Authored by Maarten Huntjens, EVP, Human Resources and Real Estate, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise
Having not just the right technology but also the supporting infrastructure in place is vital in today’s business landscape. If companies are to ensure reliable operations and keep up with the demand of the ever-evolving digitisation of the workplace, they are expected to implement and quickly adapt to the latest technology.
Digital transformation is a phrase consistently heard in the media as organisations worldwide revolutionise the way they work to keep pace with evolving technological advancements. But, with increased digitisation and automation of tasks comes the increased risk to cybersecurity.
Every device, from cameras to removable media, USB devices or other connected objects, carries the risk of exposing potentially catastrophic flaws in cyber defence, leaving organisations vulnerable to attacks that could compromise not only their operations but also those of their customers and partners. Therefore, it is essential for all business owners to carefully consider the financial implications of increased security costs. It is no longer enough to rely on security point solutions like firewalls and Intrusion Detection Systems, with today’s modern cyber threats, cyber resilience has to encompass all aspects of an organisation’s operations.
Managed services and network vulnerability assessments are gaining traction as best practice defences, where organisations implement a multi-faceted cybersecurity infrastructure that strengthens its defences. These comprehensive defensive measures are often complex and costly however, and it is easy to overspend on cybersecurity through the overlap of multiple solutions. To combat this, businesses should assess their needs to come to a clear understanding of what each solution can provide and where the vulnerabilities lie, redirecting the focus to critical areas.
It is also essential that we consider the human element, putting people at the centre of the business and reacting to their needs. Cybercriminals are threatening to outpace technology and cybersecurity innovations, not because they are aiming for possible vulnerabilities in the system, but because they are targeting people.
According to Verizon’s recent Data Breach Investigations Report, 82% of cybersecurity breaches in 2022 involved the human element. From stolen credentials, phishing scams, misuse, or simple error, employees require essential training on these threats and the preventative measures they can take against them for the security of company data as well as their own.
Security no longer falls solely with the IT team. Businesses must rethink their approach to cybersecurity as a company-wide issue and the recognise benefits of having the entire team prepared against any potential threats. Frequent training on technological updates and processes should be made available to all employees as everyone has a shared responsibility to minimise the threat of security breaches. Recurrent cybersecurity training ensures employees are all on the same page, keeps everyone in the loop, and raises awareness on the best and most effective way to use technology at work.
Essential to this is the implementation of a strong security culture. Establishing a healthy company culture by putting people at the heart of the structure is an important aspect of any organisation. However, when it comes to cybersecurity, there is a tendency to focus heavily on the technical side rather than the needs and understanding of people. We must ensure that a security-first mindset is adopted across teams through education and training, whilst clearly outlining what is expected of employees to ensure the highest standards of security can be maintained.
Setting the standards for cybersecurity on a company-wide level reinforces the idea that it is a collective responsibility and encourages all team members to engage with security procedures. Raising awareness of potential cyber risks and educating the team on the appropriate precautions they can take against them builds upon this. That their data is safe. Having a security knowledge base will also boost morale and overall performance.
Cybersecurity enables businesses to achieve its goals through uninterrupted use of systems and processes. The implementation of collaborative cybersecurity measures in the workplace empowers employees to protect their own privacy, both inside and outside work. Further, an increase in productivity can be expected when people spend less time figuring out processes and more time fulfilling their role with confidence.
Consistent cybersecurity training can be especially beneficial to remote workers. Remote working is said to rise to 48% in the post-pandemic world, an increase of 18% from 2019. With that being said, connected devices outside of an organisation’s network raises the risk of data breach as the attack surface increases. Unsecured networks and hardware outside the business’ perimeter defence are vulnerable when considering traditional defences. Relying on an advanced network infrastructure of cybersecurity, however, if only effective if the user understands the processes and utilises the equipment. Training on more reliable data practices and procedures helps to combat this.
User awareness is key. By establishing ongoing security awareness programmes, employees are educated on possible security incidents, whether working remotely or traditionally. Zero-trust frameworks are undeniably useful in these circumstances as they require user verification to grant authorised access.
Overall, network security must be integrated into a company’s core business practises rather than considered an afterthought. Adopting a multi-faceted security approach for distributed security needs is part of the ongoing digital transformation of organisations worldwide, but weaving the importance of security into the company culture is just as necessary.
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