Do we need to take Cyber Security Seriously?

Business at the speed of light – as Bill Gates put it, is something that normal business people are now having problems with.   It is not the actual business but the speed that things happen in today’s world that is the problem.   The old days of prototype to product taking 12 to 18 months has been reduced to 1/10 of that time.   This in itself is problematic, in the world of cyber security it can be fatal for a business.

All businesses use some sort of computer device, from hand held smart appliances to laptops, computers, servers and cloud based applications it is all managed and controlled by a computer device.   From SCADA control devices to run water plants and dams to GPS when building roads a break in the system can be critical and critical to any business.

So why is it that management, small and medium business owners and not for profit organisations’ boards consider business security as someone else’s problem.   The number of times that I have been involved in convincing a CEO that XXX is not a good idea, security wise, is rather large.    From not enforcing lengthy and complicated passwords to firewalls that cost less than $100, SME’s are extremely vulnerable.

The old adages – “it won’t happen to me” or “we are too small to be a target”- are long dead and buried.   Being on the Internet with no perceived level of cyber protection is like living in the worst part of town, with no locks on the doors, nothing on the windows and a 90 inch plasma TV in the lounge room.    How long before someone decides what you have would be better with them than you.   Probably about a day.   On the Internet it will be considerably shorter but just as final.

This is why management and owners need to change their attitude when it comes to cyber security.   We still invest hundreds of dollars in locks and alarms but scrimp when it comes to cyber security.   Why is that?

Cyber security has to go from no priority to a major priority to make sure that your business is protected.   Protecting your business is only part of the solution, protecting your staff and securing your client data are also crucial to your business viability.

If you loose other people’s information or have it stolen, the least of your problems is the loss of trust, but that alone will kill your business.   You will also have the financial loss, the intellectual property loss, the compliance and reporting problems as well as the fact that no one wants to do business with you.

This is why security of your business assets is going to become a critical component of doing business in the next few years.   The businesses that can show that they are protecting their clients information with gusto are the business that will be around when the dust settles.   All the others will be working for them or not working at all.

Roger Smith, is an educator. Teaching students at ADFA (UNSW) and showing them how vulnerable they are to cybercrime.

He is also CEO at R & I ICT Consulting Services Pty Ltd, an Amazon #1 author on Cybercrime and founder of the SME Security Framework. He is a Consultant who specialises in inexpensive and highly effective security strategies for small and medium businesses and not for profit organisations.

He has developed and authored the SME Security Framework and the Security Policy Training Course which are considered to be the definitive guides to helping SME's protect their organisation using the principles of Technology, Management, Adaptability and Compliance.