Cybersecurity Emerges as Top Priority for Businesses in 2018

If you are running your own business, chances are that you have by now realized the importance of cybersecurity as one of the areas that need to feature highly on the company’s budget. Recent ransomware attacks have demonstrated that all enterprises are a potential target, from industry giants to SMEs, and the damages could be costly. It seems that the need for increased online security is one nobody missed – and companies are planning ahead accordingly for 2018.

Hacker Attacks Can Prove Costly for Business

Falling victim to a cyberattack could be a very expensive business – much more expensive than acting proactively. Recently, transport giant Maersk disclosed that the damages it suffered due to the NonPetya ransomware attack that hit hundreds of companies worldwide could amount to roughly $300 million. With over 90,000 employees and presence in 130 countries, the Danish conglomerate, was one of the biggest victims of the attack that locked down systems and encrypted data, demanding a ransom for the user to regain access to the data. Maersk stated that they had to reinstall their complete infrastructure to mitigate the impact of the attack – some 4,000 servers, as well as 2,500 applications and around 45,000 PCs. Thankfully, no customer data was stolen as far as experts can tell. However, operations were disrupted across the globe and left Maersk in a difficult spot.

Acting Proactively Can Help Comply with Regulatory Requirements

Thanks to what Maersk’s chairman called “heroic efforts” of the company’s IT staff, the process – that would normally take six months – was completed in just 10 days, allowing the company to suffer only a 20% drop in operations while the remaining 80% of transactions were handled manually. Earlier, FedEx also announced that it had suffered roughly $300 million in losses after it was hit by the Petya strain of ransomware. Not only are operations disrupted after a data breach, which leads to immediate losses, but companies could also suffer damages in their reputation which could have a long-term effect of losing clients. On the contrary, investing in simple cybersecurity tools like a WAF for online applications can allow businesses – especially those handling e-shops and other services that require processing of credit card data – to comply with PCI DSS and other regulatory requirements and build a relationship of trust with clients.

Enterprises to Increase Spending on Cybersecurity in 2018

According to a recent report by analyst firm Gartner, companies are increasing their budget to meet higher cybersecurity demands in 2018. The research reveals that 2018 is projected to see a 7% rise in funds directed towards online security, which claimed roughly $89 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $96 billion this year. Legislation and regulatory requirements have a role to play in that, too, as Gartner predicts that EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation as well as legislative frameworks like the American Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) will influence how enterprises budget in order to ensure compliance.

Whether it is because of new, stricter rules or because of a deeper understanding of the financial risk attached to a data breach, one thing is certain: Companies cannot afford to ignore cybersecurity anymore.

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