Why should you boost cybersecurity in the workplace?Cybersecurity is increasingly important in the workplace simply because of the impact it can have on every aspect of business from the safe storage of information to the prevention of data breaches, which could impact revenue. Cyberattacks can, at their worst, put companies out of business or cause firms to be penalized by huge fines from data protection authorities (DPAs) – something that will become increasingly significant when the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes full effect. Fortunately, in many ‘switched on’ firms, cybersecurity has become more high profile – it’s a boardroom agenda item. Firms are conducting regular security training awareness programs, with security teams empowered by boards to protect themselves from latest threats. The danger if you don’t is well-publicized. Statistics show that 38% of breaches are internal, with a 2015 study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham revealing that three out of four companies view employee negligence as the greatest breach threat. The study also found that around 75% of employees upload classified work files to personal cloud accounts. These figures are at risk of going significantly higher as companies embrace the cloud and become more connected through the Internet of Things (IoT). As examples of this connectivity – and the growing risk – the largest UK hospital was hit by a ransomware attack in January, while one month earlier a DDoS attack on automated buildings systems in Finland disabled heating controls. Separately, two white hat security researchers from the United States managed to hack into the building management system of an office belonging to a tech giant in Sydney, Australia, while – in an incident illustrating the dangers of IoT security – St. Jude Medical’s connected pacemaker was found vulnerable to attack. Cybersecurity and health and safety clearly go hand-in-hand.
Why should companies make cybersecurity as important as health and safety?The introduction of health and safety regulation has steadily improved employee welfare over the years, from reducing stress and accidents to insurance claims. Companies that prioritize cybersecurity will likely see even greater benefits, from better defence and fewer successful attacks to more funding from the board for technology solutions. Ultimately, a stronger defensive posture will help improve brand reputation (which is usually negatively impacted in the event of a data breach), safeguard revenues, and – in certain critical operations – save lives. Furthermore, some would argue that companies simply have to embrace cybersecurity – cybercriminals are leveraging the latest technologies, cybercrime-as-a-service is commonplace, and the desire for businesses to use data for competitive advantages puts them at greater risk. Cybersecurity has to be a top priority from company boardrooms on down if digital businesses are to be truly protected. Seamus Doyle, CIO at Northern Ireland Water, emphasized the importance of cybersecurity in relation to health and safety in an interview last year with Business Reporter. "When I am talking with some of my senior colleagues, [cybersecurity] is not quite as serious as health and safety but it is the next step down," he said. "Companies have long since moved past sacrificing health and safety for productivity. It is not an acceptable way to do business and people are moving to the same mindset with cybersecurity."