Combatting Cybercrime – more than just an IT problem

For many years, cybersecurity in business was seen as an afterthought – a predictable function of IT. However a spate of recent attacks has reiterated the importance of an enterprise wide based approach to cyber threat.

A recent KPMG Outlook survey found that Australian CEOs rate cyber security as one of the top five risk areas for their business with 80% of those surveyed considering cyber security as a top investment priority for their organisation.

It’s been estimated that cybercrime costs the Australian economy up to $1 billion annually. Worryingly, the scale and prevalence of these cyber-attacks have only escalated in sophistication in recent years, with criminals now able to manipulate even human behaviour, to its own catastrophic end.

Moreover, we’re now seeing cyber attacks being levelled at smaller organisations as often as larger ones. Jennifer Westacott, CEO of Business Council of Australia says that companies of all sizes are at risk of cyber attack; that supply chains “are only as strong as the weakest link…[and]…for that reason, developing cyber security capabilities and skills will be one of the defining characteristics of Australia’s ability to stay strong in an increasingly digitised world.”

And cyber criminals are not restricted in the style of their attack either; they will use a variety of means to gain access to an organisation including exploiting user error, and manipulating poorly secured networks and detection systems.

Fortunately, each of these targets can be protected with the right methodology and the understanding that cybersecurity is more than just a ‘tech problem’.  In order to embed this new mind-set into businesses operations, we need to build sound security from within all departments; which means weaving security measures into every function from organisational governance to how we manage and mitigate risk. Solutions may include changes such as more rigorous enterprise wide employee training, updates to customer data storage and upgrading organisational hardware and software.

So, whether it’s a platform business, physical product business or a cloud business, we mustn’t approach cybersecurity as an addendum to the business function but as a discipline critical to the success and proliferation of organisations.

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