How to integrate cyber security into your business strategy, before it's too late
Having a proactive cyber security strategy in place can help mitigate financial risks, writes LoughTec's CEO Sean McDermott
The biggest driver for innovation in our business has been digitisation. Like all companies we are embracing those technologies that can help us become more efficient, help us communicate better and deliver higher levels of customer satisfaction.
The LoughTec digital roadmap wasn’t without its bumps but the business is better for it.
All good stuff until you consider that the downside of digitisation is the expanded cyber threat landscape that our business is exposed to. For LoughTec, it’s a no-brainer that cybersecurity plays an intrinsic role in our business strategy – the ‘cobblers shoes’ metaphor is way beyond redundant – but we believe that any business that has grown through the implementation of technology and digitisation should do likewise.
Historically, cybersecurity was viewed as an IT issue – a technical problem requiring a technical solution. For the longest time, many of our clients held the same belief and were resistant to all forms of persuasion. Today, those same clients see cybersecurity as a business imperative.
Breaches don't just result in system downtimes or IT disruptions; they can decimate a company's financials, erode customer trust, and even lead to legal repercussions. Breeches are no longer the result of an occasional or infrequent spam email but rather a consequence of concerted and ongoing cyber-attacks.
Ultimately, the more technology you implement within your business, the greater the threat to it.
Over the last year, we have been working closely with businesses and organisations to help them integrate cybersecurity as an integral component of their business strategy rather than an afterthought – here’s why we think integration matters.
Protecting your brand
A single breach can tarnish a brand's reputation and has the potential to undo years of customer trust and goodwill. Any plans you might have for business growth over the next three years will stop dead in their tracks as you seek to recover brand credibility with your existing customers.
On top of the immediate remediation costs, your business might face regulatory fines, litigation, and lost revenue following an attack. Having a proactive cybersecurity strategy in place can help mitigate these financial risks.
With regulations like GDPR, businesses and organisations must ensure data protection. Integrated cybersecurity strategies can help companies to stay compliant and avoid hefty penalties.
A significant cyberattack can disrupt business operations, halting production, sales, or customer services. Have you considered the actual cost of 24-hour downtime to your operations? Incorporating cybersecurity in business strategies ensures continuity and minimises potential downtimes.
Our advice to business leaders comes from almost 10 years’ experience in cybersecurity and is supported by case study after case study.
Put Cybersecurity on your business agenda
Elevate cybersecurity from being an IT discussion to a board-level conversation. Decision-makers should be regularly informed about cyber risks, potential impacts, and necessary investments.
Understand where the vulnerabilities lie. By conducting a thorough risk assessment, businesses can allocate resources effectively and ensure protection where it matters most. If you better understand the risk, you will have a clearer understanding of the most extreme consequences.
If your growth plans include integrating technology and digitisation of any kind, cybersecurity strategies should be developed to protect these new digital channels. The security strategy should evolve with the business goals.
The cyber landscape is ever-evolving. Regular training sessions for all employees, from the C-suite to the newest recruit, are crucial. Remember human error can take place in any part of your organisation – ignorance should never be an excuse.
It's not just about investing more, but investing smartly. Resources should be directed towards advanced security tools and areas like employee training, threat intelligence, and incident response. Being proactive about expenditure will cost less than when you are forced to spend reactively.
Plan like you have already been breached
We have long said there are two types of businesses: those that have been breached and those that will be. A well-integrated strategy involves both prevention and robust incident response and recovery plans.
Consider Cyber security as a cultural imperative rather than the domain of the IT department. Integrating cybersecurity with business strategy isn't merely about buying the latest security solutions or ticking compliance checkboxes. It's about creating a culture where every strategic decision, whether launching a new product or entering a new market, is made with cybersecurity in mind.