When sensitive data, intellectual property, or customer information is compromised, a breach can lead to a loss of credibility and trust in the eyes of customers, business partners, and the public.
Organisations that suffer a cyber-attack may find it challenging to regain their reputation and customer confidence, and the recovery process can be lengthy. Additionally, the legal and regulatory consequences of a breach can result in fines, legal battles, and compliance issues, adding another layer of complexity to the aftermath of an attack.
Employee morale can also suffer as they may feel that their personal information is at risk, or they may be overwhelmed by the additional workload required to recover from the attack.
In summary, the consequences of a cyber-attack reach beyond the balance sheet, affecting an organisation's reputation, trust, legal standing, and internal culture.
At the same time, the responsibility for protecting against cyber threats extends to every employee. The figures speak volumes: the latest Hiscox Cyber Readiness report shows that over 70% of Irish companies were hit by at least one cyber-attack over the last year*. It also shows that Ireland has the highest median average number of attacks in all studies countries. This transformation raises questions about actions and responsibilities moving forward.
Today, every individual within an organisation plays a pivotal role in its cyber resilience. In a world where remote work is commonplace, employees have become the new "perimeter" of defence. Their identities grant them access to the organisation's data and systems, making them the first line of defence against cyber threats. It's not merely a technical responsibility; it's about the feeling of security. And the consequences of a cyber-attack for organisations
Everyone is responsible for a successful Cybersecurity
At BDO, our Cybersecurity Solutions team works tirelessly to provide proactive threat defence. Yet, the success of cybersecurity doesn't rest solely on technological advancements; it hinges on the active involvement of every individual within an organisation. New data shows that the most common point of entry for hackers was a corporate-owned server, while the most common outcome was a financial loss due to Payment Diversion Fraud.
Establishing policies and awareness training programs supported by cutting-edge technologies ensures the security of remote workers. The feeling of security among employees is not just a technicality; it's a fundamental aspect of organisational resilience.
Some are more vulnerable to Cyber-threats
While every role within an organisation plays a part in its security, some positions are more vulnerable to cyber threats due to the nature of the information they handle. Let's examine a few of these roles:
- Finance: The Finance department deals with highly sensitive financial information, demanding rigorous training in secure data handling. The potential cost of a data breach is at an all-time high, making it crucial for CFOs to understand vulnerabilities lurking in legacy systems.
- Human Resources: HR departments must be vigilant against insider risks and data leaks, which may result from employee departures. HR roles are often targeted by cybercriminals due to the external documents they handle, making employee training vital.
- Sales and Marketing: Sales and marketing teams hold sensitive information related to product roadmaps, sales data, competitive insights, partnerships, and customer data. Their knowledge of security practices and communication procedures is integral to an organisation's cybersecurity strategy.
- Supply Chain: Supply chain attacks are on the rise, often exploiting vulnerabilities in third-party providers. Supply chain leaders must ensure their suppliers adhere to cybersecurity best practices to protect against potential disruptions.
While these roles may face a higher frequency of threats, it's essential to recognise that people are often the weakest link in any cyber defence strategy. Education and safeguards are critical to monitoring external and internal threats.
Managed Cybersecurity to help mitigate Risks & Threats
The potential for data breaches and ransomware attacks is on the rise, especially with a remote and distributed workforce. Creating a cybersecurity culture becomes one of the most important steps an organisation can take to address these challenges.
BDO Ireland can assist in implementing a comprehensive cyber threat program. It covers everything from employee education to the deployment of security solutions and even managed services with deep expertise. Together, we can build a resilient and secure digital world where both individuals and organisations can thrive.
As we celebrate Cybersecurity Awareness Month, let's remember that the future holds even greater digitisation. Understanding the human side of cybersecurity and the emotions it evokes is key to protecting our digital world. It's the feeling of security for individuals and the fortification of vulnerabilities for organisations. Take the step towards cyber resilience today and partner with us.
*Source: Over 70% of firms hit by cyber attack in last 12 months, RTE