Cybersecurity with a human touch: Building resilience and trust

Cybersecurity with a human touch: Building resilience and trust

As our world moves further into the digital age, our reliance on technology, from smartphones to cloud storage, has never been more apparent. It's revolutionising how we work, communicate, and live. Yet, this rapid technological progress comes with a cost. We find ourselves navigating a treacherous landscape where the looming presence of cyber threats counterbalances digital opportunities. In this blog, we'll explore the concept of cyber resilience from two distinct vantage points: the individual approach and the organisations’ obligations.

Cybersecurity for individuals: the personal connection

What is your default feeling when thinking Cyber? 

For many individuals, it might evoke images of hackers in darkened rooms, complex passwords, and perhaps a degree of apprehension. But beyond the technical jargon and the ever-present potential for cybercrime, what does cybersecurity really mean for the average person?

In our interconnected world, cybersecurity takes on a profoundly personal significance. It's not just about safeguarding sensitive data; it's about protecting our digital identities and the wealth of memories, secrets, and personal information stored online. It's the digital guardian, the unsung sentinel, that ensures our online lives remain private, secure, and intact. This personal connection to cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important as the line between our physical and digital lives blurs.

As we look to the future, it's apparent that the distinction between our physical and digital worlds is fading. Our lives are becoming more intertwined with technology, from online banking to smart homes. In this evolving landscape, personal cybersecurity will take on even greater importance. Individuals will need to become not just casual users of technology but also vigilant protectors. The ability to navigate this digital realm securely will define how well we safeguard our online memories and digital identities.


Cyber resilience for businesses: the organisational imperative


While individuals bear the responsibility of protecting their personal digital lives, organisations face a different but equally daunting challenge: the protection of their data, consumers, and business partners. The statistics underscore the gravity of the situation. A startling 83% of organisations experienced more than one data breach in 2022. In this context, it's not a matter of if an organisation will be targeted; it's a matter of when.

Building cyber resilience is paramount for businesses. However, it goes beyond implementing security controls and systems; it's about instilling a culture of security that prioritises risk management, incident response, and continuous improvement. It's the feeling of protection and the fortification against vulnerabilities.


How does having a cyber-secure business make you feel?

The modern world of remote work and hybrid workplaces has blurred the boundaries that traditionally defined organisational security. The impact of a cyber-attack is often far beyond economic losses and can damage a company's reputation, erode customer trust, and affect employee morale.

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

Ready to explore a human-centric approach to cybersecurity?