The average workplace is faced with an unprecedented degree of malicious threats. Across the cybersphere, crime runs rampant, with countless digital identities being stolen every day and company servers being breached left and right.
The need for enterprise security has become more apparent with each attack, and the eclectic range of businesses that fall into the clutches of criminals — from small businesses without rigorous security to virtual powerhouses like eBay — demonstrates that in our world nobody is impervious to an attack. Still, company administrators across industries are known to treat virtual security with a peculiar lack of urgency, due largely to the fact that malware threats aren’t “visible” like, say, a new addition to the company’s office space would be.
It is only when a business is attacked that administrators realize firsthand just how imperative the need for robust security is. Here are a few reasons for firming up company defenses that should inspire even the most frugal enterprise to consider the value of an investment in business identity protection:
1. Cybercriminals Operate with Enormous Power
The typical image of the hacker as a lone geek in a basement is about as antiquated a notion as an office full of typewriters. The fact is that cybercriminals operate with a measure of power that is unthinkable to most people — including, unfortunately, many enterprise administrators, who critically underestimate the cohesion and sophistication of the virtual crime network.
To call cybercrime a network is in no way an exaggeration. As ZDNet reported, the degree of power and profits reaped (around $400 billion annually) by cybercriminals makes virtualized crime an industry of massive proportions.
“Cybercrime produces high returns at low risk and (relatively) low cost for hackers,” A McAfee report stated. “These groups have repeatedly shown they can overcome almost any cyberdefence. Financial crime in cyberspace now occurs at industrial scale.”
The complexity and wide-ranging nature of cybercrime makes it a force far more formidable than many enterprises are willing to admit to themselves. But whether or not organizations choose to recognize the threat posed by virtualized crime, the threat it poses will not be abating any time soon, since, as McAfee researcher Paul Gillen pointed out to ZDNet, the cohesion of the cybercrime business model all but ensures its longevity.
2. In 2014’s First Quarter Alone, More than 175 million Records were Compromised
According to CSO, 176 million individual records were compromised in the first three months of 2014, which represents a 46 percent increase of that same figure from last year.
Risk Based Security, the group that reported the figure, said that these 176 million impacted records were spread across 669 reported incidents, which makes for an average of around 263,000 breached records per incident. This statistic points not only to the broad-based nature of malicious incursions, but to the enormous losses a single attack can have on a company.
“It’s difficult to say whether security is deteriorating, bad actors are getting better or some combination of both,” said Inga Goddijn, Managing Director of Insurance Services for RBS.
While virtual criminals are gaining power, the increase in attacks can undoubtedly also be explained by companies not taking suitable measures to protect themselves. Without strong authentication strategies and other identity-safeguarding structures in places, companies may as well hang a sign on the door inviting hackers in.
3. Virtual Workplace Means Virtualizing of Enterprise Identity
Among businesses across industrial sectors there’s a general move toward increased virtualization, yet this shift has not been accompanied by commensurate security changes.
According to Gartner, the gradual adoption of virtual-centered business resources like bring-your-own-device policies and social media advancements has created a need for changes with regard to the security tactics deployed by companies.
“As organizations shift toward a more digital workplace, long-held approaches to security need to be re-examined,” said Gartner’s Tom Schlotz, who advised that companies work internally to build a strong enterprise security infrastructure geared toward protecting against the kind of threats that the new age of business computing has helped engender.”
The business landscape of today is undoubtedly an exciting one, with new technological developments around every turn. But without the defensive infrastructure to go along with these developments, companies expose themselves to risks that are both dangerous and completely avoidable.