October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. It’s a 14-year-old initiative established by the Department of Homeland Security to help raise the profile around various cybersecurity topics. Unfortunately, over the past few years, cyberattacks have been so pervasive that cybersecurity has been a topic too big to ignore, all year long.
The data confirms the breakneck pace at which cyberattacks are showing up in the news:
- According to the Cisco 2017 Annual Cybersecurity Report, ransomware is growing at a yearly rate of 350%.
- IBM Security reports that in 2016 an average of 40 percent of spam emails contained malware links to ransomware, representing a 6,000 percent increase from 2015 when that number was less than one percent.
- Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that ransomware damages will exceed $5 billion in 2017, up from $324 million in 2015, as reported by Microsoft.
- The industries at greatest risk of attack? Industries that store sensitive personal information, especially healthcare organizations, which are the top at-risk industry. Financial services firms are also at an increased risk due to their storage of both personal and financial information.
In general, it’s good that organizations are finally beginning to think about cybersecurity, but many organizations are still trying to figure out what to do first. The explosion of ransomware attacks has been such a massive paradigm shift to the technology industry that organizations are paralyzed by insecurity and fear about whether their organization might be the next one hit by a data breach or ransomware attack. This paralysis leads to inaction, further increasing the risk of a cyberattack.
Organizations that take proactive steps to protect themselves and prepare for a future cyberattack are going to be better equipped to recover from an attack, if one occurs.
Whether you have an in-house security team or use an outsourced cybersecurity partner who deeply understands your business, make sure they’re not only monitoring the latest cybersecurity news but also recommending and/or taking proactive measures to prepare and protect your organization.
If you find yourself relating more to the cyber-insecure camp that continues to contemplate your first step forward in arming and protecting your organization, Lao Tzu’s words never rang more true: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”