Internet will always be with us—it continues to evolve to provide us with the convenience we all desire in this modern world. The bad news is that many people would want to take advantage of this and aim for destruction for their own personal gain. The good news, there is a way to combat the bad guys and it also meant an opportunity to most of us.
It’s called cyber security.
Cyber security is vital to businesses and organisations that hold crucial data and sensitive information and use computer systems. Needless to say, almost all companies from all industries use computer systems and rely on the internet for communication and major transactions with their clients. No doubt, digital transformation has done quite a lot of progress in the economy.
So what is cyber security, and why do companies need it? Most importantly, what are the top industries that are in dire need of cyber security experts? Read on to find out.
What is cyber security?
Kaspersky defines cyber security as the practice of defending computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, and data from malicious attacks.
Imagine you are going on a vacation with your family and you need to leave your house unattended for a few days. Of course, you are not just going to leave your house susceptible to burglars and thieves. You will install safety locks, even alarms and security cameras to ensure that no one can enter your house and steal your valuables while you are away.
The same concept goes with cyber security. Organisations usually hold sensitive data that could cause millions worth of liabilities if it ends up in the wrong hands. Therefore, they need to take necessary measures to safeguard private information. This is where cyber security takes place. This field has various categories of which coordination within the organisation is important in order to attain the success of the entire cyber security program.
Here are the categories:
Network security. This is to make sure that the company’s computer network is safe from malicious intruders and malware.
Application security. This focuses on keeping the cyber threats away from software and devices. Applications that are compromised can be harmful in the sense that they can make data vulnerable to unwanted access. Application security usually happens during the design stage, before the device of the software is used.
Information security. This section is responsible for protecting the sensitive data that the company possesses, both in storage and in transit.
Operational security. Processes and decisions in handling and protecting the data assets of the company fall in this category. This is where the decision on user permissions, network access, and storage of data takes place.
Disaster recovery and business continuity. This section is essential as this determines how an organisation handles cyber security incidents or situations that may cause operations or data loss. It covers disaster recovery policies that determine how the company will return to operations and the information to return to its original operating capacity. It also covers the business continuity plan—the organisation’s fallback as it tries to operate with missing resources.
End-user education. People are deemed the most unpredictable cyber security factor, as they can potentially introduce a virus to a secure network system by failing to follow good security measures. End-user education’s responsibility is to remind people to perform security protocols from time to time such as avoiding plugging unknown storage devices, deleting suspicious email attachments, and other activities that can harm the company’s security network.
Top industries that need cybersecurity
Digital transformation has brought us the need to be connected to the internet almost all the time. May it be for work, school, or even personal matters, the internet provides the access to everything we need. As powerful as it is, it also has vulnerabilities and this is what we need to be aware of. No one wants their personal and sensitive information to end up in the wrong hands, and that’s the main goal of cyber security – to protect us from cyber threats.
There used to be a time when it was only the government offices that required cyber security. These days, however, almost all sectors in the economy are highly recommended to have a sophisticated cyber security system. Here are the top industries that need cyber security practices the most:
Financial services. We all know this—financial institutions have everything that cybercriminals are after. They are packed with valuable information directly related to money, making them the most lucrative victims of cyber threats at theft. Banks are their favourite, and there probably isn’t a major bank today that has not been exposed to a cyber-attack.
Shared banking systems and third-party organisations are at a greater risk these days as banks heighten their cyber security systems. These networks should be as protected as the banks, otherwise, the attackers can still gain access to the banks through them, making the entire system pointless.
Furthermore, more and more consumers are using online banking these days because it is more convenient and the pandemic requires people to stay at home as much as they can. This also means that people are more vulnerable to hackers, to the point that they are no longer trying to penetrate the network. They are now targeting mobile applications and the users themselves. While banks continue to remind consumers of the basic cyber security protocols, many users still tend to use minimal to no security at all, and that’s why they are the most vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Healthcare. One might think that there is nothing that can be gained by peeking through confidential files of sick people, but in reality, private patient information is worth a huge sum of money to cyber attackers who can sell it quite easily. They can also hold these patient data “hostage” by employing encryption so that no one can access the files and a “ransom” is demanded to provide access (also known as ransomware).
It is vital that hospitals and other healthcare facilities take their cyber security seriously. Financial penalties can be a pain for those that are already struggling—whether they be fines for violating PDPA or paying a huge amount to retrieve their data from ransomware. While there could be some scenario wherein the data was accidentally accessed by an unauthorised party, they can potentially alter the information and this can jeopardise patient safety and care delivery.
Cyber-attacks can cause a huge disruption in the healthcare industry—doctors won’t be able to access patients’ data which can result in fatal medical errors, hospitals might need to temporarily cease operation because of information system issues, and worse of all, healthcare providers can suffer massive financial loss.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Small businesses in e-commerce went on the rise last year, with the pandemic raging and everyone needs to stay at home. It was an opportunity for some people to make money out of their hobbies, or out of other people’s necessities. Unfortunately, it also became an opportunity for cyber attackers to extort money from them. Small businesses are more vulnerable than huge brands because they usually do not have enough resources to invest in a more advanced cyber security infrastructure. It can cause a huge blow to the business, especially when it’s the customer’s personal information and details that are compromised. Consumers no longer trust a company when a major breach occurs.
Most small businesses have taken steps further to ensure digital security. They mostly rely on third-party companies that provide more than just basic cyber security, from professionals that are more capable of working on it.
Higher education. For the cyber attackers, financial opportunities are everywhere and this also includes educational institutions. Just like healthcare providers, universities and colleges are packed with important information and documents from credit card details to government-issued IDs, and private contact information. What’s more, educational records can also be sold to people who are trying to change their identity (identity theft), or to those who are trying to get hold of better employment opportunities by falsifying school records.
Schools have a huge amount of online activity, which can easily be manipulated even through the most basic hacking technique (see Social Network). Students can even hack the system to change their grades or delete a specific record. It might sound like this is not a huge deal, but it can be quite a big one if not dealt with early on.
Data breaches are present everywhere. When we think that digital transformation is here to stay, cyber attackers are not going anywhere either. As companies seek to improve their cyber security infrastructure, it provides more employment opportunities for people in the cyber security industry. Thus, if you have been thinking about starting your cybersecurity career, this is the perfect time for you to do so. Not sure where to start? Check out our Advanced Diploma in Cyber Security (Advanced Standing) course to properly equip yourself in the realm of modern technologies.
Want to know more about what kinds of jobs you can perform in the cyber security industry? Read our blog about jobs in cybersecurity.
Wondering how much you can potentially earn? Check out How Much Does a Cyber Security Professional Earn right here.