If You Connect It, Protect It

Technological advancements have proved to be both a blessing and a curse for individuals, businesses, and governments alike. With no precedent, the world is truly making up cyber rules as we go. And because of the difficulties involved in regulating cyberspace, it has become increasingly more dangerous to access the net without proper security measures in place. Hence the push for greater awareness in the role we all play in protecting connected devices. There has never been a greater need for device protection than now.

Information technology fuels our industries

Today, our economies are driven by technology and the Internet of Things (IoT). Every industry relies on some form of information technology (IT) infrastructure. Healthcare facilities, Maritime entities, gas and oil operations, financial institutions, state hydro facilities – you name it. Every sector you can imagine makes use of technology and invariably has numerous connected devices used by employees to get their work done. This dependence leaves these establishments vulnerable and open to attack by foreign threat vectors and other unscrupulous agents.

Why is device protection a big concern?

Device protection is a top priority for several reasons – breaches are expensive, inconvenient, matters of life and death, and national security.

1.     Financial repercussions

The average data breach costs companies at least $3.86 million. This is money that could have been channeled elsewhere to develop the company but is instead being used to bail the business out of trouble. One of the most expensive examples of the importance of device protection occurred in 2017 when Danish shipbrokers AP Moller-Maersk’s global systems were infected with the notorious NotPetya virus. The cost of this indirect cyberattack was $300 million.

2.     Inconvenient and fatal

89% of hospitals and medical facilities surveyed said that they had faced a data breach in the last two years. 69% of these healthcare organizations cited careless employees as the biggest cause of concern where cybersecurity was concerned. Bringing it closer to home, in the last week of September 2020, one of the biggest hospital chains in the country Universal Health Services was the target of a ransomware attack. Something very worrisome because just earlier in the month the first-ever cyberattack fatality was recorded in Germany.

 3.     National security concerns

To say that the U.S. is engaged in grueling cyberwarfare with foreign agents would not be far off. Questions of Russian influence in the elections through social media infiltration to Chinese cyberattacks on U.S. ports have been on the lips of many CIOs. On March 5, 2019, US power grids in the western parts of the country were affected for 10 hours when hackers penetrated weak defenses. The major issue is that most U.S. power grid systems were not designed with a connection in mind, making them extremely easy targets.

The bottom line

Every device that is connected must be protected. Together we can raise community awareness of how we can protect the cyberspace and make it a safe and more resilient place for everyone. If we carry these practices into our places of work we can potentially help protect the country as a whole. So, do your part. #BeCyberSmart