Cyberattacks skyrocketed in 2020, and have continued to grow ever since. As the threat landscape gets more complicated each year, cybersecurity becomes more important for every business. The question is no longer if, but when you will be targeted…no matter your organization’s size (learn more by reading our blog “It’s a Net, not a Harpoon | Why Ransomware Threatens Even the Smallest Businesses”).
Yet for many organizations, proactively safeguarding against ransomware or disaster isn’t the factor driving their cybersecurity strategy.
Too often, investing in cybersecurity is a reaction to external pressures – from vendors, regulators, clients, or even the attackers themselves. In over 20 years of safeguarding our clients, these are the top reasons Mytech Partners has seen for an organization to, finally, invest in its security.
#1 Your cyber insurance provider requires it
Cyber liability insurance providers have become far more discerning. That’s not surprising, given the exponential increase in both cyberattacks and the financial damage they cause. But you may be surprised in the near future if you try to obtain or renew your cyber liability insurance…or if you think your standard liability insurance covers cybersecurity (it almost never does)!
If you’re seeking cyber insurance in the near future, you’ll likely find that the bar has been raised. Security tools like multi-factor authentication (MFA) used to be “nice to have” solutions that might improve the terms of your insurance…but many providers are now requiring MFA to even consider your application. They also might require an incident response plan (IRP) to prove that you have an established process you’ll follow when a cybersecurity incident occurs.
Cyber liability insurance requirements are changing faster and faster, and reacting to the latest standards is a complicated process that may have you scrambling to get up to date. By asking your provider about updated renewal requirements 6+ months in advance, and staying on top of these regulations proactively, you’ll breathe easier – confident in the integrity of your financial safety net.
#2 Your industry regulations require it
As cyberattacks increase in frequency and complexity, regulated industries will face increased pressure to invest in cybersecurity. Amid high-profile ransomware attacks like the Colonial Pipeline incident in 2021, the federal government is introducing new legislation like the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act (CIRCIA), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has followed suit with new rules governing incident reporting.
If you’re in a regulated industry, your top concerns are typically the security, privacy, and accountability of data – you must demonstrate an ability to safeguard protected information, plus the ability to identify any failures of that protection. This requires further tools, including multi-factor authentication (MFA) to safeguard your data, or Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), which both protects you and reports on any incidents that make it through.
But solutions like MFA and EDR can be complex to implement and configure, and if regulations are driving your decision making, you may not have very long to get them up and running. The faster a cybersecurity solution must be implemented, the greater the cost and the disruption to your organization – so the sooner you can determine your needs and invest in addressing them, the better.
#3 Your clients/customers need it
Even if you don’t work in a regulated industry, your clients might. For example, HIPAA privacy rules are infamously restrictive: any entity that has even a potential to interact with protected health information (PHI) or personally identifiable information (PII) must meet certain standards based on their degree of access. That may include a duty to safeguard or track your team’s access to that data – with dire consequences if that duty is neglected.
It can be difficult to track which regulations apply in which circumstances, especially if your clients span several industries. But no matter what compliance standards you need to hit – HIPAA, ITAR, DFARS, ITIL, PCI, to name a few – investing in your ability to safeguard and monitor the relevant information is a good rule of thumb. Strong security controls can improve this ability proactively, though your individual situation will inevitably be unique.
Even if you don’t prioritize cybersecurity in your own strategic planning and budgeting, your clients in regulated industries may decide your cybersecurity standards for you. At least, they will if you don’t want to lose them as clients! Your ability to anticipate, discuss, and quickly react to your clients’ needs is critical to delivering service that benefits your partnership.
#4 You needed it…when you didn’t have it
Unfortunately, many organizations don’t choose to fully invest in cyber security solutions until they’ve felt the pain of an insufficient response firsthand. But when they experience that pain, it’s too late to invest in tools to stop it: the damage is done, to the tune of $105k for small and medium-sized businesses on average (sometimes $1M or more!). And that’s just the hard costs – broken client trust, bad publicity, and lost revenue are all common aftereffects that compound the damage.
Unfortunately, it often doesn’t even stop there. Even if a cyberattack victim immediately invests in their security, they’ve already become more appealing as a repeat target. A single failure of your cybersecurity infrastructure can compound into future attacks and unforeseen consequences, turning a single costly event into an ongoing costlier problem.
Once disaster has struck, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Your response may still affect how you move forward (learn more by reading our blog “Should I Pay Ransomware?”) and whether you continue to experience complications. No security investment will truly erase the damage of a successful cyberattack…but you can prepare for the next threat. And, of course, if you’re aware of the risks before you experience them yourself, you can invest in your own security before you “need” it.
The best reason to invest: foresight
These are the most common reasons that organizations finally invest in a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, and they all have one thing in common: they’re all reactive, rather than a proactive investment in your organization’s future. But the more your investments are driven by your own informed position, the more they can be planned in advance, and the more value your organization will get out of them.
For example, you likely already have common safeguards like a firewall and an antivirus solution…but do you have multi-factor authentication (MFA) deployed? Do you have a strategy for your data backups, your security policies, and your equipment lifecycles? Do you have an incident response plan (IRP) you can turn to the moment you need it? And does your leadership team have a strategic plan for accomplishing your cybersecurity goals?
These are just a few common questions you’re likely to encounter as you start to develop your security posture. Cybersecurity is an incredibly complex issue, and it takes significant investment of both time and resources to achieve your goals. There’s nothing you can do to change that fact. The only decision that’s truly yours is when to finally invest: now, while you can still do so on your own terms…or later, when something else forces your hand.