“Today, a single person can perpetrate a multi-million dollar cybercrime with impunity. Activists, hacktivists, nation states, organized crime and rogue individuals are making careers as cyber thieves.”
The above quote is from cybersecurity expert Lynn Mattice, who in 2012 referred to cybercrime – and the digital realm by association – as the new Wild West. The similarities are pretty striking if you sit down to look at it. And I’d go so far as to argue that her analogy still holds true today.
Think about it. The Old West had bands of violent, vicious outlaws who took anything they could get away with taking. Although there were lawmen and professionals dedicated to stopping them, in many cases they seemed to always lag a step behind. There were never enough good people to account for the bad.
Sounds pretty familiar, right?
We need to face facts. As the Internet of Things goes mainstream, businesses and criminals are in a digital arms race – the former trying to protect their data, and the latter attempting to steal it. One look at the headlines this year tells you exactly who’s winning.
And that’s not a good thing.
Let’s talk about how your business slots into this whole dynamic. See, you’ve got a choice. You can either be a gritty, Clint Eastwood-esque guardian who makes hackers think twice about attacking your organization…
Or you can be the coward who constantly cowtows to the outlaws.
I know which one I’d choose to be. And yet most businesses fall firmly into the latter camp. The main reason is that they lack the proper approach.
In order to better defend your organization, you’re going to need three things:
- A Cybersecurity Training Program. At the end of the day, the biggest threat to enterprise data is and always will be our employees. Whether through malice or well-meaning ignorance, they cause more data breaches than even the most determined hacker. You can’t completely eliminate that risk – but you can mitigate it through cybersecurity training processes and protocols.
- Ethical Hackers. No system is 100% secure, and if you think you’re the exception to that rule, you’re deluding yourself. Plenty of businesses have realized this, which is why we’ve been seeing so much news about ethical hackers. These white hats will approach every piece of your infrastructure as though they were a criminal trying to break in – and once they find a weakness, you’ll be the first to know.
- Up-to-date Security and Management Software. Last but certainly not least, it’s still a little baffling that ransomware like WannaCry exploits years-old vulnerabilities. To be blunt, this is unacceptable – you need to keep your systems up to date, and you need security software that allows you to manage, monitor, and protect every device and file in your organization (without impeding your workers).
Tending to cyber security on the modern web is a lot like being the sheriff of a small town on the lawless frontier of the Old West. It’s up to you to decide what kind of sheriff you’re going to be. With the tools above, I’m certain you’ll be a good one.