaped. But sometimes there’s no way to bounce back if the crisis is severe enough.
So what can you do? You can start by following these steps.
1. Increase Awareness
There’s a difference between knowing that some people and businesses “out there” have been targeted by hackers and data criminals and realizing that the same thing could happen to them.
It all comes down to awareness, which means making sure that everyone in your organization knows the risks and dangers associated with using the internet, wireless devices, and other IT-related platforms.
There are countless resources available for getting the word out. For instance, you can put together a recommended reading list, complete with links to articles and white papers covering IT security. If that’s too much work, then consider holding a brief meeting every quarter to bring everyone up to speed on the latest developments in the world of cybersecurity.
There are even team exercises that engage people and keep things interesting, such as holding competitions to see who can catch the most phishing emails or discover the most breaches or weak spots. These activities not only engage people’s interest, but they also make them feel like they’re contributing to the security of the organization, rather than just being told what to do.
If your fellow employees are made aware of cybersecurity risks and the impact they can have, they’ll be more receptive to any measures needed to keep your organization’s resources secure.
2. Implement Cyber Security Best Practices
Implementation is the most involved step and requires the most work. If you’re now in charge of IT security, then you will have to come up with a list of protocols and procedures to make sure that all assets are secure and protected from hackers and other cybercriminals.
Cybersecurity measures that bear consideration include the following.
Many hackers don’t have to resort to fancy tricks or attack programs to penetrate a system. Sometimes, they only need to rely on people not regularly changing their password or making it something easy to guess. If you’re promoting IT security, you need to relay the following concepts to the rest of the organization:
- Change passwords frequently
- Make it something difficult to crack
- Don’t write it down and leave it around your desk/workstation
Device and Physical Security
This is yet another area where hackers don’t need any fancy techniques to gain unauthorized access to a company’s data. People leave their phones or other mobile devices unattended all the time, and each device is a potential open door into someone’s personal and professional life.
The warning “Don’t open emails from unknown or unreliable sources” is said so often, it might as well be a macro. Hackers employ sketchy emails as vehicles for phishing scams, viruses, malware, and ransomware delivery. People must learn what to do with strange emails, including how to get rid of them.
All you need for your system to be compromised is to have one person open up one of these sketchy emails, and it’s game over.
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3. Stay Ahead of the Curve: Get Educated
The final step is personal. Specifically, it’s something you need to do for yourself. Knowledge is power, and power is what you need so that you can create a better defense against cybercrime. Simplilearn offers a range of courses on IT security.
If you’re still new to cybersecurity, you should consider taking Simplilearn’s Introduction to Cyber Security Course for Cyber Security Beginners. It’s a four-hour course designed to give you a foundational look at today’s cybersecurity landscape, how to evaluate and manage security protocol in information processing systems, and how to implement risk and incident management to protect your infrastructure from cyber-attack.
But if you’re already familiar with the world of cybersecurity and looking to build on that skill set, then you need the Cyber Security Master’s Program. This valuable program equips you with the necessary skills to become an IT security expert. You’ll learn comprehensive approaches to protecting your infrastructure, including securing data and information, running risk analysis and mitigation, architecting cloud-based security, achieving compliance, and much more.
So do yourself and your organization a favor and check out Simplilearn’s cybersecurity curriculum. The skills you learn will make you a better-rounded professional while you bolster your organization’s defenses. Check them out today!