What is Cyber Security?
Although the name suggests a highly technical topic, cyber security is no longer only an IT issue. Wider digitization brings exposure to an increased number of threats if not managed properly. Poor management means that business-interrupting cyber security breaches happen more often than ever before. According to a recent report it took organisations an average of 99 days to detect cyber attacks within their network.
Threats to businesses are data theft, extortion, vandalism, and more sophisticated threats include espionage, disinformation, market manipulation and disruption of infrastructure. Considering the complicated nature of each threat, it is important to understand possible outcomes for businesses as a whole, as well as for the customers/clients who are benefitting from the products/services provided by those businesses.
Examples of headline making Cyber Security issues include the WannaCry attack which hit organisations worldwide, such as the NHS, with severe results and recently the Dark Caracal attacks which compromised accounts of military personnel, journalists, and lawyers, stealing data including personal data and intellectual property.
Cyber Security and Intellectual Property
The increasing number of threats made a set of regulations necessary to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) primarily aims to let the individuals have full control over their own personal data and simplify data transactions for business environment within European Union.
Although many business owners are aware of cyber attack threats, the extent and likelihood of those threats are likely to be underestimated.
In addition to the obvious effects of a cyber attack, such as theft of customer data, regulatory issues (importantly in view of the upcoming GDPR), and reputational damage, it is important to consider less obvious implications such as the theft of intellectual property (IP).
IP allows businesses to have a commercial advantage over competitors. If IP is stolen, it is important to detect the theft quickly and react accordingly.
In case of IP or trade secret theft (subject to new legislation), forensic investigation is important from several aspects such as how the attack happened and what are the sources as well as root cause of attacks.
When it comes to IP, the means to secure does not necessarily mean just having a secure database, but also means having a secured information protection strategy within your company. For example, a piece of information that every employee has access to may not be secure even with the most up-to-date data protection software as they themselves are a point of vulnerability.
Cyber Security Solutions
The UK Government has been actively promoting the IP Cybersecurity initiative which aims to help SME’s better understand and better protect their business from increasing threat of IP cybercrime. This “SME Guide to IP Cybersecurity”, explains what current threats for small businesses are and how these threats can be reduced to minimum.
A further step for implementing best practices regarding cyber security is to engage with the Cyber Essentials scheme. The Cyber Essentials scheme aims to help organisations implement basic levels of protection against cyber attack, and develop cyber security knowledge, strategy and experience.
We have recently become Cyber Essentials Certified and you should do the same.