the start of the new year is the perfect time for businesses to assess their IT strategies and look at ways of improving them. One of the most important aspects of this is their cyber security, with the risk of becoming a victim of an online attack increasing as hackers grow more sophisticated.
That is why it is essential companies make sure their cyber security is at the highest level with the help of IT support in central London, so they can be confident all their computer systems are protected as much as possible.
– Extent of the problem
To really appreciate the importance of improving your online protection, it is a good idea to understand the scale of the problem.
According to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the organisation has fought against 658 cyber attacks in the last 12 months. Its Annual Review 2019 revealed the total number of breaches it has been aware of since the centre was formed in 2016 had, therefore, reached 1,800 by October.
NCSC chief executive Ciaran Martin said: “From handling more than 600 incidents – many from hostile nation states – to equipping the public with the tools they need to stay safe online, we are employing our expertise on a number of fronts.”
He went on to say that NCSC can “help make this the safest country to live and work online”, thanks to constantly developing its methods of warding off attacks.
Indeed, the government introduced the NCSC to tackle online threats as part of its £1.9 billion cyber security strategy.
Cabinet office minster Oliver Downden said the Annual Review demonstrates important achievements that show “we are making the UK a more challenging place for our cyber adversaries to operate in”.
While this is good news, companies themselves need to be extremely vigilant when it comes to their own cyber security so they do not fall victim to an attack.
Here are the top cyber security strategies to consider for 2020.
– Improving cyber security regulations
As the Annual Review demonstrates, there is a requirement for constant improvements to cyber security regulations, as technologies are evolving at a very fast rate.
To keep up with these changes, regulations need to develop at the same speed. According to Information-Age, regulation is currently “far too slow and clumsy to be of any benefit”.
In fact, the article noted it “might actually hinder security by building a culture of compliance with regulations and a false sense of security against enemies who are agile, motivated and clever”.
– Global cyber security standards
As well as regulations improving, there could be a global set of standards, which will prevent any attacks from emerging that could affect companies in other countries.
This might act in the same way as GDPR, which was introduced in May 2018. This regulation obligates those within the European Union to protect customer data according to the standard, so a uniform approach to data protection is maintained across the continent.
Jasmit Sagoo, senior director and head of technology at UK&I at Veritas, said GDPR has had a positive effect on securing public data across Europe. However, he was quoted by Information-Age as saying: “There is no single, global framework that tells businesses how they should store, manage, classify, protect and secure their data.”
“Divergence in data practices only slows down the flow of data between organisations and forces many to waste added time and resources on data cleansing and management,” Mr Sagoo stated, adding: “Data has become the lifeblood of many sectors – we can’t afford to let it clot. That’s why we’ll see the beginnings of a concerted movement across industries to bring in legally enforceable standards for data quality.”
– Improve security for IoT
While many businesses might have top-quality security for their computers, they may not have given much thought to the security of their Internet of Things (IoT) – digital devices that can transfer data over a network without needing human assistance to do so.
According to BDaily, the threat of abusing IoT devices has increased in the last year, as security on them is typically weak and they, therefore, can be hacked into more easily than computer devices.
As well as companies carefully considering how to secure their IoT machinery better, manufacturers of this technology also needs to “adapt their security approach to ensure that these fast-growing endpoints are secure”, the article suggested.
– Tightening credit card fraud security
Cyber security poses a lot of threat to businesses, consumers and governments, with the leak of data potentially leading to a loss of finances, private data, and defence information.
While these are all serious, the problem of financial fraud is getting worse all the time, and as many as 7,000 people in Britain were expected to have fallen victim to credit card fraud on Cyber Monday alone.
This is according to comparethemarket.com, which revealed 11 million Brits have had to replace or cancel their credit card due to suspected fraudulent activity over the last 12 months. The biggest risk to this is online payments, with 21 per cent claiming the fraud occurred when they had been purchasing something over the internet, Credit-connect.co.uk revealed.
It is not just individuals that have to be careful of online fraud, however, as businesses conduct online transactions every single day. Therefore, they are constantly at risk of someone hacking into their systems and stealing their credit card or bank details.
Head of money at the price comparison site John Crossley said: “It’s important not to make yourself vulnerable to hackers. Ensuring you have separate passwords and pins for different accounts or cards and are familiar will some of the tricks fraudsters use will help keep your money secure.”
– Increase cyber security expenditure
As a result of these growing threats, more businesses are increasing their spend on cyber security.
Indeed, the British Retail Consortium published its Crime Survey 2019 earlier this year that showed retailers have boosted their cyber security spend by 17 per cent over the last 12 months.
However, this might not be enough, as the number of attacks or breaches over the internet has risen by almost 80 per cent during the same period. Therefore, retailers, and other sectors, might find the only solution is to raise their expenditure even further if they want to protect their finances from online threat.