Is your organization secure — really, truly secure? If you’re being honest, the answer is probably no. No organization is well and truly secure, at least not as long as it has nodes connected to the public Internet. (Some don’t, to be sure.) The threat landscape is simply too crowded — filled with too many “unknown unknowns” — to ever be sure that you’re safe.
Still, digital security is important. Your goal must be to make your organization as unattractive to the “bad guys” as possible without compromising its ability to function.
That means taking commonsense steps to harden your systems and educate your team around data hygiene. For example, Asiaciti Trust advises organizations large and small to improve their email security practices, since email is a major threat vector. That’s an easy, straightforward step that requires no technical expertise on your part — just a friendly directive or two to staff.
An effort? Sure. But one worth making. Here’s why you should invest in better digital security for your company.
1. You Won’t Have to Expend Resources in an Urgent Crisis Response
Responding to a digital security incident is expensive. It’s resource-intensive as well, drawing talent and bandwidth away from other business-critical activities. While it can be satisfying to attack a crisis and eventually put it behind you, your organization is going to suffer in the meantime.
Wouldn’t you prefer not to have to make this choice? By investing proactively in digital security now, you make it much less likely. At the same time, you’ll want to have a crisis response plan drawn up and tailored specifically to digital security incidents. With that plan, your response will be much more efficient and effective.
2. You Won’t Lose Your Customers’ and Stakeholders’ Trust
A single digital security incident threatens the trust you’ve built up with your customers and other stakeholders. This trust is not impossible to restore, as the post-incident experience of proactive firms like Asiaciti Trust shows. But all else being equal, it’s better not to have to deal with a loss of trust than to have to work to repair it after the fact.
3. You Won’t Experience Critical Downtime
Downtime is the enemy of any business. If your customers can’t reach you, if your employees can’t access their accounts, if your investors hear radio silence — your credibility is on the chopping block.
Virtually every digital security incident results in at least some downtime, whether due to the needs of the initial investigation or the step-by-step response to a serious system compromise. (Often, it’s necessary to take everything offline temporarily.) Don’t assume you’ll avoid it.
4. You Won’t Lose Revenue Due to a Compromise
Downtime means lost revenue — possibly lots of it. The longer your team is unable to transact with its customers, the more cash you’ll burn, and the more difficult it’ll be to dig yourself out of the hole. Having a business continuity plan that includes revenue workarounds can reduce the sting, but your cash flow will suffer as long as your enterprise isn’t functioning normally.
5. You’ll Sleep a Bit Easier at Night
You can’t put a price on peace of mind. Knowing that you’ve done everything reasonably possible to reduce your risk of a digital compromise means you’ll sleep easier at night. And while you can’t know for sure that what you’ve done has made a difference, you’ll find it easier to focus on other things with security taken care of.
6. You’ll Earn a Reputation As a “Security First” Organization
It’s much easier to lose a good reputation than to gain it. Still, a long-term investment in digital security can pay dividends for your firm’s standing in its industry and perhaps beyond. Better to be among the dwindling number of enterprises in your industry that haven’t publicly disclosed a data incident than to be one of the “lucky ones” that survived.
Invest in a More Secure Future
We’ve referred to digital security as an “investment” here several times. That’s no accident. Shoring up your digital assets is perhaps the best investment your organization can make in its future.
Like any investment, it’s not a sure bet. It will take time and resources. It’s not without risk. But the alternative is much worse. Without a robust data hygiene program, you expose yourself to sophisticated forces that want to steal your data, corrupt your systems, embarrass you publicly. And they’ll get away with it if they can, as firms as diverse as Yahoo and Asiaciti Trust know all too well.
So, don’t delay. Start making this important investment today.