Cybersecurity Awareness Month: What Your Organization Should Fear this Halloween Season

For many of us, the month of October is a time of ghosts and ghouls, pumpkins, witches, and candy –all culminating in a grand finale of what is considered to be one of the“scariest” and most exciting days of the year… Halloween

For many of us, the month of October is a time of ghosts and ghouls, pumpkins, witches, and candy –all culminating in a grand finale of what is considered to be one of the“scariest” and most exciting days of the year… Halloween. The month of October, however, is not just a time for dressing up, eating candy, and taking part inall things considered to be “spooky.” October is also dedicated to a topic that can be far scarier and more intimidating than any Halloween prank or costume –cybersecurity.

 In today’s modern, chaotic, and technology-driven world, the cybersecurity landscape is constantly in a state of flux and change. Information security and IT governance is an absolute necessity. Cyber and information risk and compliance exposure today is a complex web of vulnerabilities that crosses through different departments and functions within the business and its operations. The effect of a seemingly isolated information or cyber risk can soon become ubiquitous – causing trouble throughout all levels of the organization.  

An effective cyber-breach can cause serious structural damage to your organization. The affects can range from reputational damage hurting consumer trust in your organization, to compliance and financial affects that have serious implications on your organization’s bottom line. The impact of a cybersecurity breach can be split up into three categories:

 

1.   Financial. Cyber-attacks often result in substantial financial loss. Not only has corporate information likely been stolen (and possibly even financial information e.g. card and/or banking details), but the organization will also generally incur costs associated with improving and repairing the affected networks and systems. Recent experience with new data privacy laws, such asGDPR, tells us that there is a serious financial cost to non-compliance within cybersecurity and data protection.

2.  Reputational. Trust is an essential element of building understanding within an organization and its clientele. A cyber-breach can cause serious damage to your organization’s reputation and erode the trust your customers have in you. This could, as a result, potentially lead to loss of customers, lower sales numbers, and, in turn, a reduction in profits. The possible effects can even have serious implications on any partners, investors, and third parties with a vested interest in your organization.

3.  Compliance.Data protection and privacy laws require you to manage the security of all personal data you hold - whether on your staff or your customers. Ifthis data is accidentally or deliberately compromised, and you have failed to deploy appropriate security measures, you may face fines and regulatory sanctions.

 

A mature cyber and information security system has multiple layers of defense spread across the organization, but many organizations fail to understand the serious compliance and risk management implications of cyber and information security. The ever-growing threat to the organization that it poses in the pursuit of its overall business objectives and continuity cannot be understated.

Ensuring that your information management and cyber security control is at a proper level of maturity and meets professional industry standards is critical in being able to fully monitor and understand the chaotic world of information management, and effectively scrutinize and evaluate risk and compliance across the entire organization. An immature information security and management system leaves organizations vulnerable and caught off guard to risk exposure, while the mature organization has complete visibility and contextual understanding of information security and technology risk exposure on the business.

 

 

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