New technologies and digital infrastructure are coming online every day, rapidly transforming the world we live in and creating new opportunities for businesses of all sizes to compete and innovate. Protecting these investments and the advantages they confer requires a far-reaching and ongoing commitment to cybersecurity.  Emerging technologies like 5G, IoT and AI can be deployed to solve major global challenges and create a better world. Yet, they can still be exploited by malicious actors for financial gain, political motives, and other nefarious ends.   

As the Digital Space Expands, the Threat Landscape Grows

  • There were more than 1.76 billion records leaked in January 2020 alone 
  • Ransomware is expected to cost businesses and organizations $11.5 billion in 2020.
  • The global yearly number of DDOS attacks will reach 14.5 million in 2022 
  • The global average cost of a data breach is $3.6 million — and it keeps increasing every year

A Major Threat to the Global Economy and SMBs

Estimated to exceed $2 trillion in 2020, the profits of cybercrime has far surpassed the global drug trade. And while major corporate data breaches make big headlines, 62% of all cybersecurity breaches are at the SMB level—in fact, within six months of a successful attack, 60% of SMB organizations go out of business. Penalties for non-compliance can be devastating, too.  Legislation like the European Union’s 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the recently passed California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have created new legal standards for how companies handle data. A serious violation can result in a fine of €20 million or four percent of the violator’s annual revenue — whichever is higher.

Over the next few years, these standards will continue to evolve, with new iterations and legislature appearing around the globe. In the meantime, cybercriminals are evolving too, developing more sophisticated tools and tactics. Social engineering, which targets the human layer in phishing attacks and other person-to-person approaches, remains a huge vulnerability that technology alone cannot address. 

As value has become more intangible—embedded in information systems and data rather than just property and goods—our notions of security have not kept up. Consequently, many of these assets are left unprotected, simply out of a lack of awareness.  

Cybersecurity is a Human-first Issue 

 Although the growing cost to the global business ecosystem is staggering, and the risk to SMBs proportionally higher, the damage cannot be reduced to a number. It is difficult to put a price on peace of mind, or the loss of reputation and credibility.

Because digital technology reaches so deeply into every aspect of our lives and interfaces so intimately with our lived experience, cybersecurity is an issue that impacts everyone.  With 6.1 billion smartphones in circulation and 22 billion IoT devices going live in 2020—from connected cars to pacemakers—global cybersecurity is not just a technology problem, it is also a human problem that concerns every person who will ever pick up a device, connect to a network, or utilize a product or service that is connected to a network—at work, in a store, or in transit. 

A human-first approach to cybersecurity empowers everyone to take responsibility for protecting and securing vital information and data. This is a massive shift from the human-as-a-problem type thinking that informed IT culture from its inception. 

A shift of this magnitude will require strong leaders to drive it. 

Human-As-A-Solution: Business Leaders Called to Create a Strong Cybersecurity Culture

It only makes sense: if the human layer is the weakest link in security breaches, it is also a critical resource if we are to address cybercrime and protect the value of emerging technologies effectively.  

This is why organizations like the World Economic Forum have declared 2020 as a major turning point for cybersecurity and are calling on business leaders to create a strong cybersecurity culture. 

The coming culture shift will be driven by business leaders and engaged digital citizens taking charge of their digital destinies and proactively protecting themselves, their teams and their organizations. More than a defensive or reactive posture, advanced cybersecurity is about bringing awareness and agency to users, educating them on basic cybersecurity principles, and creating a culture of continuous learning and development.   

Engaging and empowering all stakeholders—from the CEO and board down to the last end user will mean a major shift in how we think about and implement enterprise security. Although it is essential to build towards a resilient network and infrastructure, technological solutions alone will not suffice in securing the next generation of connectivity and innovation. 

We can’t relegate company security to IT or implement a solution that is one and done. Cybersecurity can’t be an afterthought; it must be baked into the company DNA and central to business strategy and planning. Even more importantly, it must trickle down to each employee and citizen, who also must be equipped with the appropriate skills and tools.  

Port53 helps organizations protect their businesses with enterprise-grade cybersecurity solutions that are easy to deploy, simple to manage and extremely effective. By partnering with the Cisco security suite and other leading cloud security solutions, Port53 Technologies can design an integrated suite of security solutions tailored to your needs.

Our 20-week Cybersecurity Training series delivers basic preparedness to your team, raising awareness and teaching business-critical cybersecurity skills. These skills—essential to the future of work—can be coached, modeled and learned.

Continuing education and practice can help your employees challenge and evolve their thinking to serve as your first line of defense against cybercrime.