The advancement of technology has its advantages and disadvantages. While technology has enhanced interconnection, it has brewed cyber crime – a menace that has adverse impacts on businesses. Even with talks on how to enhance cybersecurity in organizations, numerous companies have fallen victim to this problem. For instance, cases have been reported of cyber attacks and security breaches in big-name organizations leading to theft and release of company and personal customer data.
Cyber attacks can happen on any company irrespective of its size. A report by Tech Company Kataku revealed that out of the recent cases of cyber attacks reported, 62% were small and medium-sized businesses. Hackers target small businesses because most of them do not have robust security measures. With the risks associated with cyber attacks increasing each day, ranging from loss in sales, legal fees, to company reputation and customer trust, it is becoming necessary to adopt stringent measures to curb such data breaches.
One way to address the problem of data breaches and cyber attacks is to invest in information security certifications. It helps in protecting any financial and personal data in the company. Despite it not being a requirement for all businesses, having valid security certification has immeasurable benefits.
1. Securing Valuable Data
Information is the main reason why cyber crimes happen. With most companies increasingly relying on technology for almost everything, hackers and cyber criminals are finding new ways to access crucial personally identifiable information (PII) such as customer names, contacts, date of birth, social security numbers, bank accounts, electronic and physical mailing addresses, claims and clinical information, and passwords.
Hackers use the accessed information for a variety of crimes such as financial fraud and identity theft, blackmail, and credit card theft. Also, company data, when leaked to competitors, can have adverse impacts on the business. In fact, a majority of the companies might stop operations if their trade secrets are shared with competitors.
Cyber criminals and hackers’ access and steal personal and financial data in a number of the following ways:
- Use the “back door” approach through weak internal networks of the suppliers, vendors, and company, or any other third party to steal such information.
- Accessing websites and opening malicious emails via unsecured Wi-Fi.
- Remote access of company information by clients and employees through devices and apps.
- Security breaches following the theft or loss of company devices like flash drives, cell phones, or laptops.
- Purposeful or accidental sharing of company’s information by employees and the failure to secure documents and devices, or even using sensitive company data maliciously.
2. Establishes the Right Framework and Guidelines
A large number of businesses do not know how to secure their data or obtain security certifications. Having an information security management system (ISMS) framework helps businesses establish a robust system for securing sensitive company information. The ISO-27001 is a security standard that follows an effective risk management process aimed at recognizing areas of security vulnerabilities and offering actionable guidelines to develop and adopt better security practices and policies in the business.
For you to implement ISO-27001 and develop a successful ISMS, you will need to establish their security policy, identify their ISMS’s scope, assess and manage risks, have control objectives, and develop an applicability statement.
ISO-27001 covers several domains, including:
- Organization of information security
- Security policy
- Asset management
- Communication and operations management
- Physical and environmental security
- Business continuity management
- Information security incident management
- Information systems acquisition, development, and maintenance
Usually, certification is awarded to any company that meets the ISO requirements. Various factors such as the size of a business, level of proposed ISMS, security environment gap, and the urgency of the certification influence the fees of acquiring and maintaining the ISO-27001 certification.
3. Increases Customer Confidence
Holding valid security certifications matters to your business and its customers. With the increasing cybercrime vulnerabilities, customers want to deal with companies that value the safety of their data. Having the necessary security measures increases your customers’ confidence in your industry.
The certification costs and efforts have far-reaching benefits in the long run. For instance, according to a study by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, companies lose about $154 in average lost or stolen data. However, if legal and reparation fees are factored, this cost could go higher. Despite some businesses having the capacity to cater for these costs, the lost reputation is irreparable. Holding valid security certifications will help you maintain solid customer relationships.
4. Maintains Robust Company Reputation
Most hackers access a business’s information through the company network. Leaking of financial or personal data has a damaging effect on any company, including losing reputation. Given the increasing security breaches and cyber crime between companies and their suppliers, most vendors are not willing to engage in any way with a company that does not have the necessary security certifications.
Usually, having valid security certification is beneficial to all the partners involved. Some of the common benefits that companies with security certifications have included the ability to command a robust business presence, guaranteed business reputation among its competitors and partners, growth in value as more businesses and vendors are willing to partner, and sustained trust.
Holding valid security certifications protects all parties involved since all have strict guidelines and expectations in place for how to maintain security responsibly.
Investing in valid security certifications is highly beneficial to any business. Apart from proving your company’s integrity, holding such certifications secures your company data, maintains a strong reputation, and increases customer confidence. Therefore, if your company is prepared for major partnerships, you should invest in valid security certifications.